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scissor beak

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

One of my chicks has scissorbeak what should i do? it is eating and drinking fine but its beak is messed up

post #2 of 16

How old is your chick? As she grows she might need deeper dishes in order to be able to pick up her food. When you feed her anything other than chick crumbles you need to sprinkle grit on top her food frequently so she can pick it up. When I feed mine things like watermelon or tomato I cut it up into little chunks she can pick up. You can keep her beak trimmed regularly to keep the top from hooking over too badly. In bright light you can see where the blood supply starts and avoid cutting into it. Good luck and welcome-byc

im in ur yrd peckn ur wrmz
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im in ur yrd peckn ur wrmz
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post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

my chick is 4 weeks old it is a lavender EE it is eating/drinking fine but i feel bad for him/her sad

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

ohhh and do i just file the beak if it becomes too bad

post #5 of 16

It's up to you.  A lot of people will kill cross-beaked chicks, especially if they are less than 6-8 weeks when it first appears, because it almost always gets worse (much worse) and they may end up bad enough to be unable to eat.  Some cross-beaked chickens seem to do ok as chicks, but once they start laying eggs they aren't able to take in enough food to produce eggs and survive at the same time so they essentially starve to death.  At the very least, a cross beaked chicken will need a little special care in providing deep feeders/bowls and making sure that there are plenty of feeding stations that they can have access to.  Many cross beaked chickens will need their beak trimmed on a regular schedule because the misalignment of the beaks prevents them from being able to keep the beak worn down and if it becomes too overgrown it can impede their already limited ability to eat and could potentially become caught on something.  If you are unable or unwilling to provide the extra care that a chick with this deformity has then it would be far kinder to kill it now rather than wait for it to starve to death later.


This is "Buffy the Egglayer" (DH wanted to call her "Buffy the Chickenslayer" but I vetoed him) my cross beak EE at a week old, just a few days after I noticed her beak didn't quite look right:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/52978_72710buffyxbeak2.jpg
from the top

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/52978_72710buffyxbeak.jpg
from straight on

And this is her at about 5 months this past December:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/52978_buffydec52010.jpg

I keep several milk jug feeders that are deep enough for her to scoop up food in the run.  She can't eat most of the treats I offer the girls because she can't pick things up, although she sure does try, but she can manage to eat treats like oatmeal or leftover soup if they are in a deep dish.  We try to weigh her once a week to keep an eye on her weight to make sure she isn't loosing ground and at that time I use a q-tip to clean accumulated gunk out of her beak (mostly her upper beak, but also her lower too once in a while).  Whenever we weigh her I check her beak to make sure that it isn't getting too long and we trim it back about once every 3 weeks or so.  I use a dremmel and grind the beak back to a more "normal" length/shape.  Grinding is better than clipping with nail cutters or other cutting tools because, unlike clippers, the dremmel will not cause the beak to split as you are trimming it back.  The dremmel also rotates fast enough to cauterize any bleeding that occurs if you accidentally take the beak back a little too far.

We did consider culling Buffy when she was a chick, especially after reading that cross-beak often doesn't show up until 6-8 weeks and when it is present before then it is almost always very severe.  But she was getting along eating and drinking just fine and the other chicks weren't picking on her.  So I decided that as long as she didn't require a lot of extra care (the weekly maintenance I do for her takes about 5-10 minutes tops, 15 minutes if I have to trim her beak) and was able to grow/maintain her weight I would let her go and see how she did.  I planned to put her down if she failed to thrive and I was very nervous as she approached POL.  But she's been laying for almost 2 months now and while she is skinny the weekly weight checks prove that she is maintaining her weight even while producing eggs.

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

thank you for telling me this is our first time having chicks i am just wondering what causes scissor beak? i think she/he is a rooster and i cant have roosters where i live but i hope that it is a hen if it is a hen i will do my best to care for her but if its a rooster the people we bought our chickens from said if we get a rooster they will swap it out and give us a hen

post #7 of 16

They take a little extra attention but mine has been laying as well and is quite fat. I do use toenail clippers as I just take a little off each edge and the tip so not much chance of splitting her beak with the small amounts I take. As far as I know scissor beak is genetic so you wouldn't want to breed a chicken that has it.

im in ur yrd peckn ur wrmz
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im in ur yrd peckn ur wrmz
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post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

ok thanks for the reply

post #9 of 16

One of mine has that and she does just fine, she eats and drinks out of the reg chicken feeders, Ive never had to do anything special for her.

post #10 of 16

I have a scissor beak and what a relief to hear some of this advice! Ugg is quite cross breaked and is around 7 weeks old and I do hear alot of people cull the chicken but I haven't the slightest idea how to kill a chicken nor could I.

Heather~~
My only child is a Corporal in the Marines,10 birds, 3 dogs, and one very understanding husband. Empty nest? Not hardly!

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Heather~~
My only child is a Corporal in the Marines,10 birds, 3 dogs, and one very understanding husband. Empty nest? Not hardly!

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