We all are aware that chickens have a pair of legs. Have you looked at a rooster? I’m positive you have. Then wondered what the extra ‘small legs are’? Well, those are not legs but rooster spurs. A rooster spur is a growth on the portion of a cock. The paws are visible only when the chicken has matured. It is why someone keen to find out the sexes of chicks may fail. The birds at puberty have little prods. As they grow, the prod begins appearing and become developed. It gets hard, grows huge and scary with aging roosters. The size of the spur depends on the breed. Large breeds have more massive spikes.
Do all cocks have spurs?
All roosters should have the spurs unless it is particular. The spurs give a sign of mature chickens. Like there are signs of puberty in other animals, the roosters as well. They should not worry you nor scare you. They are normal and a good sign that your bird is maturing.
The rooster spurs have both benefits and their harmful side. Chicken have different personal attributes, and it affects how they use prods.
Benefits of Rooster spurs to the chicken.
The cocks have the spurs to protect themselves. They need to protect their chicks and their mothers to. When an intruder attacks the flock, the males have to deal with them. They charge, spread wings, and fly high to attack. Spurs, at this point, are useful to help pierce the enemy. The fight will go on until one emerges victorious. The bad thing is that cock might die in the process.
2. To fight other cocks
Many times, cockfight is for food and space. The weapon is as well-used with an internal threat. When the coop is not spacious and food is minimal, conflicts arise. The male to female ratio is crucial in this effect. Mates are as well the other reason for disputes in the flock.
The negative side of spurs
1. Other flocks can get injured.
Roosters may cause significant injuries to the other flock. Cockfighting may result in serious injuries that may lead to death. Some cocks are naughty and cannot stay with others. The owner needs to be careful to control them. While mating, the cocks can injure the hens. Some roosters are enormous and heavy. Chances are the prods are significant, which may hurt the hens.
Some prods grow huge and curved with big nails. It can make the bird walk with difficulties. As if that is not enough, it can hurt the legs of your bird. At times, the talons drug along with items that can tie it down. Predators can feast on your bird through that.
3. They can scare or injure you as well.
Roosters can as well attack their owners. They may not have a conflict with you, but because they want to dominate. Their desire to rule in their space makes them violent. Some cocks are just unruly. It can scare you as you go to feed them. It makes other people go with a rake or some rod for self- defense. What of your face? They can jump unto your back and scratch you. It would help if you were careful around the chicken with spurs.
What can you do with them?
Many people wonder how to deal with spurs. You want to remove them but scared, you want to leave them scared. It leaves you wondering.
How to take care of the prods
Is it necessary that you control the spikes? You need to assess your chicken and check their behavior. Some roosters are violent, and allowing them the spurs spell doom. They cause problems and losses. For instance, they fight and kill other birds; it is wise to control them. Below are the ways you can manage your chicken spurs.
1. Try to make them short.
You can trim the spikes of your birds to avoid costly damages. From killing other flocks, injuring you or your child is expensive. The main reason you keep the flock is for profit. Use a dog nail trimmer and cut the spike into size. Ensure you don’t pull it off; it can make your rooster bleed. It can lead to death which is not a good thing.
2. Remove the outer layer of the prod.
You can remove the outer layer of the spur. Use a roast potato to soften the hard layer. Tie a piece of cloth around the prod. Pull it out by a firm grip with the pliers. Apply a disinfectant obtained from your agro vet. The bird can bleed to death. Once done, then lose your chicken. It will ensure that the spur does not grow vast and formidable. The claw-like structure will grow. The method is a short- term solution since it needs re-doing.
3. Removal of the spur.
Removing the spur is a onetime solution. It will take care of the problem once and for all. There are two ways this occurs. You can do it on your own at home. It will require that you get the required items for the job. A Dremel, otherwise referred to as a grinder, will be of use. It is the same tool used to sharpen cutters. Don’t forget to get some surgical spirit or disinfectant. Use the grinder to grind the prod and reduce it to size.
Do not grind everything since it is dangerous. Disinfect the area by applying the spirit of blue-kote medicine. It will ensure that you consider the safety of your rooster. It is a matter of time, and your chicken will heal.
You can opt not to do it yourself. It means that you consider involving your vet. Your vet will have to carry out an operation to remove the spike. Since you have an expert around, you have nothing to worry about. Just relax, and consider the problem solved.
- They will protect your flock from wild animals. The roosters are soldiers to defend your birds while you are not around. Denying them of their prods will disarm your soldiers and make them defenseless.
They will defend you. You may live in a bushy neighborhood, and danger lurks. Dangerous animals like snakes and crabs can harm you. Roosters can kill them and be your savior. For the same reason, you can leave their prod.
Some chickens are calm, while others are troublesome. Whether you allow them to remain with the spikes or not depends on you. You can enable your roosters to have a spike with them. But first, ensure you take care of the following;
- Make enough space for them
Space is vital for your flock. Do not allow over -flock them thinking you are making a profit. Your flock needs room to move around and have free air. If you have little space, then there will be conflicts and fights. It would be best if you gave them an area that is enough. They will fight, but there will be a refuge.
- Take care of the male to female ratio.
The roosters are in constant conflict for a shortage of mates. If their needs are well taken care of, they will minimize conflicts. It is because they becomeoccupied and satisfied. Ensure you keep an average ratio of one rooster to twelve hens. At the least, maintain one cock to ten hens.
- Partition your coop
Having enough space isn’t enough. Partition the coop. Have it into portions to keep the calm birds. Ensure a single rooster in a partition with its hens. It is to ensure there is little or no competition. Conflicts arise from the game.
- Provide enough feeds.
Ensure that your flock isn’t underfed. Supply enough food for your flock to reduce stress. Conflicts arising from running after food can minimized.
- Make the roosters your pets
If you would be friendly to them, they tend to be gentle to you. They get defensive when someone provokes them. Keep them happy, and they will not make trouble.
- Separate the unruly rooster or roast it
Take it aside from the rest through selling. You can burn it and make a delicious chicken meal. They were for their meat and reproduction, after all. It will give the other flock peace while production will increase. When the birds are sweet, it is hard to slaughter them. It is because they give you an attachment. The naughty one could have come home to roost.
The rooster spurs should not give you sleepless nights. It is the usual way to grow. Allow your chicks to have them if they don’t hurt your business. It is suitable for free-rangers to have the spikes for self-defense. You check your chicken well before you decide. It would help if you go for a calm breed when selecting a rooster. Do not wait for long before removing the prods. When the cocks get older, the spurs become harder and developed. It is risky to remove it.