Feathered Feet Question...

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by teach1rusl, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Tried a rooster before (LF), but he was just too hard on a few of my girls, so we rehomed him. DH still loves having a rooster around, so months later, we decide to give it another go, but with a bantam breed. So we picked up a little d'uccle guy on Saturday from a workmate of DH's, who told us the little fella could go back "home" if he didn't work out (very nice of him [​IMG] ). I inspected the bird there, and found lice (technically I only saw one, but would presume there are many more), plus the poor thing's feet were HORRIBLE, knobby and gross w/leg mites. I'm pretty protective of my girls, and didn't really want to take the poor thing, but DH really wanted him, and agreed to take on the bulk of the treatment (I'm normally the animal caretaker). SO...We've treated the lice, and will retreat in another week and a half or so.

    AND we're working on the feet. To make it easier to work on the feet, we've cut back (to about an inch) most of the feathers down there. When we were soaking his feet yesterday, I cut a fairly thick feather shaft that was still getting in the way, but was only cutting it back to an inch, maybe 3/4". He reacted like it hurt him!!! And I did see some reddish looking stuff inside the shaft (blood????). I felt horrible!! [​IMG] I thought feathers were like hair...basically dead material except for the root area. Do I have it wrong??? Or is there something different about feathers on feet???? I'e never dealt with feathered feet before, so this is new to me; I'm out of my element. Thanks for your help...
  2. featherbaby

    featherbaby Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL 32210
    Feathers, especially new ones have a blood supply in the center of the shaft. If you cut it where the blood is, they could bleed to death. Have a strong light under the nails so you can see through them as you cut them. You should be able to see the "dead" nail where it meets the "live" nail portion. If you do cut a feather and it bleeds, there is a blood stop powder you can use. However, I use cornstarch on mine if I have an issue with a broken or damaged blood-feather. It seems to work fine. I worry about infection since their feet are not in the most sanitary of places. Keep the litter very clean until that nail is completely healed. You might try putting VetRX on the feet and injured feather. It's good stuff.
  3. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    Feathers are like hair, once they've grown in. However, when a new feather is growing there is a blood supply to it which will bleed if it is cut. As the feather matures, the blood supply shrinks back down the shaft until it is no longer present (at least not where you could damage it by cutting). If you do accidentally cut a blood feather, the best way to stop the bleeding is to pluck the feather out and apply pressure. I suppose it's possible for a bird to "bleed to death" from a broken blood feather, but in 8 years of working for an avian vet I've never seen it happen (and we've had some blood feathers that bled so profusely they required sutures after the feather was plucked) and I don't think the vet I work for has seen it in his 18+ years of practice.
    http://www.tailfeathersnetwork.com/birdinformation/bloodfeathers.php is a good website with pictures and a nice description of blood feathers and what to do if one is broken (or cut). The website is specifically about cockatiels, but the principals are the same for chickens.
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Thanks guys...your info. was quite helpful! I learn something new every day [​IMG]

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