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Feeding a Cross Beaked Hen?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have a crossed beak hen, and she cannot eat normal chicken food well, even crumbles. I have been hand feeding her half a hard boiled egg, a strawberry, moistened crutons(her least favorite part) and letuce and tomato every morning. I know she needs calcium too, but she can't eat the oyster shell like the others. Is there anything else I can give her for carbs and calcium? I keep her beak trimmed to a decent length, and it helps some. She is a sweet girl, and lays almost daily when she is getting enough.

post #2 of 6

I think it is highly situational and will depend on each bird, but I have seem people who successfully offer moistened "normal" feed for their cross beaks.  Either just softened with water before feeding time, or fermented feed.  It will also depend on if you have other aggressive birds who would eat all the soft food before she can get her share. 


Also, if you go with the wet food, you could do the calculating to decide how much powdered calcium to add each day.

Edited by paneubert - 5/5/16 at 10:00am
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Tried the wetted/fermented feed in all different consistencies. Forgot to mention that. She wouldnt go near it. She is separated for feeding.
post #4 of 6

Does she attempt to eat crumbles?  You could try to trick her by wetting/fermenting and then sprinkling with crumbles until she is used to eating fermented/wetted?  Other than that, I got nothin'.  Other than the idea to add powdered calcium to your egg, a strawberry, moistened croutons, etc.... meals.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
She did, untill I started giving her the good stuff. I hadnt thought of putting powdered calcium on the rest of it! I will start putting it on her strawberries!
post #6 of 6

Like paneubert said, it's highly situational. How extreme of measures do you want to go? Tube feeding?


We have had a couple cross-beaks and regardless of the types of feed and feeding methods we tried, both were undernourished and always at the feeder trying to eat. We didn't believe in tube feeding. In the end for both of them, we decided the most humane thing was to put them down. I think it depends a lot on the severity of the cross beak. In both our cases, the cross was mild at first, but as they grew older it got more and more pronounced. They were losing weight each day...slowly starving to death. It was sad to put them down but not as sad to seem them slowly starve to death.


There is quite the lengthy thread on BYC on cross-beaks, I think it is "diary of a cross-beak" or something like that.

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