Spurs? On a hen?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by TamingMaster, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. TamingMaster

    TamingMaster Chicken Obsessed

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    Hello, I've noticed that my beloved Vorwerk hen, Lady Egglantine, is growing spurs or something. I have no clue what they are. :confused:
    She's had them for a couple of months now and, slowly, they're getting longer.

    So, I have a few questions:
    1. What are they?
    2. Will they injure any of my other chickens?
    3. Should I remove her leg-rings?
    4. Will they harm her in any way?
    5. Will she become aggressive?

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    Thanks for any help. :)
     
  2. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It does appear that she is growing spurs. Did you lose a rooster or not have one? How old is she?( I expect that she is over two years for this). she may take on some rooster behavior like food calls and predator warning. It is unlikely that she will use them against another hen. Myself, I would remove leg bands for now until spurs are done growing. I had a 5 yr old SLW grow a full on spur on her left leg after the roo met his maker. [​IMG]
     
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  3. TamingMaster

    TamingMaster Chicken Obsessed

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    I've never had a rooster, but I think she was kept with roosters before I got her. I don't know exactly how old she is, but I know she's under a year old. My other hen usually does the calls for food and predators. Okay, I'll remove the leg-rings tomorrow morning. :)
    Thanks for your help @justplainbatty!
     
  4. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there! In order of your questions....

    1. Those are spur buds! Contrary to popular belief, hens can have spurs. I have two Buff Orpingtons who both have spur buds much larger than those on your girl.

    2. I doubt your hen's spurs will ever injure any other chickens. From my experience, the spurs a hen grows rarely compare in size to those of a rooster. In fact, mine have sort of stayed at the bud stage, rather than grow out to full curved spurs. Even if they do grow longer, most hens don't mount other chickens (unless there is a hormonal issue at play, or there is no rooster in the flock), so it is unlikely she will injure another bird with them. Roosters can occasionally damage hens with their spurs, but that is usually done during mating.

    3. She can keep her leg rings, but if it worries you, you could remove them. I do a check of all my bird's leg rings every month or so to make sure they are not getting too tight, but other than that the spurs should not affect how she wears the leg rings. They will just sit over the top of the spur as they are now.

    4. No, the spur buds won't harm your girl. She will be just fine. It's completely natural for her to have them.

    5. I am not aware of any link between spur buds and aggression. My BO's are just lovely, and have never been aggressive. It's easy to link spurs with aggression, because usually it's the roosters that have spurs - and roosters are more inclined to be aggressive! That being said, there are many, many roosters who are just big cuddle-puffs too! My roo is a big sook! Don't worry, your girl is no less a girl because she has spurs.

    So, to summarise....

    Everything is completely normal and there is nothing to worry about. She will go about her chicken-y business with or without spurs, and it is highly unlikely that those little buds will ever be a problem - to her, or the rest of your flock.

    My best wishes to you!

    Krista


    ETA: My girls started growing their spur buds at 6 months.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
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  5. TamingMaster

    TamingMaster Chicken Obsessed

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    Thank you @krista74!
    I never knew that hens could get spurs, I thought only roosters could! :p
     
  6. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not all hens do.

    I have 11 hens all up, but only the two BO's have the spur buds.

    Their spur buds are about double the size of yours, and they continue to grow very slowly.

    At first I thought "Oh no! They're boys!" but they have each laid an egg into my hand, one has raised a batch of chicks, and the other is currently in the Buster cage [​IMG]

    Here is a picture of one of them. It's not the best shot, but you should be able to see the spur bud.....

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    The photo was taken when she was about 10 months old. She is now 16 months old and near naked from moulting! She is wearing an apron because George (AKA: The Big Sook) was only young, and was over-mating the hens. A lot of them had feathers ripped out and one got cut by his spurs. He has mellowed as he has aged!

    Krista
     
  7. mymilliefleur

    mymilliefleur Keeper of the Flock

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    I agree with @krista74 . I've had hens with long spurs and haven't had any problems. Personally I would remove the leg bands just because I would be afraid they would get caught on something, but If they are lose, (which they appear to be in the picture) I wouldn't be worried about them.
     

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