Friday, April 24, 2009

Keeping Birds Feet and Legs Clean

Vigilantly Remove Any Excrement

It is important to inspect feet, legs, and bands for any fecal material that has dried on them. The dried fecal material shuts off circulation and can result in loss of toes etc. To remove simply loosen with warm water and carefully peel it off. This is a big problem in larger clutch but also it is a problem for cocks and hens who get excrement on them as they care for their chicks!

Both of the Stafford chicks pictured are banded with this years red bands. The fecal material is covering the band and even getting inside the band. The bottom bird, in addition to the dirty band, has subtle fecal coating of its back toe nail. With its melanin color it is difficult to see the excrement on the back nail. Failure to remove the fecal material at this early stage mean that more fecal material will continue to build up until blood flow is restricted. This can result in losing the nail in young or old birds!

Also be mindful of scale buildup under the band on older birds. The band should always be movable up and down the leg. If scales are restricting the movement, soften with a very small amount of mineral or olive oil (do not get get oil on feathers). Then using your fingernails, gently peel off the old scales.

The same method of softening and peeling can be used to remove scale build up in older birds. When peeling away their scales, do not be to aggressive and go to deep or bleeding can occur on the feet or legs. If bleeding should occur, you can stop bleeding with quik stop or if that is not available use regular kitchen flour.

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