In a recent issue of Your Chickens a writer suggested spurs can safely be clipped back since they consist of dead tissue. I know of someone who did this and hit blood vessels. Please can you clarify this advice?

Charlotte Popescu says:

Spurs consist of horny material and are an outgrowth of the leg bone on the cockerel. They have a core and an outer husk. They are continually growing and are like toe nails, so they can be trimmed. This can be done with dog nail clippers. You must be careful only to clip back the tip, which is the dead tissue – you don’t want to cut too far or you will get some bleeding as spurs have a blood supply in the core (you will be able to see the blood vessels under light). As a rough guide, on most adult cockerels this will be about 1½ to 2cm from the base of the spur, so you need to leave this part of the spur intact.

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