My cockerel is having trouble walking because his spurs are too long. He keeps tripping over them and gets horribly embarrassed. I think he's starting to get depressed about it.
I'm thinking to trim the spurs but want to do this in a way that is gentle on the humans and the roo. Are spurs like horns in that they have a live part inside? What if I cut them back a quarter inch every few weeks until they are down to two inches long - and he can walk properly again? How would I go about cutting them?
I just trimmed my roosters spurs this afternoon. He's been inadvertently causing wounds on my hens during mating, not all the time, but it's happening once in a while, which is too much. I lost a hen earlier this year to a laceration on her side and what I now believe to be caused by my rooster. I'm not ready to cull chickens and send him to freezer camp just yet, so I hope trimming his spurs will put an end to hen damage. I'd never trimmed spurs before so I wasn't sure what I was up against. I thought about linesman pliers or diagonals, but chose my cat claw trimmer as it's very sharp. Even though my rooster is pretty timid and well behaved to begin with, I figured a distraction might help so his attention isn't on the human and human's out of routine behavior. I thought food would be just the ticket since all animals speak the language of food. I re-entered the chickens fenced area with a freshly filled feeder, and I placed it on the ground instead of hanging it back up inside the coop. All the birds, and rooster, went to the feeder. It took a couple tries because each time I went for a spur, the chickens were still in a sort of frenzy and were knocking each other around, rooster included, but he would walk around and try a new spot. On his third repositioning, everyone was being fairly still and foraging. I simply reached under him with my cat claw trimmer while he was standing there eating and snip, got the first one, and he seemed to either not know what was going on. I was surprised at how tough a spur is, it took more squeezing than I realized to snip the spur. I promptly went for the other spur, and snippety snip off it went. I got more clipped off the second than the first, so I went back to the first and took off a little more. With the spurs trimmed I walked away, him and the hens still eating. I don't know how long they will take to grow back, but I'm feeling pretty good about having to do this again. The cat claw trimmer I used looks almost identical to the one in this picture.
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht