Beak problem on hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by familypendragon, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. I have a sweet pet Kraienkoppe who is almost at POL. When she was 2 weeks old Ripley got attacked by our dog and our cat and survived. I cared for her and she recovered from a lame leg and scratched face. One eye eventually went white, sunk in and she doesn't use it. She is my little pirate chicken :) She is so sweet, loves to be pet and held, pretends to groom my hair and lowers her head for me to kiss it till she falls asleep. I want to take the best care of her I can. I recently noticed that the top part of her beak is getting really long and hook like. It is starting to force her bottom jaw sideways into a cross beak. She can still eat and drink, but it doesn't look pleasant to me. I feel like I should trim her beak but I don't want to hurt her. I read that its cruel and painful and I don't want to be that. I just want to help - but not if the cure is worse than ailment. The "hook" currently extends way past and under the bottom beak. Any recommendations on how or if I should attempt to trim it? Her beak is a dark "horn" color.

    Please don't flame me if you think this is a bad idea - I am just asking because I don't know.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    The cure is absolutely not worse than the condition. Trimming a beak is nothing worse than trimming a dog's toenails. Just as a toenail has a 'quick', so does a beak. The idea is to trim back to but not into the quick. If trimmed on a routine basis, the quick can be forced back to a certain degree. If I were to work on your bird, I would have someone hold her firmly but gently on her back. Open her mouth and locate just how far the quick extends and then trim back to this point with a pair of dog toenail clippers. If you happen to trim into the quick there will be some bleeding which can be stopped with a styptic pencil. In any case as Mom used to say, "It's a long way from her heart".
    1 person likes this.
  3. appps

    appps Crowing

    Aug 29, 2012
    When they talk about beak trimming being cruel they are referring to the practice of cutting off a large portion of the beak so birds don't peck each other in cramped conditions. Totally different to what you want to do.

    We have a cross beaked bird and I have to regularly trim back the hook part so she can eat properly. Just go slowly a bit at a time. Just like a pets toenail it will bleed when you hit the vein so a little at a time makes that less likely.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Thanks for your help! Looking inside her beak, what identifies the quick ? I am especially concerned because her beak is dark.
  5. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    It can be difficult to actually see the quick, especially in dark-beaked birds. Often times, there is a lighter-colored portion of the beak (usually the overgrown part); that is the part that doesn't have a blood supply yet. However, that is not always the case. I would just slowly trim small portions away, stopping if it begins to bleed too much. In that case, stop the bleeding with styptic powder, cornstarch, or flour, and wait a few days before proceeding to give the quick time to recede. Its much easier than it sounds to trim the beak, though some birds can put up quite a fight if they don't like their heads being held still.
  6. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    I definitely recommend trimming the beak. Otherwise, her beak will only get worse. Trimming beaks is easier than it sounds. Just get some human nail trimmers, and trim the beak back to its normal length. If you're not sure where the quick is, trim only a little at a time. As Bantamlover21 said, the quick is often a little lighter than the other part of the beak. I've never trimmed too far into the quick when trimming my bird's beaks. It is easier if someone else holds the bird, as most chickens don't like their beaks being trimmmed.

    Hope this helps!
  7. buckaroogirl

    buckaroogirl In the Brooder

    May 27, 2013
    I use a dremmel, works awesome! I think safer than using cutters.
  8. Ah she is such a doll. I just sat her down on my lap, talked to her, got her to lay her head on my leg and she just laid there and let me trim it with a pair of nail trimmers. Didn't move a muscle and actually seemed to appreciate the primping from her momma :D Looks like its much easier for her to eat now, although I'd like to trim just a little more in a couple weeks if it looks safe.

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