Apparently chickens get mites and they tend to burrow under their leg scales. This causes scaly leg crud. How do I know this? Because one of my chickens has scaly leg crud.
The treatment is to essentially smother the little buggers. So my chicken got a foot massage as I rubbed oil onto its entire legs and feet while my husband held it close and whispered sweet nothings in its ears. Some say Vaseline works - we used Vet Rx, something we had on hand from another chicken malady.
Now think about what chickens walk in and you realize this is gross. And it has to be done every 3 days until it clears up. With mites, the chickens are quite miserable and walk around on 1 foot and then the other. I imagine it is both itchy and irritating. But I am rather itchy after being so up close and personal with this condition.
The fact that we had this problem in the dead of winter is troublesome. You would think the frost would kill off the mites. We add a pesticide to their dust baths in the summer. What are their dust baths, you ask? It is where they scratch around, work up loose dust, lay down and fluff their feathers to get the dust to work into their feathers and have a delightful dust bath. Better than water, they say.
Just sharing the realities of hobby farm life, for any of you considering backyard chickens.