Chick's Bottom Beak Sticking Out

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Jane Jill Jack, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. Jane Jill Jack

    Jane Jill Jack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 8, 2010
    I have a chicken that has an oddly growing beak, where the bottom part is growing faster than the top, and now is sticking out about a fourth of an inch more than in should. The chick can't close its mouth, and so she has a harder time eating, and part of it is always covered in dust. I tried trimming with a dremmel, but almost instanly it started bleeding. Should I continue trimming, or just leave the beak the way it is? Thanks.
     
  2. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sounds like you have a chick with cross beak (genetic deformity). Keeping it trim and making sure she can eat is about all you can do. Unfortunately, as they grow the divide between the two beaks gets wider and they are unable to feed themselves. Most of the time people end up culling crossbeaks. Some chickens do go on to live normal lives, it all depends on how their beak is growing.

    Try to trim it on a regular basis and stop just before it bleeds. But basically, you're looking at a life long (depending on how long that is) maintenance for this bird.

    Making sure they have a deep dish of food is helpful so they can scoop food into their mouths, rather than peck and gulp.

    Good luck! There are lots of people on BYC that have a crossbeak in their flock and many are success stories as well.
     
  3. emrldgrn1

    emrldgrn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ReikiStar is right on the money. I have raised a few cross beaks that i got from a hatchery. They did ok for them selves as long as i kept the beak trimmed and ample food. I gave them away as a pet to someone after making sure they understood the special needs and considerations for a cross beak bird. [​IMG] I hope yours does as well as mine! Good luck.
     
  4. Jane Jill Jack

    Jane Jill Jack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the replies. I guess I'll just keep trimming her beak a little every few weeks or so, and keep the feed dish full. It's too bad the bottom part will continue to grow faster, but I don't mind the extra work so much. She is such a nice hen. Does this happen often to hatchery chicks? Thanks again.
     
  5. emrldgrn1

    emrldgrn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got two cross beaks in my last order of ten from a hatchery. I think thats alot for one small order. I had an order about the same size about five years ago with no cross beaks. Im curious as to the actual numbers of this happening also. Maybe others can post how often they see it?
     
  6. buckabucka

    buckabucka Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had 3 cross-beaks in total. Two came in my very first chicken order of 25. One never could eat well, did not grow, and died at 10 weeks. The second, we still have.

    I do NOT trim her beak. I did ONCE trim her top beak just a hair, but it was traumatic for her, so I never did it again. Early on, I used to give her moistened food. She does best with layer mash. Cross-beak is our favorite hen! She is low on the pecking order and does not hang out with the flock that much. She is the only one who flies over the fence every day, and follows us around checking up on what we are doing. Her beak does not do much damage to our garden, so we let her wander wherever she likes. She appears to be quite happy and lays a beautiful blue egg. She does spend extra time at the feeder.
    [​IMG]
    If you look carefully, you can see her cross-beak is fairly severe.

    This year, I got 3 Easter-egger chicks. It was a different hatchery, and still, one was a cross-beak! This one is a rooster though, and I plan to get rid of him.
     
  7. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Chillin' With My Peeps

    In this year's group of chicks (all hatchery born) we ended up with 2.5 cross beaks. One Mottled Houdan whom we had to cull for another reason at 6 weeks. I don't think she would have be able to survive as her beak was pretty severe for her age. One EE roo (who is one of the coolest birds ever!) he's 15 weeks now and we have to trim his beak every week. He doesn't love it but as soon as we put him back down he's off and eating, as if he's happy with his slightly shorter beak. The .5 is our sweet Favorelle who's beak is in alignment but her top beak is slightly misshapen so her bottom beak out grows it. We have to nip it every other week.

    The one thing to watch with cross beaks is LICE. Because they can't pick and preen the way normal beaks can, they can't keep parasites off them (if they get any), so a regular DE bathe might be helpful. We do a once in a while spritz with a natural enzyme spray that keeps lice off, "Poultry Protector".

    There are some lucky cross beaks that don't need their beaks trimmed. Yay for people caring for their crossbeaks! [​IMG] They almost are always the nicest birds in the flock.

    With our Houdan, I called the feed store she came from and they said a lot of those chicks turned out with crossbeaks. They came from McMurray Hatchery...the store called and them about it. Sounds like they have some bad breeding stock with the Houdans. So sad. I still miss that little girl.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  8. lowry075

    lowry075 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Hi, I would like to know how you trim the beak? I have a thread with this issue, but haven't been given instructions on how to acheive this. I am afraid of scaring my girl. There is a picture of her on my avatar thingy.
     
  9. buckabucka

    buckabucka Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've only done it once, so I'm no expert, but I bought pet nail clippers. If you look at the beak carefully, you can see the quick. You do not want to clip that far, or there will be bleeding. I just took off a very tiny amount. It would probably be a good idea to have something handy in case you accidentally hit the quick. I almost think I read on here that someone used flour to stop the bleeding (?).
    I'm sure someone else will have better instructions!
     
  10. Jane Jill Jack

    Jane Jill Jack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Buckabucka, that is a very pretty EE! My chick spends a lot more time at the feeder too, and, is one of the sweetest. ReikiStar, I never thought about parasites, and preening, I will have to check her for those too. Does Murdoch's have "Poultry Protector"?

    lowry075, I have tred trimming with a dremel, slowly grinding the edges until it started to bleed, all the while holding the head and beak firmly in my hands. She struggled some, but I still knocked a bit off. I read somewhere about putting cornstarch on to stop the bleeding.
     

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