This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
The itch that affects the feet of poultry is contagious in a most insidious way. The various birds of a poultry yard in which the disease is prevalent, rarely contract it until after a comparatively long period of exposure, but sooner or later every bird will contract it. One infected bird is enough to infect a whole yard full, and once infected, it is exceedingly difficult to get rid of. The disease, however, affects birds only.
The treatment is simple. Having softened the feet by keeping them for some minutes in tepid water, the scabs that cover them are carefully detached, avoiding, as far as possible, causing them to bleed, and taking the precaution of throwing every scab into the fire. The feet are then carefully dried, with a bit of soft cotton material, which should afterwards be burned; then the entire surface is covered with ointment (Unguentum sulphuris kalinum). An alcoholic solution of Canada balsam is preferred by some.
Protect the ointment by a proper appliance, and allow it to remain in contact 2 or 3 days. At the end of this time remove the applications and wash off with tepid suds. The bird will generally be found cured, but if not, repeat the treatment—removing the remaining scabs, which will be found soft enough without resorting to soaking in tepid water, and apply the ointment directly.
There is another method of treatment that has been found successful, which not only cures the infected birds but prevents the infection of others. It is simply providing a sand bath for the birds, under a little shed, where they can indulge themselves in rolling and scratching, the bath being composed of equal parts fine sand, charcoal in fine powder, ashes, and flowers of sulphur, sifted together. The bath should be renewed every week. In the course of a few weeks the cure is complete.