Treatment: the "safest and healthiest" options
Several veterinarians provide drug-based options, like Ivermectin. Vegetable oil has proven to be a safe and good non-medical solution. Avian Web offers a breeder testimonial in which the cage was filled with vegetable oil-soaked seeds that coated the budgie's legs and feet. This sticky cover suffocated the mites. Alternatively, Budgie Place recommends rubbing the vegetable oil on the infected area twice a day, in addition to disinfecting the cage thoroughly before starting treatment and again when the infection clears up.
|Image © Greener PRactices|
Controlling scaly face and leg mites
According to Avian Web, the big problem with Scaly Face is not how to treat an individual bird. The concern is how to stop the problem from affecting other birds. Scaly face mites are quite contagious and if left untreated, other birds will succumb to the disease.
|Image © Cliff on the Talk Budgies Forums|
The mites also seem able to burrow into wooden perches in the cage. Avian Web recommends strongly to replace perches in an infected cage weekly, using natural perches instead.
Mite poison: the more "drastic" solutions, in case your bird is heavily infected
The area around the vent and the legs can be treated with paraffin; the eyes, however, should not be treated with this oily substance, since there is a risk that the bird won't be able to see anymore.
|Image © burgebirdservices.homestead.com|
If the area around the bird's eyes is full of mites, you should definitely take it to a vet. In the case of a strong infection, the vet will use a medicine containing the ingredient ivermectin. Some time ago, a drug called Ivomec (mostly known in Europe) was usually used. Due to its toxicity, its usage has been discontinued.
Ivermectin is a broad-spectrum antiparasitic agent that you might want to use if you have an aviary full of birds, with the infection spreading everywhere. It's heavy poison for the mites and they will die within a very short time.
Important note: just like SCATT, this poison is not without risk for your birds. It's highly toxic and you shouldn't use it without consulting your veterinarian first, as an overdose may kill your birds!!! Your veterinarian will advise you further on its use and on other procedures to control the problem.
Also, do NOT use insecticides or anti-mite-spray. These agents are usually highly toxic and harmful for your budgies! Burrowing mites are harmless for humans; there is no risk of an infection!
All information is © Birds Online and Avian Web.
Read more information on parasite mites on budgies in these articles:
Burrowing mites (scaly face/scaly leg mite) on Birds Online
Scaly Leg or Scaly Feet Syndrome in Birds: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options as well as Prevention on Avian Web
Is Vegetable Oil Good for Scaly Feet in Budgerigars? on Zearticles
Does my budgie have parasite problems? on The Budgie Place
Budgie foot problems on The Budgie Cage