Young roosters, called cockerels, and hens can develop spurs. The size of the spurs and the age of the bird when he develops the spurs will depend on his breed and individual level of growth. Knowing when your rooster's spurs will develop can help you plan ahead for managing them appropriately or having them removed, if necessary.
A rooster's spur actually is a bony growth that protrudes from the inside of the leg. The spur starts out as a small protrusion on the inside of each leg when your cockerel is just a chick. The spurs grow, harden and curve as your rooster matures and develops.
Spur Growth and Development
The spur starts out so small you cannot see it, but will grow as your bird develops. Some cockerels will have fully developed spurs by the time they are 3 months old. Others may take as long as 8 or 9 months before a functional spur develops fully. Spurs continue to grow as your bird ages, so an older rooster may have significantly longer spurs than a young rooster.
Adult roosters use spurs as weapons against potential predators as well as other roosters. In a domesticated world, spurs often are considered a nuisance because a rooster with spurs may purposely injure pets, other birds or even humans, and inflict significant damage. Many chicken owners have their rooster's spurs trimmed down periodically by the veterinarian or even removed, so that the rooster cannot cause accidental or intentional injury.
According to Ohio State University, it is easiest to remove your cockerels spurs before they are fully developed. Your veterinarian can use a procedure, called electrocautery, to prevent the spur from ever developing. Your veterinarian also can remove a fully grown rooster's spurs by amputating the bony growth at the leg. You should never attempt to remove your rooster's spurs on your own. This is a process that should be attempted only by your veterinarian.
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Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.