Chicken nails

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by undine, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. undine

    undine Chirping

    Jun 3, 2013
    Los Angeles
    Do chicken nails have to be trimmed?
  2. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Songster

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    I think it depends.

    If your chickens are confined to a run where the ground has become quite soft, there will be nothing to wear down their nails and they can become long and deformed.

    If your chickens can free range, at least part of the day, then the scratching of different surfaces may keep them to where they don't need to be trimmed.

    It's kind of like dog nails. If your dog lies around the house or the yard all day, they will need their nails trimmed, but if you walk them on the road often, their nails will stay short... or at least short longer.
  3. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    X2 what Yay Chicks! said, unless they are caged birds, you generally will never have to trim nails unless there is a problem. If the bird has a crooked toe or foot it may not be able to wear them down normally, and some of the 5 toed breeds don't/can't wear down the extra toe.
  4. MOregonChicken

    MOregonChicken Hatching

    Nov 11, 2013
    Exactly what they said. And if you ever need to trim them just have some flour or corn starch in a little bowl next to you incase the quick has grown out and there's some bleeding. You just cram it in and apply pressure and it's all good. Not actually scary at all. Keep them away from water for 30 min or so, to give the flour plug long enough for the blood to coagulate. Avoid using the styptic powder they sell at pet stores. (Like Quick Stop) That stuff can be hella toxic if they get it in their blood stream, on their skin, or injest it. -I use to trim parrot toenails for a breeder, & if they won't use it on an $8,000 bird, I don't want to use it on my chicken either ;)
  5. Pathfinders

    Pathfinders Crowing

    Jan 25, 2008
    Northern KY
    I agree, it depends. Interestingly, one of my Production Leghorns, who free ranges with the rest of the birds all day, does need her toes trimmed periodically. I guess she doesn't scratch as much as the others?

    I wrote an article about how to trim nails and beaks, you can find it on my website here:

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