Trimming foot feathers?

Liza728w

Chirping
Jul 22, 2020
69
51
78
Oregon
I have several hens with foot feathers that get poop stuck on their feet because of it.

I *want* to trim them, but I'm afraid of hitting a blood feather. How do I know when I've trimmed enough without risking a bleed out?

If it's too risky I just wont. I'm wanting to hear about other people's experiences with trimming foot feathers and if it is worth it or not. And how to do it properly. If you have any knowledge to share please do! Thank you! :)
 

Malkaris

Songster
Sep 20, 2020
127
240
116
ATL Canada
I have several hens with foot feathers that get poop stuck on their feet because of it.

I *want* to trim them, but I'm afraid of hitting a blood feather. How do I know when I've trimmed enough without risking a bleed out?

If it's too risky I just wont. I'm wanting to hear about other people's experiences with trimming foot feathers and if it is worth it or not. And how to do it properly. If you have any knowledge to share please do! Thank you! :)

Dumb question maybe - but how often? Is it something raking a yard or installing a poop tray below the roost or something could fix? Maybe solving the cause... it seems like carefully trimming the poopy feathers of several hens would at best be time consuming and icky. Of my two feather legged friends, one doesn't seem to like her foot featheryness and trims them off herself. So far the other one has been clean though. I'd worry about bleeding too - the hen who trims her own ends up bloody. :/
 

Liza728w

Chirping
Jul 22, 2020
69
51
78
Oregon
Dumb question maybe - but how often? Is it something raking a yard or installing a poop tray below the roost or something could fix? Maybe solving the cause... it seems like carefully trimming the poopy feathers of several hens would at best be time consuming and icky. Of my two feather legged friends, one doesn't seem to like her foot featheryness and trims them off herself. So far the other one has been clean though. I'd worry about bleeding too - the hen who trims her own ends up bloody. :/

It's not too bad at all, but one of my girls has foot feathers that are SO long! They go out a good 4 inches at least. I've never seen foot feathers that long. Whenever I pick them up their feet are smelly (it is just poo!) and always have a little bit of poop stuck in their feathers. (The coop gets cleaned very often but they are on shavings so there is always a little bit of poo on the ground.)
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,575
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1,066
North Carolina Sandhills
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When I first got feather-footed breeds I came here for advice and this is what I got:

  1. Make sure of good drainage to avoid mud.
  2. Use plenty of bedding in the coop and litter in the run OR keep them on fresh grass.
  3. Put pallets, straw bales, chunks of logs, etc. in the run so that they can sit up off the ground.
A little dirt/poop in the foot feathers is normal. Chickens aren't careful where they walk. :) Most chickens will clean it off themselves during their normal preening.

I personally wouldn't trim the feathers unless the bird were having trouble walking properly or if the foot feathers were collecting balls of hardened mud, ice, etc. and I was unable to remedy the run conditions that allowed it to collect.

But if you do need to trim, you only have to worry about blood feathers during the molt and feather replacement. Once the feathers have grown to their full length and matured there is no more blood inside. In a light-colored feather you can see the blood in the shaft and in a dark feather you *might* be able to see it in good light.

If you do hit a blood feather all you have to do is to pull the feather and put pressure on the spot for a moment. The bleeding will stop quickly that way. :)
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,657
143,739
1,867
SW Michigan
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Is it something raking a yard or installing a poop tray below the roost or something could fix?
No, chickens step in poop no matter what kind of bedding.
That, and winter, are the two reasons I don't keep feather footed birds anymore.
The bare feet birds will preen it off, or it wears off.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,346
38,349
1,142
Colorado Rockies
To each her own, but I adore feathered feet. I have a ten-year old Black Cochin that makes a point of locating any freshly deposited poop and heads right for it.

Having sand for bedding, most of the poop gets sanded off, but occasionally, I will take this avian mop and either hose off her feet in summer or stick her feet under a warm water faucet in winter and rinse off the poop buildup. It takes less than one minute, I pat her feet dry, and turn her loose to go locate more poop to step in.
 

Liza728w

Chirping
Jul 22, 2020
69
51
78
Oregon
When I first got feather-footed breeds I came here for advice and this is what I got:

  1. Make sure of good drainage to avoid mud.
  2. Use plenty of bedding in the coop and litter in the run OR keep them on fresh grass.
  3. Put pallets, straw bales, chunks of logs, etc. in the run so that they can sit up off the ground.
A little dirt/poop in the foot feathers is normal. Chickens aren't careful where they walk. :) Most chickens will clean it off themselves during their normal preening.

I personally wouldn't trim the feathers unless the bird were having trouble walking properly or if the foot feathers were collecting balls of hardened mud, ice, etc. and I was unable to remedy the run conditions that allowed it to collect.

But if you do need to trim, you only have to worry about blood feathers during the molt and feather replacement. Once the feathers have grown to their full length and matured there is no more blood inside. In a light-colored feather you can see the blood in the shaft and in a dark feather you *might* be able to see it in good light.

If you do hit a blood feather all you have to do is to pull the feather and put pressure on the spot for a moment. The bleeding will stop quickly that way. :)

Thank you for your reply! :) I may try to fill the coop with a bit more bedding to see if it helps at all. Like I said its not a huge problem, but I like to pick up my girls and it is SO gross when their feathers are more poopy than picking up one of my bare legged girls lol. There's no escaping it though. 🤣
 

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