NOT Emergency - Claw Torn Off? How?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by HoopyFrood, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Songster

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    Hey Everyone!

    Last night as the girls were getting onto the roosts for bedtime something strange happened. I'm still trying to put pieces together and was wondering if anyone could shed light on the situation.

    When we came to check on them I was shocked to find fresh blood on the roosting bars, and in a large enough amount that I was quite concerned. We flipped the light on to investigate and in short order found that our alpha, Charley, has somehow torn her entire "pinky" claw off her right foot.

    She was bleeding consistently, but thankfully not nearly as bad as I would have expected. The claw "nail" was completely missing, but the quick seemed to be perfectly in tact. We performed some quick first aid, stopped the bleeding, had her thoroughly Blu-Koted, and set her back on the roost. She (and the others) settled down for bed quite quickly and were asleep in no time.

    We're keeping a close eye on her but she seems to be doing VERY well considering the injury and it was 17 degF this morning - just as the girls were getting used to consistent above-freezing temps... go figure...

    So my question is this: how much force is required to pull a claw "nail" completely off?

    I watched them go into the coop for bed and they were perfectly normal. There was no trace of blood in the shavings on the coop floor between their door and the roost bars. The roost bars are about two feet off the floor. In order to save them from having to "plop" down two feet from the bars to the floor when they get up in the morning I installed a kind of landing platform about halfway between the floor and the roost bars. There WAS blood on that platform and on the roosting bars, but nowhere leading up to them.

    Charley, whom I love dearly, is not known for being a graceful chicken. Many times I have seen chickens frantically claw at something for purchase if they jump or fly onto something and don't make it. Charley is also a stout girl; not overweight, but not svelt. My hypothesis is she jumped up to the platform, missed, grabbed at it with her claws, then fell while her one claw was actually stuck in the OSB of the platform - and that was what pulled the claw off.

    I dug through the coop shavings but have been unable to find the claw nail.

    What do you think? Could the force of a falling chicken be enough to pull off a claw nail? I would have thought it would take a lot more force... but I cannot fathom what else may have happened. Everything else in and around the coop - including the other chickens - was perfectly normal and there is no sign of injury anywhere other than the roosting area.

    Thoughts?

    PS - This was the third time (and the most severe injury) I have used cayenne pepper to stop bleeding - to great effect! While it aids in circulation if ingested, applied topically it can GREATLY speed coagulation.

    I've tried it on myself. The scab that forms isn't as robust as a normal scab. But by the time something might disturb the first scab, the wound will already have healed significantly.

    It takes a lot more than just sprinkling it on. I take a pinch and press it (gently!) into the wound like you're packing it. It might take two or three good pinches. It did burn when I did it to myself, but not unbearably. The chickens, if it did burn them, showed zero signs of it, not even a blink. The burning goes away after a minute.

    But I'm SHOCKED at how quickly it stopped bleeding compared to normal gauze and pressure. So much faster and easier!
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

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    I have only experienced a chicken losing a nail once, and she kept jumping up and over the 4 foot chainlink fence when she was penned. The nail was hanging, and I clipped it off. It was very painful to her for about a week. The nail never grew back, so her toe looked a bit clubbed from then on.Betadine or vetericyn are food to use on broken toenails. Most of those types of injuries seem to bleed a bit, but tend to stop on their own. Glad your chicken is better.
     
    Wyorp Rock likes this.
  3. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Songster

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    Thank you for sharing! Sorry to hear about your hen's injury. But it sounds like that experience indicates the weight of a falling chicken is sufficient to cause the injury. Time will tell if her quick is going to recover or not. I'll update this thread accordingly.

    I'm not familiar with either betadine or vetericyn, I'll read up on them this morning. We are offering them what we call "chicken juice" which is a combo of Nutri-Drench and Rooster Booster. They love it. I hoped a little mineral and vitamin supplementation would aid in healing. We're also picking up a new feed today to increase their protein intake from 16.5% to 18%. It's the best we can do around here. I'll probably offer a couple handfuls of Grubblies to them each day as well... if for no other reason than we're forecast to get 18" of snow in the next 48 hours. Ugh. Last week when it was forecast to get 12" we got 18". I hope it stays at 18" this time. C'mon spring, fer cryin' out loud!!

    She is limping, obviously, but she's getting around quite well. She's even hopped up and down from their outdoor roosting bar in their "playhouse" which is about 1 foot off the ground. She's a little grumpy, but not overly so. Frankly I am impressed, as I always am, at how tough chickens are.:love

    Just learn to stick the landings, Charley! Sheesh!:he
     
  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

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    Sorry for the typo--I meant that Betadine or Vetericyn are good (not food) antiseptics for treating wounds.
     
  5. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Songster

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    No worries! I see those two products are different antiseptics, and Blu-Kote is different still. Do you have any opinions on their relative merits?

    Betadine - Povidone Iodine: general antiseptic, can provide iodine trough topical absorption. Not supposed to sting (much).

    Vetericyn - Hypochlorous acid. Not supposed to sting.

    Blu-Kote - Sodium Propionate (food preservative, anti-mold), gentian violet (dye, some anti bacterial properties), acriflavine (antiseptic). Reading about these (and seeing as how there is isopropyl alcohol in it)... I can't imagine this stuff doesn't sting. I guess I'll spray it on myself next time I'm cut to test it out. The girls have looked like it does sting at times, but they almost never resist. I think they're pretty aware that we are tending their wounds for their own good.

    Charley is not limping this afternoon, though she does stand on one foot when she's not moving around. Considering the roughness of the injury, things look quite good. Observations will continue... :)
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Crossing the Road

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    I will only use BluKote on a scrape or when a chickens needs a reddened area disguised or covered up, such as when the head or vent feathers are pulled out. For deeper wounds the betadine or vetericyn should be used.
    BluKote does sting because of the alcohol, and it also contains gentian violet, an antifungal antiseptic that colors the area dark blue.
     
  7. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Songster

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    I'll get some Betadine ordered from Amazon now - good to have in the first aid kit regardless. For us or the chickens! Thanks so much!
     
  8. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Songster

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    Update: Apart from being blue, Charley's toe looks awesome! From her behavior (including repeatedly hoping up and down from two-foot platforms) you'd never know anything had happened! She even laid us an egg today :love

    I can't yet tell if the quick is forming a nail around it, but I think it may be. A few more days should yield the answer. No swelling, redness or any sign of infection. Yay! Monitoring continues...
     
  9. HoopyFrood

    HoopyFrood Songster

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    Final Update:

    Charley re-injured her toe at least twice, perhaps three times in the healing process. All were far less injurious than the first. We had to do a little first aid in each case, sometimes cayenne pepper if it was bleeding too much. Topical antiseptics (Blue-Kote and/or Betadyne) were all that were used to treat it.

    Even under the muddy conditions of the spring thaw, with dry straw in the run and clean dry shavings in the coop she fully healed on her own; no infections.

    The quick was hurt a fair bit on one of those repeat injuries, but all setbacks were overcome! The quick healed just fine and she started growing a new claw. It's about half sized now three months later. So sometimes I call her Stumpy Toed Joe just to get a rise out of her :)
     

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