How do I clip my chickens nails?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tara7815, May 2, 2011.

  1. tara7815

    tara7815 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2009
    I have a Rhode Island Red that I've had for quite some time now.
    She is my baby - my absolute favorite.
    But her toes/nails/feet are all curled up and she limps.

    A better person would have culled her from the get go but I'm a sucker (I actually posted video of her as a chick because I was concerned).

    So I kept her and she got along OK. She was able to get to her feed and water no problem - she just hobbled.
    When we built our coop I even built her tiny stairs to get out easier. (I mentioned she is my baby right?)

    Anyways. Her nails on that foot are LONG and I should have done something much sooner but I haven't. I need to clip them because they are curling up and under and they'll begin to hurt her soon if I don't.

    I'm so nervous that I'll hurt her so I figured I'd come here for good detailed instructions.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    We just use the nail clippers we use to clip the dogs' nails. I like the scissor type, especially for longer nails or curly nails. Our chickens have only needed the tips taken off, which is easy. Even then, it's only been certain nails, mostly the fifth toes. I find it easiest if one person holds the chicken, with the wings held down so they can't flap, while another person cuts the nails.

    I've never done nails that long before on a chicken, only a dog. With really long nails, the quick or blood vein in the center that feeds the nail, ends up growing longer and farther out into the nail, than it does in a shorter nail. If you accidentally cut that, then the nail will bleed and need help getting stopped. For dogs, I use a styptic powder. For cage birds, I would use flour pressed into the tip of the nail. Flour would probably be the best choice for a chicken, too.

    Usually for long nails, you take off as much as you can without hitting the quick, which looks pink, through a light colored nail. Then you wait for the quick to recede over the next couple of weeks and clip again.
  3. tara7815

    tara7815 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2009
    Thank you.
    Someone told me it was just like clipping dog nails but I wanted to check with the experts.

    We do dogs and rabbits all of the time - never a hen though [​IMG]

    Thanks again.

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