Chick with scissor beak - advise needed


11 Years
Aug 31, 2011
Hello, I have three new chicks who are about 4 weeks old. One, a silkie seems to have a scissor beak. I read if it is "not serious" they can usually be fine, just smaller and fewer eggs, which doesn't bother me.

I'm trying to figure out what counts as not serious though. So far she seems active and healthy. The other two are a RIR and a Barred Rock so she is much smaller then them, but I'm not sure if that is just being a silkie or if she is suffering. I'm hoping for some advise on what to look for, any special care I should give her, etc.
That's a very substantial scissor beak and isn't a non-issue.
You're likely going to need to feed this chick wet mash for the rest of it's life. Vitamin drops will help too. You will probably want nipple waterers for your flock so it can drink easier.
You may have to watch that upper beak, it looks like it's already starting to wildly outgrow the lower. You may need to keep it trimmed. You may also have to work to keep it's face clean.

(Resource on basics of scissor beak care:

In my experience scissor beak gets worse as chicks age. This is fairly bad already. If it doesn't advance further and it eats well it should be OK with a little TLC on the regular. (think daily for specialized food/watering, and every few days for a few minutes to clean/check the bird. Idk how often you'd have to file the beak.) If it gets worse I would consider putting it down as eating and drinking will be a struggle. If it was mine I would have done so already, but my chickens are less pets more livestock and a chick like this will struggle under normal flock dynamics without that extra care. Since mine are livestock, that extra care is more than I'm willing to do for a chick that won't be part of my breeding flock anyhow.
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I have one that I care for with almost as bad a beak. It can eat crumbles and drinks out of either the nipple waterers or the deep floor waterer. I have a hanging rabbit feeder for it that is deeper and allows for scooping. It gets plenty of food on its own with these small changes.

It does require a little extra time because it can't groom properly with the crossbeak, thought it does try. I have to file its beak back about every 2 weeks or so. And about the same time it gets a bath. It actually seems to like the water. I regularly check it for mites and other parasites since it has a harder time keeping them off. So far so good *fingers crossed*.

Mine does seem to be a bit stunted but it's got a healthy weight. As far as flock dynamics go, mine manages well in a mixed flock coop despite being a bantam and a crossbeak. But, as the post above me said, you have to ask yourself how much care you are willing to provide it. Freebie, my cross-beak is a pet. It will require care its entire life and will likely not provide as much return as the others but it is sweet as pie and thriving.

This first pic is Freebie about a month and a half ago when I got him (my husband came home from the feed store with a "free chicken" he was told was "fixable")
The next picture was after a bath and the first beak trim and file (Freebie much prefers the file)

And the last one is Freebie in its favorite spot on the hanging feeder.

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