Did you know that chickens can benefit from nail trimming? Sometimes no matter how much access to pasture and fresh patches of dirt, chickens require their toenails to be trimmed. This is important for the overall health of their feet and their ability to move without restrictions and to properly roost at night.
I have found that as my flock ages, some of the girls need a little bit of help when it comes to their feet. One by one, inspect each of your chickens to see if they are in need of a little chicken podiatry. Here’s what you need to get started!
- Toenail clippers or dog toenail clippers
- Cornstarch or styptic pen
|A few of these nails could use a little attention.|
Trimming a chicken’s toenails is very similar to trimming a dog’s. I find trimming nails to be a two person job. Within the nail, there is blood supply. It is called the quick. You do not want to trim the quick or the nail will bleed. Sometimes quicks can be accidentally nicked. Applying some cornstarch from the kitchen directly to the bleeding nail works will to help stop the bleeding.
Wrap a towel around the chicken’s body. This helps them to stay still during the process. Holding the chicken’s foot in your hand and their toe between your fingers, see if you can identify the end of the quick. This is easier on pale nails than darker black nails. Go slowly and begin to trim off small amounts of the nail. The quick sometimes will grow down the long nails. If this is the case, then just trim a little and come back in a week. The quick will begin to shrink down and you can then remove more of the nail. Sometimes, it can take a few weeks to get your chicken’s nails completely trimmed down to a healthy length.
About the author: Melissa Caughey is a backyard chicken keeper, beekeeper, gardener, and cook who pens the award winning blog, Tilly’s Nest. She lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts with her family of four and her Miniature Schnauzer. She regularly writes for HGTV Gardens, Community Chickens, Grit magazine, and contributes to Country Living Magazine. Her blog was recently named one of Better Homes and Gardens Top 10 Gardening Blogs. Melissa is currently working on a backyard chicken book with Storey Publishing to be released this upcoming year.