toe nails and such

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by michaelvcrowder, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. michaelvcrowder

    michaelvcrowder Songster

    Nov 26, 2007
    gainesville georgia
    i know i am the new guy in the crazy coop here and i am sure this question has been answered a thousand times but pardon my ignorance because i did just fall off of last weeks turnip truck.

    a little background before my question:

    so it was a saturday a while back and i was working at the shop without any of the employees. when its just me, i let chicken little out of his pen to scratch around the shop and follow me about. at some point chicken wanted to help work on the motorcycle i was building so i set him up on the frame so he could at least watch and hold the occasion part for me. he is real helpful with stuff like that. he got a little excited and stepped off the frame and fell into the battery box inside the oil tank. i had to tell him that was enough motorcycle maintenance for a chicken at that point and set him off in the floor to play.

    a while later i started noticing some little drops of blood on the floor. i started investigating and found some staples, my first thought was he had hurt himself trying to eat a rusty staple and slap freaked out. i gave him a good going over and discovered he had broken a toe nail off right about where it goes into his toe. it must have happened when he slipped on the motorcycle. the toe nail was mostly broken off but still somewhat attached and was lightly bleeding. i didn't know whether to leave it or cut it off because it looked like what was holding it on was a blood vein.

    so i called the vet clinic i had been using for 20 years. their response was they didn't know anything about chickens other than they made good sandwiches. they recommended that i call another local vet that does farm animals. i called them at 10:30 am on a saturday and they were closing at noon but told me to come on up. so i put chicken little in the truck, he really likes to go for a ride, and off we went code 3 to the vets office.

    we got there and the place was slammed. the waiting room was full of folks with cats and dogs. the cats were upset about the dogs, the dogs were upset at each other and few of the owners seemed to have no real control of their pets. so i sat down in the middle of all that with my chicken sitting on my knee. for a while chicken little was real interested in all the other animals. he kept looking at the cats waiting for one to come over and play since he was raised with cats but the scaredy cats didn't want to get near a chicken.

    after a few minutes of looking around he settled down in my lap and started purring. he kinda looked around but was mostly oblivious to the other poorly behaving pets. all of the other people seemed amazed at how well the chicken was behaving. a couple seemed miffed when i made the comment that all of my pets behaved well, all it took was a little training.

    we finally got our turn and in the exam room we went. i set the chicken on the exam table and the assistant said we needed to weigh chicken and asked if i would set him on the scale. i tapped on the scale with my finger and told chicken little to come and he hopped right up on the scale. the assistant was amazed but the vet took it all in stride. he was an old coot and then made the comment that one of the best pets he had ever owned was a chicken.

    while we were doing the scale thing the offending toenail took a notion to go ahead and fall off. well at least that was done. the vet put some antibiotic powder with some blood coagulant properties on the bleeding toe and pronounced the bird fit. i went to check out figuring that this was going to be painful to the wallet. an emergency visit to a vet on saturday has to be expensive... well they charged me five bucks. i asked if they were sure that was correct and the woman working the counter said the vet really enjoyed the visit with the chicken and to come back anytime. the five bucks was for the medicine they gave me to take home and the visit was free. what a deal.

    now on to the point of the post:

    i have been doing a little research on chicken toe nails and that is how i found this site. chicken little's toe nails are getting quite long and i need to trim them to keep this tragedy from happening again. i am assuming it is not much different than trimming a dogs toe nails. just don't take too much and if you do put some powder on it to stop the bleeding.

    am i correct? any tips for a first time chicken toe nail trimmer? i would really hate to botch the job and chicken little would probably hate it worse.

    i have also noticed him getting a little long in beak also. should i make it a party and file his beak back a little while i am doing chicken maintenance.

    next question. while pulling maintenance do i need to change his oil? if so, do i use conventional or synthetic? what weight and viscosity? how much oil does a chicken hold? i am not even sure where the oil plug is. all help and advice is greatly appreciated.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
  2. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC

    I LOVE the way you express yourself - I was sitting right there with you in that vet's office!

    As far as clipping nails - you can use dog nail clippers and just clip back the tips a little at the time if you can't see where the quick is in the nail.

    You can get some quik stop powder at a petstore to have on hand just in case you get them too short and one bleeds.

    I'll leave it to someone else to answer about the beak.

    Glad Chicken Little is on the mend!
  3. Blisschick

    Blisschick not rusty

    Feb 20, 2007
    Shepherd, Texas
    I love the way you tell a story. You should become a writer...well, maybe not. They've got problems nowadays.

    CL is getting long toenails and a long beak probably because he's not getting a lot of dirt time. They naturally wear down like a dog's claws when they're out doing chicken things like scratching in the dirt, eating the things in the dirt, and rolling in the dirt. Chickens really dig dirt.

    When they start getting long, you can use dog nail clippers to trim them. Like you said, just be careful not to clip too deep. As far as the beak, if CL will let you hold him down, you can use a coarse nail file and trim it down to the proper shape. He may protest, but tell him he'll be all that much more stunning for his cat friend, and he'll be thanking you for it later. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    For the toe nails, yes, a dog clipper would work well, just have some anticoagulant around so that you can stop any bleeding that happens if you cut too close. As for beak, that might be harder to do attached to his head and all. They grow all the time so I think the best thing for him would be a sand box or something where he can scratch around and naturally wear down his beak and nails on a daily basis. If you have some rough concrete blocks, sprinkle some of his favorite treat in it to encourage him to scratch and peck. That would be a step towards daily maintaince so you don't have to run big tune ups.

    As for the oil changes, I think synthetics can be over rated. Normally I'd say a good 5W30 is good for their engines, since it is an Asian import. A dab of olive oil in his breakfast might help lube tings up. Don't put too much in or the drain might produce more droppings faster as it clears the system a bit. It's more of a fuel injector cleaner than real engine oil. Their capacity is rather low, so just light lube would work fine.
  5. crazy4chicsinBC

    crazy4chicsinBC Songster

    Nov 22, 2007
    Abbotsford, B.C.
    I so enjoyed reading your story, please keep the saga of Chicken Little alive, I want to read more. You have a talent!
  6. michaelvcrowder

    michaelvcrowder Songster

    Nov 26, 2007
    gainesville georgia
    the quick stop powder with antibiotic is what the vet gave me so i am good to go with that.

    i hate to admit this but i was an english literature/electrical engineering double major right up to the point where i freaked out and dropped out. i do write part time for the local newspaper and a couple of outdoor magazines when i have the time. i have published one guidebook and am currently working on three other book projects. i plan on becoming a writer/photographer if i ever retire from my day job.

    thanx for the tips. chicken little will sit right still for beak maintenance or get scolded severely and he doesn't like to be scolded. ;-)

    i will be cutting up a concrete block this evening for him. i have a board under his feeders to catch what he drops and he likes to peck up the stuff he scatters. you sir, are a chicken genius.

    thanx everybody!
  7. jenichick

    jenichick Songster

    Jun 1, 2007
    I love reading your posts, how colorful. Sounds like chickenlittle is in the very best hands.

    (Oh, and just FYI I don't think Silkie is a sir) hee hee
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    No problem, and jenichick is right, I'm not really a sir.
  9. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    What a great story!!
    When my girls' nails get too long, I just use DH's nail clipper on em...[​IMG]
  10. TxChiknRanchers

    TxChiknRanchers Songster

    Aug 18, 2007
    Southeast Texas
    omg ! I been using 90 weight all this time. No wonder they are so slugish in the morning when I first start em up. [​IMG]

    I just use DH's nail clipper on em...

    Do you use his razor too, spottedcrow? thats a chick thing I guess! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007

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