My Cross beak experience.
I wanted Sultans for a while, every since I got interested in weird chicken breeds anyway! So I finally found and ordered 6 Sultan eggs. The first chick to hatch was a cross beak. 4 out of 6 eggs hatched, which is pretty darned good for shipped eggs. But Because I only had 4 chicks I decided not to cull the cross beak (who is named CB). 2 of the chicks were weak and were brought back in for a while, but CB grew like a little weed. He was the biggest of the 4 and seemed to be the strongest. 1 of the weak chicks did not make it sadly, the other weak chick was always behind, always a small little thing but very friendly. I let them free range and due to its size I think a hawk got it. So then I was down to only 2. My CB and another.
CB was doing ok, he was large in size but a little skinny. Then (there's always a then) I added a adult flock of 6 sultans. Little did my chicken noobness know they carried mites and worms. I watched CB hedge his way into the older flock and then noticed he's pretty dirty. CB is a friendly guy, he never meets a stranger and loves people. Well, his dirt was mites and their mite nests, eggs or whatever. Treating with ivermectin paste showed the worms (eww). CB was pretty infested by this time and since he can't preen he was looking bad and getting weaker and weaker. The perches under my young chickens was free of worms but they adults were full, but thankfully I think I might have caught that before CB got worms. I'm sure in his state it would have killed him, the mites sure put a hurt on the poor thing.
Well..after multiple types of treatments I think the mites are gone or on their way out the door rapidly but I'm now left with a very skinny CB who weighs less than 1lb and is a standard sized Sultan! I'm pretty sure he was starving to death so I discussed with my husband culling him. Before everyone freaks out, it was thought out carefully. We have experience with crop feeding ornamental pet birds, we know how much time it takes and what stress it causes the birds. We decided we would not subject CB to that. We loved how he was, so friendly and coming to visit me on the deck for pets and following like a puppy no matter where I went.
This evening sitting out near the chicken coop while everyone is getting ready to go back in for the night to roost, CB came up and sat in my lap, then cuddled with me. He's friendly but never THIS friendly. I felt (yeah this is crazy) that he was saying to me not to give up on him. So I started thinking about it and I know it's cruel and many, many, x1000 will not agree with it(and I do not either) but I thought about debeaking. CB is severly cross beaked. He's been sneezy lately because he's having to dip so far into his water just to drink. He couldn't carry on like this. His cross beak is so severe it has one nostril blocked.
Well, we did it. My husband took a dremel and a soldering iron to cauterize because we knew we would have to go high. CB came thru it like a trooper but I do wish I had researched it better. He went to roost for the first time since he was a chick with a full crop. He had mealworms cushioned on scratch, and if this was his last meal he will die a happy chicken.
CB is not a breeder, due to his cross beak and lack of 5th toe. He is a pet and always, I love him dearly and think I have done the best I can for him.
*edit profile pic is CB right out of the egg.
this is from a few weeks ago. If he makes it I'll take pictures of him showing the new debeaked CB.
Edited by yellowherb - 11/6/15 at 7:38pm