Hens tearing nails...what's the issue?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Anna-MN, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. Anna-MN

    Anna-MN Chirping

    Sep 19, 2012
    So far today, two of my 3 year old hens have torn off a decent chunk of one of their nails. Ofcourse they bled perfusely but I got the bleeding to stop. Im not sure why this is happening. I trim their nails as needed so they arent too long. It did drop to -20 (without windchill) here today compared to above 30 yesterday. Could it be a fluke or something more serious? Help!

  2. PolkaDot77

    PolkaDot77 Chirping

    Aug 26, 2012
    Boise, ID
    I wonder if the weather is making them brittle. I know that my own nails tend to break more in the colder months. Perhaps they may need supplemental vitamins as well. Are they by chance molting? If their bodies are putting more resources into making feathers, maybe their nails are getting less. I'm just curious, how did you stop the bleeding?
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
  3. ten chicks

    ten chicks Songster

    May 9, 2013
    Check to see if they are catching nails on something such as wire/uneven roosts/feed/water bowl/chains(if hanging water container)etc.
  4. Anna-MN

    Anna-MN Chirping

    Sep 19, 2012

    After cleaning her up, I applied pressure until it stopped for the most part and then coated the nail in a flour/cornstarch mix. They just finished molt and have been laying again. I give them free choice oyster shell.
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Free Ranging Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    Do you have any chain link or wire fencing they could be tearing nails on?

  6. Not much to go on here. However brittle nails don't bleed. It sounds like your hens are tearing their own nails loose by the quick. Look at what poster 3 suggested, wire or hardware cloth etc that may be catching and holding their nails when they scratch for food causing them to tear or yank their own nail bed loose. When housed in coops with wood floors, Split boards, cracks between the boards, or boards that are not flat, or higher or lower than the board next door are all likely culprits.
  7. Anna-MN

    Anna-MN Chirping

    Sep 19, 2012
    Yeah I dont have any wire or chain link in there.
  8. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Crowing

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Even cracks in wood or small gaps around perches can catch nails. If the rest of their nails appear hard and normal, it is unlikely a diet issue, as all the nails would be affected. Despite extremely cold temps here I have not ever had nail issues, and have not heard that related to cold weather.

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