Chickens do have toes, yes. Most breeds have 4 toes, although there are some breeds that have five. They also have claws on the ends of their toes which they use to scratch around, climb, and roost.
Do All Chickens Have 4 Toes?
No, there are actually some breeds of chicken that have 5 toes. There are also some birds that have 3 toes, and some with 2!
The breeds of chicken that have 5 toes are:
- Silkie Bantam (non-bearded)
The extra toe these breeds have is generally located higher up than their first toe (the hallux) and faces upwards.
It doesn’t actually touch the ground or serve any functional purpose. It’s not known exactly why they have this extra digit, it’s just one of those things.
What Type of Feet Do Chickens Have?
Chicken’s feet are actually very complex structures cleverly designed to help them do a number of things.
To simplify the design of their feet, if I were to describe it to you, they have; 4 toes spread out to help them balance, some webbing for extra balance and to help them swim (yes, chickens can swim), and a claw (sharp nail) on the end of their toes.
Roosters have spurs too, which look a little like an extra digit and sticks out on the back of their legs.
Sometimes hens grow spurs too, but I won’t further complicate matters by going into that right now.
Related – Do all roosters have spurs?
What Do Chickens Use Their Feet, Toes, and Claws for?
Like a lot of animals, without hands and the high level of dexterity we have, they use their feet for a lot of things.
Here are some of the things chickens do with their feet and claws:
Walking – This is an obvious one, but chickens are on their feet most of the day walking around. And running for that matter, chickens are pretty quick – and hard to get a hold of when they’re trying to escape.
Scratching – They use their claws to scratch around for insects, grit, and grubs. This is when you realize how sharp their claws are.
Holding – Ever seen a chicken playing with their prey like a worm? They’ll pin it down with their feet.
Digging – They love a good dig, especially if they’re making a nice dust bath. Chickens can easily dig up a load of loose dirt.
Roosting – Roosting up high is important for chickens, and a good solid grip makes that happen. In their coop, you should provide a roosting bar, and in the wild, they would take to the trees.
In Summary – Do Chickens Have Toes or Claws?
There is no doubt that chickens have toes. In fact, most breeds have 4, and some even have 5.
It will also come as no surprise too that their toes are pretty important to them and help them go about their day!
Image credits – Header image by Online Raptor and chicken feet image by Monika Kubala on Unsplash