Cutting Your Chicken's Nails

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CupOJoe42, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. CupOJoe42

    CupOJoe42 CT Chicken Whisperer

    Apr 11, 2011
    My chickens are about 7 and 11 weeks old and I my arms are loaded with scratches, not because they are mean, but because they love to fly up on me and sit on my arms to be petted. I was wondering if, and how you cut their nails. How do you hold them to do this? Is it a 2-person operation? Do you use a canine nail clipper? File? Dremel? Let them scratch on concrete?

    I love my chickens, but people look at me with pity when they see my arms. It doesn't really bother me - I wash them with soap and water after handling the chickens and I put neosporin on the scratches, so I'm not worried.

    Pictures would be helpful!!!
  2. jaj121159

    jaj121159 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 27, 2010
    Northeast Nebraska
    Personally I wouldn't touch them. they are critters and critters need what they have to survive. They need their talons to scratch and defend themselves. I would recommend wearing long sleeves, or gloves or not handling the birds.
  3. kevinhannan

    kevinhannan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 3, 2011
    Seriously, Seriously, Seriously - go and get a Tetanus jab.

    Without delay.

    Go to your Doctors and ask for it.

    It's the same thing, whether by cats, hens or any other animal
    with sharp claws - they get dirt in their nail grooves, this gets
    under your skin and then you are at risk of a pretty serious
    infection that can leave you not just poorly but have long-term
    effects, too.

    My cat used to scratch me and I looked like some junkie with track
    marks all up and down both arms. Not only was this not a good look
    but career and social-limiting, too. I always use long sleeves now.

    Sorry to be dire - it's your health, it's your choice.

    Look at Wiki:

    "Tetanus occurs worldwide but is more common in hot, damp climates with soil rich in organic matter. This is particularly true with manure-treated soils, as the spores are widely distributed in the intestines and feces of many non-human animals such as horses, sheep, cattle, dogs, cats, rats, guinea pigs, and chickens."
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011
  4. awesomefowl

    awesomefowl Argues with Goats

    It is possible to cut their nails with a dog nail clipper.
  5. JP101010

    JP101010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    It could be a 2 person job depending on the chicken
    I wouldnt Use a dremel because the pressure and speed can cause friction induced heat on the nail.
    We sometimes clip just the point off ( away from the quick which is more deceiving than a cats or dogs) using a humans nail clipper turned vertically.. and a very rough emery board just to give a quick one two to dull it. Always have Kwik Stop Styptic Powder on hand before you attempt any cutting of the nails, as accidents do happen.
    For long term, I would think about constructing a concrete platform in the pen or you can purchase emery board perch covers .
    I Think its wonderful that you have such a strong bond with your chickens , and that you hold them and interact with them regularly -We do too !
    Plus by handling the birds frequently you will have a much better chance of detecting injuries or illness' right away!
    [​IMG] Your an Awesome Chicken Keeper!
  6. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    With fall you may be wearing more long sleeves soon. I have only clipped the nails of a couple of my chickens. I used a dog and cat nail clipper. having two people is helpful. Just like with cats and dogs you need to be careful of cutting the quick and causing bleeding. So you would want to only cut the very tip off. Scratching on cement or buying the perches for parrots that are textured like sand paper could help.
  7. CupOJoe42

    CupOJoe42 CT Chicken Whisperer

    Apr 11, 2011
    Not handle the birds!!!! Are you kidding me???? I handle my birds all the time and am not about to stop now!!!! I handle all my animals or I wouldn't have them to begin with. My Tetanus shots are up to date, I wash thoroughly and completely, wear a mask when I clean the brooder, and I've never been sick. My cat is not declawed and I would be more afraid of snakes, spiders, and insects than I would chickens. Not to mention catching something from the children that I teach in school. I can understand some people don't want to handle their poultry, but I do and that's why I wanted to hear a response from people who do their nails. Thanks for your concern anyway!

    P.S. I am allergic to Tetanus and have to have the "animal Tetanus" shot versus the "human Tetanus."
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011
  8. JP101010

    JP101010 Chillin' With My Peeps

  9. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Although mine free-range, I guess we have too much grass because the nails of my older girls grew a little too long. My DD and I did it together and found it is much easier as a 2-person operation. She held while I clipped. We used dog nail clippers and it is exactly like cutting a dog's toenails. Be careful not to cut too short and get to the quick - they will bleed. (Plus it hurts). Just in case though, have styptic powder on hand so that if you do accidentally cut too short, you'll be prepared.

    We only had to cut the nails of two hens. The rest of the flock thought it was great - they hung around trying to be the first to grab the cut off nails. Hey - good calcium source, I guess.
  10. JHillgrove

    JHillgrove Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 2, 2011
    Snohomish, WA
    I have an ugly orange hoody I wear everytime I go see my chickens or goats. It covers my clothes and arms from any dirt or mud or poop I might come in contact with. Might help save your arms too. You could get a prettier color though.

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