What are these nodules on chicken feet?

Reader Sher Yen Wee found these nodules on all the chicken feet she bought from a supermarket.
Reader Sher Yen Wee found these nodules on all the chicken feet she bought from a supermarket. PHOTO: SHER YEN WEE

Ms Sher Yen Wee sent in a photograph of chicken feet she had purchased from FairPrice and asked: "Can you find out what are these nodules that are found on all the chicken feet? They are more or less in the same area, too. All the chicken feet in the box had them." Environment reporter Audrey Tan found the answer.

The nodules seen on the chicken feet are likely the region where bony projections called metatarsal spurs grow out from.

National University of Singapore bird researcher David Tan said chickens use these spurs for self-defence and aggression.

In roosters, this spur can grow to up to several inches, said Mr Tan.

Hens usually have shorter spurs, although they can grow to "impressive lengths" in some breeds.

"All chickens have them but, in different breeds, they will look slightly different," said Mr Tan.

Some farmers may trim or cut these off to ensure the chickens do not accidentally injure one another.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 06, 2016, with the headline 'What are these nodules on chicken feet?'. Print Edition | Subscribe