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27 April 2012

Chicken Nail Trimming FAIL

So today I decided I would try to trim my Gold Laced Wyandotte's toenails. I decided to use her for my first attempt at this job because she is my quietest hen when it comes to handling, and because I happened to catch her more easily than any of the others...

A word of caution to anyone who is going to attempt to trim a chicken's nails. Don't!

No, seriously, what I mean is, don't undertake this lightly if you've never done it before. There is some basic equipment you should have on hand before you start and which I foolishly neglected to have and this is my cautionary tale.

So, before you even think of touching a sharp pair of nail trimmers to a chicken's claw, please gather the following.

Sharp Nail Clippers
Cotton swabs
Kwik Stop powder or Corn Flour
A prepared isolation pen
A stiff drink! (medicinal)

The reason for the Kwik Stop powder and corn flour is to stop any bleeding should you do what I did, and take off too much of the nail.

I really only nipped off the very tip of the claw, but obviously nicked the quick and this bled. It bled a LOT. This photo was taken after I had been applying pressure on the end of the nail for about 10 minutes and it was only just beginning to clot.

I don't have any Kwik Stop powder, so we had to resort to using corn flour which will help to stop bleeding from this kind of injury, but it doesn't work as well.

We buried the injured toe in corn flour and it stuck to the injured nail quite nicely.

The poor victim was then put into isolation where she will stay for 24 hours to ensure she doesn't reopen the wound by scratching in the dirt.

I will try clipping nails again, but will be much more cautious next time and make sure I am fully prepared, including having Kwik Stop powder on hand for emergencies!


  1. Good post Maggie. Very traumatic for animal and owner when you take too much off but being prepared is the key. I Also like the way you have her in a seperate pen after the job - very good idea.

    1. Thanks Charles. We kept her isolated for 24 hours just to be sure the nail had sealed over before letting her back into the main coop. You'd never know she had been injured to look at her today.

  2. Bleeding that won't stop is quite scary. I had the same thing happen the other day. I wish I knew about the corn flour remedy. Thankyou for blogging your experience :)