Peahen hurt her feet

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by ralgal, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. ralgal

    ralgal Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 26, 2012
    Hey guys,

    I noticed a few weeks back that one of my peahens had her foot injured and was pecking at it. I didn't give it much attention and it healed in just a few days. At the moment she has both her feet injured and on this time its between different toes. She sees it, pecks it - blood comes out and pecks it some more when the blood hardens. Last night I took some pictures I am attaching to this thread now. While taking the pictures I think I realized how she got the injuries: when she is up on a ledge, if she tries to turn around 180 degrees she steps with one foot over the other (i have no idea why), her claw digs in between her toes and then she pulls the leg she just stepped on causing a tear to form between her toes.
    I have used some band-aids to bandage her injuries to make her stop pecking at the hardened blood but she seems to prefer sitting at the moment instead of standing.


    Please help me with any advice you may have about this issue.
    1. I am not 100% sure that;s how she got the injuries but seeing her do that last night made me think she did. Do you think the feet may have a disease and she self inflicts the wounds by pecking at them because they itch?
    2. She seems to be mostly sitting (she can walk if forced) and I am worried her feet hurt. What do you suggest I should put over her wounds and how should I bandage them? (bepanthen antiseptic ointment or something similar)?
    3. At the moment they are sitting in a pretty small shed(2m x 2m/ 6.5 foot x 6.5 foot) and I bring them in my basement every few days so they can have more space to roam around/fly etc. Its around 0 degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) outside at the moment and there is snow everywhere so I can't let them go outside - I don't want them to get sick . How can I get them to "use" their claws in order to make them blunt and not hurt themselves. Any ideas? In their small shed there is linoleum and cardboard on the ground and they have a large sand box to bathe and eat from . Any other suggestions?

    I will be putting some hay on the linoleum instead of cardboard maybe I can determine them to search for treats in it to make them use their claws and give them something to do. I am afraid they are getting rather bored not being able to roam freely daily and out of boredom they may be hurting themselves.

    If any of you can help me with suggestions for the situation I would be very grateful.

    Here is a picture of my 2nd peahen that got an injury last night - she made me realize how the other one got it when she turned around an hurt herself with her claw.

    Thank you
  2. Frenchman Creek

    Frenchman Creek Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ralgal, I am not an expert but have raised India Blue peafowl for the past six years and have never seen the type of foot injury you are showing in your photos. You did not say if you are raising IBs or greens. I have no experience with greens.
    From reading your description of your housing I need to ask if it is possible that the injuries could be bites from vermin or injuries from jumping down from a perch onto a hard floor or an injury from being able to fly around a cellar. Like I said, I have never seen the foot injuries in your photos but would not think two separate birds could be injured by sharp toenails. Others may be able to help you more.
    1 person likes this.
  3. new 2 pfowl

    new 2 pfowl Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 13, 2012
    Makara, Wellington, NZ
    Hello there,
    I'm not sure I am going to be any help, but I agree with @Frenchman Creek that the toenail theory seems unlikely.

    Do they only have sand in their bath? I'm wondering if this might be too drying for their skin and therefore causing cracks (thinking of human feet here!). I know that @zazouse , our resident Dust Bath Expert, puts peat moss and ash in her peabaths along with sand. This is just a thought...
  4. Argus

    Argus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2015
    Northeast Ohio
    I agree that it's probably not the cause, but can you fix or remove the "ledge?" When my birds try to turn around in tight places they do the same thing, step on their foot and then try to pull the bottom foot out, which never works well! But I've never seen them puncture their skin doing it.

    Can you remove the ledge or make it wider for easier turning? Even if it isn't the cause of the injuries at least you will have ruled it out and can focus on other possibilities.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016
  5. ralgal

    ralgal Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 26, 2012
    Thank you both for the suggestions. I have 2 Indian blue peahens. I have attached some pictures.


