Crossbeak cleanliness

jbake

Chirping
6 Years
May 19, 2013
65
3
91
I have this 2 month old about cross beak pullet and I've solved the not eating issue my big problem now is cleanliness after meals. This chick eats mush and I put things like veggies, some chicken food, and mackerel all mixed with water. The food gets so dry and caked on so quick while she's trying to eat that it gets crusty and I've tried vitamin e oil to take it off warm water dog shampoo and it barley works and I can't get close to her eyes where its really bad. I've tried to pick off the crusties with some tweezers but I pull her feathers and skin and it goes on for hours and I feel at a lost and she smells like yeast. Any help or tips on anything about crossbeaks is very much welcome thank you!!!
 

Cragg Klefor

Crowing
Apr 14, 2017
912
1,621
282
County Kilkenny, Ireland
I have this 2 month old about cross beak pullet and I've solved the not eating issue my big problem now is cleanliness after meals. This chick eats mush and I put things like veggies, some chicken food, and mackerel all mixed with water. The food gets so dry and caked on so quick while she's trying to eat that it gets crusty and I've tried vitamin e oil to take it off warm water dog shampoo and it barley works and I can't get close to her eyes where its really bad. I've tried to pick off the crusties with some tweezers but I pull her feathers and skin and it goes on for hours and I feel at a lost and she smells like yeast. Any help or tips on anything about crossbeaks is very much welcome thank you!!!
All I can suggest is to make her feed a little less wet. Slightly less water-so it's less sloppy but still manageable for her :idunno
 

Saaniya

Crowing
Aug 31, 2017
2,533
7,568
482
New Delhi India
I have this 2 month old about cross beak pullet and I've solved the not eating issue my big problem now is cleanliness after meals. This chick eats mush and I put things like veggies, some chicken food, and mackerel all mixed with water. The food gets so dry and caked on so quick while she's trying to eat that it gets crusty and I've tried vitamin e oil to take it off warm water dog shampoo and it barley works and I can't get close to her eyes where its really bad. I've tried to pick off the crusties with some tweezers but I pull her feathers and skin and it goes on for hours and I feel at a lost and she smells like yeast. Any help or tips on anything about crossbeaks is very much welcome thank you!!!


If you have Instagram there's a account namely @Hotofthenest she keep a healthy Crossbeak hen named crossly you should talk to her once
 

Wyorp Rock

🐓 ❤ 🐛
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 20, 2015
37,406
52,846
1,332
Southern N.C. Mountains
I have this 2 month old about cross beak pullet and I've solved the not eating issue my big problem now is cleanliness after meals. This chick eats mush and I put things like veggies, some chicken food, and mackerel all mixed with water. The food gets so dry and caked on so quick while she's trying to eat that it gets crusty and I've tried vitamin e oil to take it off warm water dog shampoo and it barley works and I can't get close to her eyes where its really bad. I've tried to pick off the crusties with some tweezers but I pull her feathers and skin and it goes on for hours and I feel at a lost and she smells like yeast. Any help or tips on anything about crossbeaks is very much welcome thank you!!!
Can you post photos?
Where are you placing the bowl that she eats out of? You can try putting the bowl chest high? That may make a difference.
Also a good suggestion by @Cragg Klefor making the mash less soupy would probably help as well.

Try to get her cleaned up the best you can and monitor her crop to make sure it's emptying in the mornings before she eats/drinks. Remember if she is getting veggies, then she needs grit to process that, so it should be provided for her.
What you need to make sure of is that it's just the dried food/mess that is smelling yeasty and that she is not developing sour crop.
 

jbake

Chirping
6 Years
May 19, 2013
65
3
91
If you have Instagram there's a account namely @Hotofthenest she keep a healthy Crossbeak hen named crossly you should talk to her once
I've seen the way she feeds crossely and my bird can't be syringe fed like that every time I try she chokes no matter how I do it slow fast on the right side or left side she ends up choking and spitting it out everywhere but I will hit her up and see if she has any ideas thank you!
 

jbake

Chirping
6 Years
May 19, 2013
65
3
91
Can you post photos?
Where are you placing the bowl that she eats out of? You can try putting the bowl chest high? That may make a difference.
Also a good suggestion by @Cragg Klefor making the mash less soupy would probably help as well.

