Can I paint my chickens nails?


✝️ Perfectly Imperfect ✝️
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2019
Moore County, NC
To be completely honest and up front, I don't know the answer to your question. Now, I am interested but I also wanted to add that if some of the experts here say it's okay, I would suggest that you use a polish that is made for dogs, before I'd use the human stuff. The stuff made for us is so strong and birds lungs tend to be a bit sensitive, so I'd worry about the fumes. Again, don't take my word for it. I'm just offering up my opinion. Good luck! I agree, it is a clever idea, if it's safe, but leg bands would be easier and without any possible issues.

*The more I think on this, the more possible problems come to mind. Anytime I paint my nails, my chickens go crazy trying to get them and peck at my nails really hard. I'd worry about the bird with painted toes being driven crazy or possibly even injured (this might be an exaggeration as I am not 100% sure). Also, with human nail polish, I smell it for days after. That smell locked up in a henhouse overnight, might be strong for the bird & surrounding birds. The way chickens scratch around, it's not going to last long at all. Leg bands are going to be better and safer
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Free Ranging
7 Years
Jul 29, 2013
Cleveland OH
I second what other have said. You can but use an animal safe polish and it won't last long and they might peck at em.
I didn't have leg bands around when I needed to tell two chickens apart so I used a pipe cleaner with the ends carefully folded out so no leg irritation. I wrapped it around itself really well and it hasn't budged in 6 months. Lots of people use zip ties, alternatively. So there are options if you don't have professional leg bands.

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Sep 20, 2015
Southern N.C. Mountains
I don't think I would recommend painting them red, as chickens will peck at anything red and you might end up with injuries. Yellow, blue, green, those should be safe colors. I think. @aart, @Eggcessive, @Wyorp Rock, what do you guys think?
You never know what color would be attractive. :confused:
As @sourland mentioned, it would work as a temporary way to tell them apart. I don't think long term finger nail polish would be a good way to i.d. since it will wear off fairly quickly. Leg bands would be better, imho. You can find them on amazon, ebay or one of the hatcheries like Meyer, Murray McMurray, etc.

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