2 1/2 week old chick with cross beak

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chicktwins, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. chicktwins

    chicktwins Chirping

    May 5, 2011
    Eastern Shore
    I have a 2 1/2 week old buff laced polish with cross beak. It was not evident at even a week old, then around 10 days I began to notice a slight misalignment. In the last 3-4 days the top part of the beak has started growing so much that it is now pushing the bottom part even more to the side. I read in another post a week or so ago that the beak could be trimmed to help with this malformation. The chick is continuing to eat and drink and is thriving and growing at the same pace as the others so far, however, I feel at this point that if I don't try to trim it she may not continue to do so well. At the rate it is growing it is more than likely going to become a much bigger problem than it needs to be if I can trim it and keep it trimmed. Could someone with experience in trimming beaks or cross beak trimming please explain to me how to perform this task. This is my first chicken venture and I would like to do as much good as possible. I do realize that my efforts may still result in her being unable to survive with this problem but I would rather try than just let nature take it course. I would appreciate any helpful suggestions. Thanks in advance for your advice!!

  2. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Songster

    Thanks for giving this chickie a try. [​IMG]

    It's pretty simple really. You could use an emery board or one of those electric Pedi-Paws/dremmel type tool. We prefer the tool because it's quicker for everyone. And if you're needing to shape, a dremmel tool would be easier than a board but whatever you're comfortable with.

    For us it's a two person job, one hold the chicken, the trimmer holds the chicken's head still with one hand and trims with the other. It's much like shaping your own nails. And like with dogs nails, there is a blood vessel rich quick you could nip so have corn starch or QuikStop septic powder handy. Eventually, you'll get the hang of how much to take off.

    If the beak is growing in a manner that it causes the other beak to misaligned, of course, that's the part you want to shave down. Also, if the tips of her beak doesn't sit one on top of the other, you'll need to keep the them trimmed to a usable length. A lot of times crossbeaks would be fine if their beaks were just kept shorter. So plan on having a regular trimming schedule. We have to trim our EE roo weekly. He's 17 weeks old and one of the coolest birds ever! Such a character. [​IMG]

    Good luck!

    PS. If you use a dremmel tool, be careful not to hit the bottom beak/tongue. You can buy a smaller head and/or stick your pinky across her mouth to keep the beaks separated. You'll need to do this if you're going to shape the side of the upper beak.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  3. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Songster

    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    I also had a cross beaked buff laced Polish this spring, but I did not trim its beak until it was 10 weeks old. It was too late by then, so I would highly suggest that you trim the beak NOW!
    I used a finger nail clipper to take off a little bit of the top beak, then used a dremel tool to file it down more. You have to be careful that you don't trim too far back or you'll cut the blood vessel that's there.
    The "alive" part of the beak should have a slightly pink hue to it, compared to the white "tip".
    The other thing that helps with cross beaks is to have a deep food dish, as they have to "scoop" up the food more. My little Polish girl, "Chickadee", would get food and water plastered all over her face, beak and crest, and seemed to be doing just fine until one morning I found her very weak. Her upper beak had obviously grown too much and prevented her from eating.

    I hope you have better results with your "girl". There are lots of other people on here who do have cross beaks that survive.
  4. chicktwins

    chicktwins Chirping

    May 5, 2011
    Eastern Shore
    Thanks for the encouraging messages. She is soo sweet. We call her Cross for obvious reasons. She looks up at us from the brooder with such a cute little look on her face. I really hope this helps and she is able to live a long life with us. [​IMG]
  5. hokankai

    hokankai Songster

    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    I'm a little worried about when your cross beak started to develop. Mine started the same age, and at 7 weeks he now looks like this:


    Trimming is no longer an option for us (obviously) it doesn't do anything. We're going on a day-by-day basis for ours. I developed a feeder where he could eat, but it still takes him all day to fill his crop. Once he goes to bed with an empty crop he'll be culled [​IMG]

    I hope this doesn't happen to yours, but considering that it's developing before the chick's growth spurt....my fingers are crossed for you!
  6. chicktwins

    chicktwins Chirping

    May 5, 2011
    Eastern Shore
    Yeah I know what you mean. I don't really understand why it took so long to develop but it almost seems that the top beak is what is causing the bottom to be pushed to the side.
    I have kept a very close eye on her since I first noticed the problem and I haven't been able to dremel sp? it yet but my neighbor has agreed to help me so hopefully this weekend we can get our schedules to work out so she can help me. I am keeping my fingers crossed that by trimming back the top beak the bottom will realign. Even if its something we have to do often, we will if it helps. I am sorry about your chickie. [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by