Caring for chickens with filed beaks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JackieK318, May 19, 2008.

  1. JackieK318

    JackieK318 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2007
    Missouri
    The Humane Society called and they have three hens with filed beaks. They're sexlinks, thin and bare backed (roosters giving too much love). The Humane Society said they will need some extra care to make sure they're eating and worming them. What sort of extra care should I expect? I just want to know what I am getting into before I adopt chickens without knowing what they need.
     
  2. chickbea

    chickbea Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2007
    Vermont
    Yay for you for adopting these birds in need!
    Have you actually seen them? If their beaks are just filed a bit, they will eventually grow back. However, if they have been clipped or seared off, the hens will have life-long issues.
    If you do a search on here there are a couple of old threads about clipped beaks, and many of them have pictures.
    The biggest thing to remember is to give them a dish that is deep enough to drink out of, and they have to sort of scoop up the food with their lower beaks as opposed to pecking and picking it up. If you have other birds, you may need to let the special ones have a little bit of alone time at the feeder.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    By 'filed beaks', you mean like debeaked?

    I have 2 that came to me that way, and they really do quite well provided their food is in a respectably deep layer in a dish not in a single-crumble layer on a hard surface (since the tips of the beak don't meet, they can't use them like tweezers, they have to plunge them *into* the dish of food to get some, does that make any sense?) Mine do ok picking edible items from the lawn too as long as it is a grassy or soft-earth surface. I give mine crumbles, btw, dunno whether it would be the same with mash or pellets. Otherwise they really haven't needed any special care. I would not hesitate to adopt them just because of the beaks.


    Pat
     
  4. warren

    warren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I took on two like that.
    The worst one's upper beak was about 0.25" shorter than the lower half.
    She was an excellent layer and even managed to pull out feathers from the other hen when she was in a bad mood, so she coped very well.
     
  5. MaryT

    MaryT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2008
    Elkton
    I hope you adopt them and give them a good caring home!!!
     
  6. holliewould

    holliewould Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Planet Earth
    Are chickens so bad they have to debeak them? I don't get it. I saw the other day online some battery hens with half a top beak. Insane. Does it hurt the bird to do this? No wonder they're thin. They prolly can't mill around like a regular bird. How do they peck off leafs and such?
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Chickens *will*, in fact, severely injure or kill each other if crowded or if one of them is injured. That is normal chicken behavior. They are a lot more closely related to, like, Velociraptors than we might like to think [​IMG]

    There is reasonable evidence that it does hurt. OTOH so does getting your entrails pecked out. I detest that people are so cheap with their food dollar, and so intent on spending money on other More Important things like fancy clothes every year and cell phones and potato chips that they quote can't unquote afford to pay more for meat raised more humanely... BUT, personally, if chickens are *going* to be raised in unhappy crowds, I think best they be debeaked to at least limit further damage and pain.

    They can still take bites of leaves and stuff, their beaks just aren't pointy and don't meet at the tip (different lengths). As I say, I have 2 (used to be 3) that came to me debeaked, and honestly they seem pretty happy and do pretty much anything that a normal chicken can. So I think some of the horribleness is more in the eye of the beholder.

    Pat
     
  8. JackieK318

    JackieK318 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2007
    Missouri
    Quote:I'm mainly worried because the lady on the phone from the Humane Society said I might need to watch them with other birds, like if they get picked on. I hope they can hold their own. She didn't say they were debeaked, just filed. Also, she didn't say how much they were filed. She said they are eating now on their own, but just said that if they get too thin, I would have to help them.

    I currently feed my girls pellets, but would switch to crumbles if that's what's needed. If these girls are thin, should I get them on starter for a few weeks to get them back into a healthy weight?

    I have not seen them yet and would probably go this weekend as the ranch is about 40 minutes on back roads (that wind too - [​IMG]).
     
  9. morelcabin

    morelcabin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    All RTL hens here that come from the hatchery are debeaked. If you order as chicks they are not unless you ask for it...so I have always had a mixed flock of both. I have never encountered any problems over it, they are just as healthy and don't seem to get picked on or be lower on the pecking order...Your birds will be fine, and if they are underweight it isn't because of thier beaks:>)
     
  10. warren

    warren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jackie just go ahead and don't worry. My two were so pleased when they saw my garden that they spent all day pecking about.
    The biggest bully was the one with the worst beak, and she was much smaller than the other.
    I would however suggest quarantine for a few weeks until you know what passengers they may be carrying. Mine had lice, which I quickly dealt with. This will give you time to assess how they are getting on and for them to settle in.
     

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