Leo gets a pedicure
This morning after breakfast, Naomi gave Leo a pedicure. Leo has had some foot problems that we’ve tried to alleviate by several means. His style of jumping off things (benches, the deck, stumps, our laps) with a big bouncing leap seems to make him susceptible to little cuts or punctures when he lands on something sharp. Last week I bought a couple tons of rounded stream gravel, and spread it on top of the existing crushed rock, in areas where the chickens most often jump down from something. We also got some topical medicine from our vet, Dr. Fuller. And we’re paying more attention to maintaining Leo’s toenails and the scaly callused spots on some of his toes. Because of the tender toes, Leo tends to walk on his heels and not wear down his toenails quite enough. Naomi also wanted to remove sharp edges or points that seem to hurt some of the hens when Leo mounts them.
She started with a drugstore nail file, which does the job, but it’s awfully slow for bigger projects such as Leo’s overgrown spurs. I couldn’t get any very good shots with my smartphone, but these might give the idea.
One nice feature of a true lap chicken is that it’s quite easy to give them this kind of care. He’s so relaxed and trusting that in about 40 minutes of pedicure work, Leo didn’t struggle or protest for even a second. Somehow he understands that there’s nothing to fear. He’s used to sleeping in this lap position, so even if it looks as if Naomi is restraining him with her arm, she’s not.
After a while, I set up our little Dremel rotary tool with a small grindstone bit. Naomi tried it at low to medium speed at first, and the vibrations seemed to be ticklish, making Leo’s foot twitch. Still, he didn’t struggle or complain. A higher speed eliminated the tickle, but then the machine makes a noisy whine. Still no fuss from Leo.
We can’t say how much of Leo’s calm, trusting nature is an inherent aspect of his personality, and how much comes from his lifetime with us – probably some of both.
Naomi did such a careful job; now Leo’s nails look quite classy and smooth.