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Written by Carole

Do you have a rooster in your coop? I do and he is two years old now and has a very large set of spurs on him.

Roosterraising roosters
Check out the spurs in these pictures. This rooster has some spurs!

Our rooster is friendly and does not show any signs of aggression but my concern about the spurs is for the hens. If he accidentally stuck one of these hens with his spur when he was breeding they may not fare very well.

So I have been researching the best way to get rid of rooster spurs and have come up with a list of ways recommended on how to deal with them. Here it is:

  1. File down the tip of the spur with a dremmel or other grinding instrument. Since the spur continuously grows, like the toe nails, this procedure will have to be repeated as the spur tip grows out.
  2. The spur can be removed when the rooster is still a chick. A veterinary uses electrocautery to hinder the growing cells of the spur.
  3. Instead of cutting them, which is dangerous, you can take a pair of pliers, place them at the base of the spur near the leg, and twist until they come off. It removes the outer sheath of the spur leaving a much smaller spur underneath. I do this to my show roosters as it makes them look more “classy” to the judges’ eye.
  4. The plier method will make them bleed, but I have never had one scream in pain yet and I’ve done thousands of roosters like this. Just put some water on the spur and dab some fresh household WHITE SUGAR on it. This will keep the spur clean while helping to clot the blood. The spur shell makes for unique jewelry/pendants too.
  5. Wire cutters may also be used by snipping off the tip of the spur. Be careful not to snip off too much as this can cause profuse bleeding and a very unhappy rooster. Cutting too deep means that you’ve cut too far into the new soft spur that is found underneath the old cap. After snipping a metal file may be used to file the edges smooth.
  6. This method is said to remove a spur permanently. This is done when the cockerel is 10-16 weeks old and the spur is 1/4 inch long. The spur is cut off close to the cockeral’s leg. After cutting the spur then rub potassium hydroxide into the wound to prevent profuse bleeding and also preventing the spur from regrowing again.
  7. Another known method is using an electric calf dehorner and burning them off. This has been said that it is a permanent form of removal. With this method you must be extremely careful not to burn too much or too little. It’s said it doesn’t bother the rooster and he’s back to normal in a couple of days.
  8. According to Stromberg’s Book of Poultry is the following: Place a hot baked potato on the spur and hold it there for a few minutes. Remove the baked potato, twist the spur and you will find it comes right off. There is no blood or mess. This technique really works well.
  9. A Dremel Motor tool with a cut off wheel attachment may also be used. With this method one person holds the rooster’s leg and the other cutting the spur off just before the quik. There is the risk of cutting too close and profuse bleeding may result.

These are just some methods I have found while searching the internet. I think the potato method sounds like the easiest and maybe the least painful. I am definitely going to give it a try.

If you know of a better way, please share in the comment section. I am sure many of the readers have roosters and would like to hear from everyone.

I will share the results of my spur removal procedure once I get the courage to do it.

Until the next time…

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86 Responses to “How to Remove Rooster Spurs”

  1. Candelario Hernandez
    January 22nd, 2013 at 10:40 am

    How can I treat my rooster with one cut off wing he was missing for a couple day’s then he came home with a cut off wing can u help me.


  2. I twisted off my roosters spurs with a pair of pliers came off pretty easy bleeding now but looks so much better small thank you jim


  3. I am a bit concerned about removing the spurs from an adult rooster. Are #2 – 9 supposed to all be on an adult or on a chick? I truly need to do something because all of my hens are suffering! But ooohhh the egg production with roosters around. They love the attention.


  4. I have used the potato method and it works GREAT!! if your rooster isn’t friendly (mine isn’t) it seemed like a long time to sit there holding a hot potato on his spur until it softened, but in reality it was only about 5 mins (each side) I am out of potatoes and he needs them removed again (they are literally 3″ long!!), so this time I am going to try just twisting them off with pliers…with your advice tho I am going to use my “kwik-stop” for the bleeding (normally its for dog nails cut too short that bleed) I liked your page with all the methods listed in one place!


  5. I am happy to report that using pliers is even easier than a hot potato!! I just grabbed the spur with the pliers close to the base and gently twisted one way and then the other, and it slipped right off. neither one hardly bled at all (maybe one drop)


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