Trimming Our Chicken’s Nails

Reader Contribution by Faithful Homesteader
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When we bought four laying hens from a local hobby farm, my husband noticed that one of the hens had extra long nails. He had read that could happen for different reasons, like sometimes they don’t have enough room to scratch. Our girl, Nailie, walked funny, and she was not scratching when we first got her. We named her Nailie because of her long nails. My husband was determined to get her nails trimmed. Since the girls were skittish around us, I wasn’t sure how well that would go over with her.

My Baby

My husband asked me to pick up some small clippers from a pet store. I went straight to the bird section and found just what I needed. We decided to grab her from the roost when she went in for the evening. My husband had read that if you hold a chicken upside down, it would calm them. He had me hold our little girl just like a baby. She was just so adorable and definitely calm.

The Long of It.

We sterilized the clippers with alcohol. My husband used a flashlight to see the difference between the living and the dead nail. He cut the nails between 1/8 and 1/4 inch past the living spot, being careful not to cut into the vein. We definitely didn’t want to make our girl bleed. He had general knowledge about cutting the nails, but he also verified the process online.

The Short of It.

Now that we have her nails trimmed, she is walking better and scratching. We are happy to see her doing well. We suspect that we won’t have to trim her nails again, but we will certainly keep an eye on things. In the past, I had trimmed cat nails, but this was the first time that I was involved with trimming a chicken’s nails. Trimming nails does make me a bit nervous. I was glad to have my husband involved in the process.

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