    1. The 2m x 2m ( 6.5Foot X 6.5 Foot) house in which I keep them


    2. The basement in which i bring them every couple of days so they have more space to roam and fly :


    There are no vermin that can get to them since the basement has none and their shelter is always locked with a key. I think it may be more plausible that:
    1. The air is too dry since I am using an electric heater to keep the temperature at +10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit)
    2. They may hurt themselves jumping down. I always see them hesitating when jumping from the lowest wood onto the floor.
    3. The sand may be hurting their feet but I have only seen them using the inside sand box to eat and search it not bathe.

    I will first of all put a wooden ladder for them to climb down from the sleeping place and add some ashes to the sand box.(Thank you for the suggestion!)

    If the cause is the dry air I am stating to doubt my choice to keep them in a small heated location all the time.
    Please give me a suggestion. Given the fact that they are already 5 months and 1 week old, their size and the way they look :
    1. Do you suggest I let them go outside/explore in my (very large) yard when the temperatures are over a certain limit? What would be that limit? (there are currently between -2 (28 Fahrenheit) and 8(47 Fahrenheit) degrees Celsius outside and its sunny outside with a bit of snow left over)
    2. Should I reduce the temperature from the electric heater to less than 10 degrees Celsius or is it ok like this?(as you can see i have a thermometer on the wall in the shed and I always know the exact temperature they have inside)
    3. Should I NOT take them outside and find a way to increase the humidity inside? Any suggestions for easily doing that?

    Thank you very much for taking the time to read through my wall of text.

  6. Frenchman Creek

    Frenchman Creek Chillin' With My Peeps

    With your updated photos and info I can see your birds are well taken care of so you can be proud of that. Your perch looks low enough that I doubt jumping down onto card board would hurt their feet. I am not one to tell folks how they should be raising their peafowl so I will just say that IBs can take very cold weather if allowed to acclimate to the cold. Since yours have artificial heat you may want to be cautious letting them outside into an open area where they could fly off. If you had a covered pen area they could go outside and if they felt chilled could go back inside where the heat is. Without a covered pen I feel you would be taking a chance of losing them. In the future you may want to build a covered pen so they have the choice of going in or out and it will give them more room and you some piece of mind.
    1 person likes this.
  7. ralgal

    ralgal Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 26, 2012
    Thank you for the information and for the compliments .

    When they are roaming outside I never left them unsupervised. I always stay around them and they follow me around the yard while doing my work. When I go back inside I take them to my greenhouse if its still daylight and over 10 degrees in the greenhouse or back inside their small home. Next to my yard there is a very large field where wild pheasants always make a lot of noise and I am afraid my peahens will be attracted to the noise and leave them unsupervised. (when the pheasants are close by and making the loud noise both my peahens stop and listen to them very carefully)

    As soon as spring arrives I will be placing a large net over half of my yard (the half with trees) and let them roam around there all the time. I am waiting for spring on order to make it easier to work outside.

    I will slowly reduce the temperature for them in the next week to 5 degrees during the day in the hopes that I will be able to let them come outside for a few hours each day. If anyone has any other suggestions/options I would appreciate them.

  8. KsKingBee

    KsKingBee Overrun With Chickens

    You might consider a larger diameter roost as yours looks small to me, that could hurt their feet. We use 2x4 flat side up.
    1 person likes this.
  9. barkerg

    barkerg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2015
    Salado, Texas
    Good eye, that could be the issue. If they can wrap all the way around the perch, then its too small, you want the perch to be big enough where they can get approx 3/4 grip. The best way for me to do this is to get a tree branch that tapers or has different sizes so they can pick and choose to get comfortable. Also, try to stay away from slick/smooth perches as they like a grip.

    Gerald Barker
  10. KsKingBee

    KsKingBee Overrun With Chickens

    Up here where it gets down to zero at times, we like to use a 2x4 flat so the belly feathers will cover the ends of the toes to keep them from getting frost bit.

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