Try to get her cleaned up the best you can and monitor her crop to make sure it's emptying in the mornings before she eats/drinks. Remember if she is getting veggies, then she needs grit to process that, so it should be provided for her.
What you need to make sure of is that it's just the dried food/mess that is smelling yeasty and that she is not developing sour crop.
I tried the bowl chest high but the power to get a bite for her comes from slamming her face in the food she gets disinterested if I hold the bowl. I stopped making her food soupy and wet because she inhaled the water mixture and got an upper respiratory infection. It is just the top of her head that smells like yeast not her crop and it empties so quick as soon as she's done eating and I go to clean her up and she has a full gullet by the time I'm done washing her its empty again. So then the whole process starts over and over and it goes on for hours.
 

Cragg Klefor

Crowing
Apr 14, 2017
912
1,621
282
County Kilkenny, Ireland
I tried the bowl chest high but the power to get a bite for her comes from slamming her face in the food she gets disinterested if I hold the bowl. I stopped making her food soupy and wet because she inhaled the water mixture and got an upper respiratory infection. It is just the top of her head that smells like yeast not her crop and it empties so quick as soon as she's done eating and I go to clean her up and she has a full gullet by the time I'm done washing her its empty again. So then the whole process starts over and over and it goes on for hours.
What does she drink from? I ask because I have a little disabled chicken who can't use her legs - relevance here is that I need to hold her food and drink to her for every feed. She has adapted so well. She drinks from a bowl and uses the water to clear her nostrils! She can't preen herself so I wash her but her face she looks after herself. I wonder would your little one manage this also. It sounds like you're caught in a loop with this little one, and a full-time one at that. Do you think it might make it easier if she were just getting moist crumbles, without fish etc?
 

Brittney P

Chirping
Aug 20, 2018
30
33
56
Southwest Idaho
I don’t think you will be able to keep her totally clean. Every cross beak I’ve seen has some food always stuck on its face. I don’t bother with the stuff that’s near my girl’s eyes or really anywhere on her face unless it's easy to wipe off, but there are a couple of things I do that have really helped her cleanliness.

First of all, everyone always suggests a deep bowl for cross beaks, but I find with mash, this guarantees a huge mess all over the head, neck, and chest feathers, and I don't think a deep bowl is necessary for most cross beaks as long as they are not eating dry food. I use a smaller shallow bowl and feed mine 3x a day most days (sometimes I just can’t be home). This is the bowl I use (although the bird in the photo is not my crossbeak, but a sick chicken I separated).

Bowl-for-crossbeak.jpg

I fill this bowl to the top for my cross beak. I just bought a couple of these at Wal-Mart - it was the Pioneer Woman brand, mini pie plate. My cross beak's face and upper neck still get messy, but it's so much less than with a deeper bowl.

I understand the frustration with the crop emptying quickly. I also have this problem with my cross beak, although it doesn’t sound as bad as yours. It seems the food just goes right through her; a lot of it looks nearly undigested in her poop.

I bathe my girl about once a week (just the messy parts) using this foamy Vetericyn shampoo: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01E91NEP8/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It sprays on and is super watery, lathers up well, and washes out easily. I love it. I spray a bunch on wet feathers and just try to work all the hardened goop out of her feathers. There are usually some spots I just can’t clean, but for the most part, it has worked pretty well for her.

Every time after she eats, I just use warm water and a very soft wash rag to gently wipe out all the food that I can get out of her feathers and then I blow dry her. She’s never completely clean but I can’t shampoo her every meal and I don’t know how good that would be for her skin anyway. Another suggestion is to use a very soft tooth brush to try to gently brush out some of the mess (again after wetting the feathers if they are dry) – I use this kind: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N32BB46/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It helps a little but is definitely no magic solution.

I also just noticed your chicken is only 2 months old. I think things are going to get easier for you as she gets bigger. Hopefully as her crop gets bigger and can hold more food, you won’t need to feed her as often. I also am hoping that as her beak gets adult sized, maybe you don’t have to worry so much about the food getting up her nose. Hang in there!

When I first started really working with my cross beak chicken (which wasn’t until she was 3-4 months old because I didn’t realize how skinny she was), I was spending about 5 hours a day getting her to eat and she still wasn't getting enough food. It took a long time to solve that problem (sounds like you have solved that one too). But then there was another problem and another. As each problem is solved, another comes up until you finally get your rhythm with her and things are good. It seems that most cross beak owners are doing things differently from each other. I have found that a lot of the popular advice for cross beaks just didn’t work at all for mine. I’m sure that if you keep experimenting, you will find a way to make it work. :)
 

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