Cross-beaked cockerel can't eat at all--very weak

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by hensnchix, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. hensnchix

    hensnchix In the Brooder

    Jun 12, 2007
    Hi all, My very dear cross-beaked cockerel (7 months old) can no longer eat. I thought he was eating all last week, although he seemed more hungry than normal, but yesterday and this morning I found him lying on the bottom of the coop, unable to get up. When I picked him up, I realized he was much thinner than before...[​IMG]

    I trimmed the very bottom of his beak, which doesn't seem to be helping a lot.I've been putting Ensure in his mouth with a dropper and have offered him Critical Care, mixed with baby food. He attacks that, but I'm not sure much is actually getting swallowed. Has barely pooped since 9 am.

    For tonight, I'm going to keep him inside, maybe with a heat lamp. I'm trying to find an avian vet who could see him tomorrow and maybe do more trimming/filing on that upper beak. Any other thoughts? I'm new to chickens and so don't know how to care for them when they're this sick.

    We hate to lose him as he's a family pet at this point--very tame, very sweet, very comical.

  2. BlueMoon

    BlueMoon Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    Scenic Verbank, NY
    We had a rooster with a cross beak - Theo. Theo could eat, but was always hungry, like he could never get enough to eat. We clipped both the top and bottom beak with dog nail clippers, but it would grow back.
    In July, we took more drastic measures and cut the beak into the quick, as instructed in one of the Storey chicken books. We then scored the beak to stop the bleeding.
    Now, we first tried scoring it with a cigarette lighter from a car, but ours simply didn't get hot enough. We ended up using a spackle blade heated to as hot as possible with a propane torch. It wasn't fun for any of us, but his beak is slow to grow back and he's eating well.

    This being written, I don't know if your rooster is too weak to survive something like this. I recall reading about being careful when force feeding (wrong way down could do serious damage, right?). Have you tried giving him some treats like yogurt or chopped meat? Is he at least drinking?

    Good luck with him
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
  3. hensnchix

    hensnchix In the Brooder

    Jun 12, 2007
    He's not drinking on his own, although I'm dropping water and pedialyte into his mouth every hour or so. (It's not easy getting water into a cross-beaked mouth, I'm finding, but I'm still trying.) I've also offered him baby food, Critical Care, and layer's pellets in a mash. I'm just not sure how much he's actually swallowing.

    He did coo while settling down to sleep tonight, which is the first noise he's made all day. (This roo being quiet is a true sign of illness--he's a very talkative boy.)

    I realized also that on Thursday night he got wet and cold during the first Pacific storm to blow through California. Our hutch wasn't designed to withstand gusting rain and all the chickens got wet. I wrapped up the coop with tarps after that, but I'm wondering if the exposure, on top of being malnourished, has just been too much for him.

    I'll get him to a vet ASAP tomorrow. Will any avian vet do? Not sure there's actually a "chicken vet" in our urban area...

  4. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    very sorry for your little guy...

    here is a quote from a thread "Bantam Hen with weak legs"..farther down the page. the hen was very weak, most likely due to malnourishment..the quote is by dlhunicorn..maybe some of of the suggestions will help your roo..

    are you using deep feeders for him?
    if might want to try that since he can't "scoop" properly from a regular feeder or waterer. (don't know if that would help if his beak is so bad.)
    fingers crossed for him.

    "there might be a couple things going on but in my opinion it has been instigated by improper nutrition and severely so. When birds are severely stressed or challenged by disease or parasites or improper nutrition, malabsorption will occur (meaning even if you do give the proper feed and the bird eats enough it will have problems absorbing/utilizing the nutrition from the feed).
    I suggest you bring the bird into a temp stable environment (warm if your weather is cold) and immediately start a complete supplement such as aviacharge 2000 (approved for organic certified and formulated according to the NRC recomendations >you can order online from McMurray or Strombergs) which you can mix into some cooked oatmeal (human type>mix just enough into feed to make it clump together) and if I were you I would crush a tum and add that to it too (as it contains the right type of easily absorbed calcium... add it every other day for a week) mix that with layer feed (cornell study shows that oatmeal helps digestion and calcium in particular)... offer a good quality live culture yogurt (unflavored and without sugar) free choice in addition to this. This is a very minimal supportive measure but one that is very necessary in the case that the leg problem has arisen from severe lack of calcium and improper nutrition (which I believe might just be the problem)... by separating her you can also observe her easily and monitor her progress and any secondary complications.
    You can also immediately give her three drops of POLYVISOL (this is liquid childrens A-B-D vitamins)into beak once a day for a week in addition to the above. Do NOT give milk as this will irritate the intestines and a few other things which is not good for the bird (do a search in the FEED forum on milk...all the info re this is there) and only make things worse.
    Since she cant get around too well you need to ensure she drinks sufficiently too and does mot get dehydrated...if you suspect she might have drunk insufficiently you can add an electr/vit mixture to her waterer for a couple days such as DURVET"
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2008
  5. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    You can use baby bird handfeeding formula to get the nutrition into him...It's wet and warm and full of vitamins and minerals...
    You need to cut the beak back so that it can meet up better...Use deep dishes so that he can shovel the food into his mouth.
  6. hensnchix

    hensnchix In the Brooder

    Jun 12, 2007
    Hi all, My little rooster made it through the night (I had my doubts), and I took him to a vet this AM. She gave him fluids and put food in his crop and shaped his beak slightly. Her feeling, though, is that it's not likely he can eat enough to support himself in the long run.

    We've been feeding him mash in a deep dish all along and will continue to do so if he recovers. I've also ordered the items suggested in the posts and will keep him inside for now to get him stabilized. The best case scenario (in my mind) is that it was the weekend storm that pushed him over the edge and that we can coax him back into moderately good health with TLC. We'll just have to wait and see.

    Poor guy. [​IMG]

  7. sheridangirl

    sheridangirl In the Brooder

    Jan 5, 2008
    Campo, CA
    Just an fyi if you need to trim a beak again.
    I have a pigeon (Gonzo) with a scizzor beak and a hook on the end. I have recently been triming it back a little at a time to see if I can get to to straighten out.
    If you get bleeding when you trim the beak, take a piece of Ivory bar soap and hold it on the bleed. It acts as a coagulant and will stop the bleeding. It will also disinfect the cut area.
    Good luck with your roo.

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