Topic of the Week - Beaks, spurs and nails

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sumi, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité

    Jun 28, 2011
    Tipperary, Ireland
    Questions relating to beaks, spurs and nails come up on the forum often and I decided for this week's Topic of the Week thread to ask how you all manage the different aspects of helping our flocks maintain these tools. Specifically:

    - How and when do you trim your chickens' beaks and nails?
    - Do you remove your roosters' spurs and how do you do it?
    - How do you manage beak problems, such as cross beaks, broken/cracked beaks?

    Anything you'd like to add?

    For a complete list of our Topic of the Week threads, see here:
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  2. bigdaddy1950

    bigdaddy1950 Hatching

    Aug 31, 2016
    We have black spots on the cone is that ok? Also one of the chicks was born with the tell feathers alldown. Is tht ok?
  3. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Crowing

    Oct 23, 2014
    I have let my roosters' spurs grow out in the past, and have found that they are not really useful as they can tear up a hen's back, and one rooster damaged a hen's vent. Also, very long spurs I've noticed can interfere with the rooster walking.

    It was recommended by a veterinarian last year to start trimming the spurs after the cockerel is one year old, when the spurs start to grow more, and keep trimming little at a time as the spurs grow so that way the spurs never get too long. I have two one year old cockerels this year, and I will start trimming their spurs very soon.

    A minor cracked beak heals on it's own.
    chickengr, Shilo7 and Leahs Mom like this.
  4. kpolenz

    kpolenz Chirping

    Jul 14, 2013
    Interesting thread, hope more will offer up some comments.
    How will you trim your roosters spurs janetmarie ?
  5. catwoman1330

    catwoman1330 In the Brooder

    Jul 17, 2015
    My Buff Orpington Rooster is very docile, so I don't think I should cut his spurs, but good info, thanks for the post.
    The Angry Hen likes this.
  6. Leahs Mom

    Leahs Mom Free Ranging

    Feb 9, 2012
    Northern Indiana
    Could you tell us how you trim the spurs? What do you use to trim, and how much do you take off at a time without reaching the "quick".
  7. Leahs Mom

    Leahs Mom Free Ranging

    Feb 9, 2012
    Northern Indiana
    On my hens/pullets I don't trim anything. They need their beaks in-tact. Having a cement block or some kind of landscape blocks can help them keep their own beaks in proper condition.

    Mine are outside most of the time and scratching seems to keep nails under control. I think that having a cement block or some rocky ground can help with that as I "believe" they tend to take care of their nails on their own if allowed to.

    If mine were confined all the time I may have to consider trimming nails I suppose.
  8. Spurs:
    To remove spurs, I use a pliers. I grasp next to where the spur is attached to the leg, and support the leg with one hand. It takes a bit of practice and gets easier with time. tighten the pliers until they are firm on the spur then rock back and forth. It takes about 6 twists. Keep close to the leg, don't squeeze too hard on the pliers. Amount of blood varies -- sometimes they seem to bleed a lot, other times hardly at all. The remaining flesh underneath will be tender and painful for a bit, then the spurs will begin to regrow.
    Here's a link to a video demo where the guy makes it look easy.

    It can be done by hand but I prefer the grip that the pliers gives.

    Once had an Isbar with slight tendency to cross beak - and using a nail file on her beak enabled her to better eat her feed.

    If you have dog nail clippers they work well on chicken claws. The kind I have has a plate to put the pointed end of the nail upon to prevent too deep a cut. From time to time, I've had chickens that need claws trimmed.

    Great topic Sumi! - good insights from your posters too. :thumbsup
  9. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I have been thinking on removing the spurs on my Rooster, he is going on 3 years old, and he steps funny. They are much longer than the video above. I have been thinking on it, just have not done it.
    NorthTexasWink likes this.
  10. kpolenz

    kpolenz Chirping

    Jul 14, 2013
    Great video and yes he makes it look easy, glad to see the bird was not fussed at all by it.

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