How is my hen losing her toes??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by TazGal, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. TazGal

    TazGal Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2016
    I have a pen made from pallets. It's somewhat close to the ground but the bottom side has hardware cloth on the outside that wraps up the sides under the siding. A week ago I noticed a spot of blood on the perch and found one of my hens has had a toenail bitten? off into the quick. A little cornstarch and all was well. A week later the SAME hen has now had the same toe on the other foot bitten? off but this time into the end of the toe. It took a little pressure along with the cornstarch this time to stop the bleeding. So I'm trying to figure out what's happening here.

    Now here's the situation. We have 3 RI hens. One of them (Blondie) is the bossy queen of the roost and the one getting her toes bitten. Two weeks ago we acquired a young rooster. Belvedere is only about 5 months old and my first thought is that he is doing it but I can't see it. He is a big scaredy cat. The hens have him hen pecked and Blondie especially will chase him back in the coop when he comes out. He has in the last few days been brave enough to come out and stay out. Blondie will drop kick him with both feet sometimes and he literally runs into the coop. I installed a second perch on the other side of the coop because they wouldn't let him perch. I put him on it the first two nights and then one of the three hens (Joan) who is always picked on started perching there. I guess she figured she gets away from the other girls picking on her. Belvedere would roost on the floor, sometimes under the perch that Blondie is on, sometimes under the other one. I try to put him on the perch with Joan and they seem to be okay together. Some nights he gets up there with her on his own. The other night I left him be, he was perched on the floor under Blondie. He is such a gentle fellow who doesn't seem to have a mean bone in his body so I find it hard to believe he could be doing it.

    Then I saw posts about mice and rats. I suppose they could be getting in? but would they be getting up on the perch? Why wouldn't they be attacking Belvedere who is sometimes on the floor roosting? He'd be an easier target, no? Or why not just eat the feed? Why the same hen both times and on the same end of the same perch?

    Both times it was her back toe and she seems to be walking okay. In fact, everyone is still laying eggs and doesn't seem terribly upset. I think I'm the only one upset by it all! LOL!

    [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
  2. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Does it have a solid floor?

    Can you post a photo of the feet/toes?

    It's possible it could be bitten off, also look to see if there is anything that she may be getting her nail(claw) and toes hung in, a nail, hardware cloth, a crack in a board, etc.
     
  3. TazGal

    TazGal Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 19, 2016
    Yes, it has a solid floor. Plywood on top of pallets. The bottom side of the pallets has hardware cloth that wraps up the sides part way. Inside is plywood and 4" of pine shavings. The roost is 18" from the floor. I've looked to see if something could be getting her caught but there was never any blood on anything except the roost which is a 2x4 so they have a nice wide perch and can cover toes. Here's a pic of the inside and a pic of her foot but hard to tell much from it because her feet are so dirty. We've had some rainy days here. I'll try to get a better pic tomorrow after I wash her foot. I did notice tonight she chose to roost at the other end of the perch from where she normally roosts.
    [​IMG]
    In the background is inside and perch she roosts on. That's the new rooster. He's 5 mos. old and a real suck. Loves being held.
    [​IMG]
    Bottom (back) toe. Hard to see much with the dirt.
    She still walks okay and doesn't appear to be holding it up but she did get a little restless when I was touching it to put some salve on it at bedtime. Hopefully a better pic tomorrow.
     
  4. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I just re-read some of your initial post.
    It looks like she may have broken her nail. If she is fighting with the rooster (drop kicking) him, she may have broke it in a scuffle.
    Her toe and foot looks slightly swollen. Once you have wash the foot check it over well for any scabs. Soaking in an epsom salt bath can sometimes help reduce swelling.

    Your young rooster is handsome.

    Keep us posted.
     
  5. TazGal

    TazGal Out Of The Brooder

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    It turns out, after cleaning the foot, it was just the nail nipped off very close to the toe. I did find blood very high up on the wall. So perhaps it was a broken nail as you suspect. A neighbour thought it was a rat. Possible as there have been a few times I came home late after dark and only then was able to shut the doors. One could have crawled in and I locked it in. We are careful now not to be in that situation anymore. I did a thorough search and didn't find anyone hiding out. And no more problems since then. So whatever the issue was, it seems to be resolved. Now I've torn down our temporary run and am building the permanent run which I plan to close in with plastic for winter.
     

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