I was recently asked by another Chicken Junkie how she could remove the spurs on her ornery Rhode Island Red Rooster. He would attack anyone who turned their back on him.
This is not a good thing. Scratches or punctures from rooster spurs, kind of like animal bites, can become infected very easily, due to the bacteria on them. They should always be checked out by your doctor if they become inflamed or don’t heal right away.
1. My favorite thing to do is just let the rooster know that humans are always the Alpha Rooster. If a rooster attacks, grab him and hold him on his back for a while, until he calms down. This is kind of like what the Dog Whisperer does to dogs. Show them you are the Alpha Chicken.
Most of my roosters won’t even breed a hen when I’m in the area. They know I’ll just push them off. I only do that to keep my Alpha Chicken presence. They still like me to pick them up and pet them. They know I give them treats, but they also know I’m the boss. Some of them even pick up treats and present them to me, so funny. Just be consistent and you’ll see the results.
2. The method my Dad used to remove the spurs, was holding the chicken upside down and grabbing the spur with a pliers and giving it a sharp twist. This is very easy to do and usually there is not much blood. He kept some cornstarch handy, if it did bleed a bit, and sprinkled some on the bleeding spur to clot the blood. It doesn’t seem to hurt the rooster. (I’m not sure, as I’m not a rooster and never had it done to me.)
Here is a video that shows how to remove the spur.
3. My Grandmother always used a potato that she had baked until it was hissing. (You could do this faster in the microwave.) She would hold the rooster by his feet and stab the spur into the hot potato (not too close to the skin) and then wait a couple minutes. Then she would twist gently and the spur would just come off in the potato. No bleeding with this method and never seemed to bother the rooster. She used an oven mitt to hold the hot potato while holding it on the spur.
Both of these two methods leave a tiny new spur which will grow back out in time. You can repeat the process every year or as needed.
4. The other way people keep chicken spurs from becoming dangerous to people or other roosters is to just clip the tips off. You would do this just like clipping a dogs nails. In fact, you can use a dog nail clipper, and I’ve seen it done with regular nail clippers and gardening clippers as well. Just make sure they are sharp. Be careful not to clip into the quick, or it will bleed and be painful for the rooster. Always have something handy to stop the bleeding if you accidently clip too much.
Something my Grandmother used whenever an animal, or a person for that matter, was bleeding is a crushed Yarrow leaf, applied directly to the wound. It has antiseptic properties and stops the bleeding from most wounds almost immediately. it also helps them heal faster. This clipping method will keep the spurs dull and roosters can’t use them as weapons.
Any of these methods should help with your rooster spur problems. I prefer to just train my Roos from an early age that I am Alpha. Seems more humane to me and leaves the rooster intact to protect my free ranging flock.
Sometimes you get an adult rooster that already has bad habits, like spurring, though. In that case one of the above methods would work for him.
As a last method… I’ll just close with the one my Mother used when she caught the farm rooster terrorizing me at three years old. Let’s just say that I’ve never enjoyed homemade chicken and dumplings more.
Photo of White Rock Rooster – Henry always tries to give me treats and does a rooster dance for me. Guess he wants to keep his spurs. lol He comes when I call him as well. Very smart Roo.