Why are my chickens losing their nails?

TinyLittleFarm

Songster
9 Years
Mar 8, 2010
426
11
131
Wisconsin
Friday we found our roo with a toenail (claw? what do you call them on chickens?) completely missing. It bled a lot, but we treated it and it seems to be healing fine. Today there was more fresh blood in the coop. Jack was still fine, but I found Alice with one of her nails torn off and bleeding. It wasn't completely gone like Jack's was. They have been inside their coop/run. It's really icy right now and there are a few spots in the run with chunks of ice. There is also a cage in the coop housing two broodies and baby. I'm thinking maybe they jumped on the cage or something and tore their nails? There's no blood around the cage at all. Is there some sort of illness that could be making their nails weak or something? Both chickens with missing nails are Light Brahmas.

ETA: This is the cage. There are no sharp points or edges and it now has a piece of carpeting on top to shield the mommas from flying poo.

50603_img_0515.jpg
 
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Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
597
448
South Georgia
I would guess these are injuries. It's often recommended that chickens not be housed on wire floors because they are prone to catching their nails in the wire and getting injured.

I had to look it up -- they are nails.
 

ranchhand

Rest in Peace 1956-2011
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
13,295
85
291
SC
Check your bedding as well. If it has gotten damp or too much ammonia has built up during the long winter, it can weaken the connection between toes and claws. You have to really low down to smell any ammonia buildup.
 

TinyLittleFarm

Songster
9 Years
Mar 8, 2010
426
11
131
Wisconsin
Well, the wire cage is just to hold the broodies. They have a nice layer of shavings so they are not really on the wire. The ones who have lost nails are not in the cage. The only way they would possibly be injured by it is if they jumped on top of it and got a toenail stuck or something. I don't think that's what's happening.

I have noticed that my bedding is damp. I need to open up some of my winter ventilation flaps. I had no idea that could weaken their nail connections. Even though I just changed it all a month ago, I might change it again. Thanks for the info.
 

taprock

Songster
9 Years
Nov 1, 2010
1,976
149
236
Northern L.P. Michigan
I'm having the same problem right now with both chickens and guineas. I think part of it is the claws are really long right now after being in all winter and not out scratching. We have an ammonia issue right now with everything thawing. I hadn't realized that could also affect the claws.
 

ranchhand

Rest in Peace 1956-2011
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
13,295
85
291
SC
It's really the damp and ammonia combined that literally start to rot the toes. Not reallly well known, but a neighbor of mine had the problem many years ago. A serious coop cleanout and some antibiotic ointment saved the day!
 
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Moonman16

Hatching
Feb 24, 2016
4
0
6
My pet rooster, Ping, walked onto my property last summer when he was very small though not a little chick.
He showed signs he didn't want to leave so I let him stay!
Well we made it through the winter and during our time together (yes, I built a coup for him) he has lost two nails.
The first one scared the heck out of me with the blood and all, but that only lasted a day. The same with the other
nail that popped off. I've never had ANY experience with chickens.

It turns out, without any girl chickens around, tough guy Ping decided a couple of small logs in my yard (he freeranges under
supervision) were going to be his lovely ladies! This is where the story gets hard to tell!
Ping er..."loves" his girls and when I throw the sticks he runs like the Dickens and mounts them wildly.

His feet at the same time are scratching at the bark on the logs like crazy. I think he has actually popped or pulled out the nails after
seeing the last injury right after one of his romantic frenzies.
He's so happy, I hate to take his "girlfriends" away so he doesn't pop all his nail off, but I can certainly limit how many "dates" he has!
Anyway, to you all who's chickens are losing a nail once in awhile, look for a place in your coop or yard where their nails may be getting caught on something. Good luck!

P.S. be sure to keep the wounds clean to avoid infection! It would be sad to lose a bird to a wound that is so easily taken care of.
 

chicklover 1998

Songster
Sep 30, 2015
1,615
102
118
Oskaloosa,Ia
This thread is over 5 years old I would suggest getting some actually chickens for him they are social animals and that is not normal behavior for a roo even a horny one at that
 

Moonman16

Hatching
Feb 24, 2016
4
0
6
Yeah, deep in my heart I realize that. I'm thinking of doing over my shed into a larger coop with thoughts of getting some company for him.
I talked to him about it for the first time the other day and he said "What? I'm a chicken!? The neighbor's
dog said I was a rare feathered canine!!!
 

MANNA-PRO

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