Crossed Beak: How Bad is Bad? UPDATED 4/6!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mlheran, Mar 30, 2007.

  1. mlheran

    mlheran Songster

    A couple days after getting some new chicks (this is my first-ever flock!) I noticed one had a larger upper beak than her lower, I thought her "overbite" was kind of cute but thought I should keep an eye on it. Today I discovered that she now has a crossed beak -the smaller lower part is jutting out to the right of the otherwise straight upper.

    I've been reading in my books all day, and any time a crossed beak comes up they say to cull the chicken. Is it really that bad? She's the same size as the other chicks her age (10 days), is active and seems to eat with no problems. But I'm worried that it will get worse. I also don't think I have the guts to do any trimming -maybe filing, if that's possible, but not bringing clippers to a chicks head! Is it possible she'll be able to have an nice hen life? [​IMG]

    So I fall on your vast and wonderful knowledge, BackyardChickens readers! What can/should I do?



    [UPDATE: April 6th]

    She's grown progressively worse day by day... [​IMG]

    From today:



    I contacted the feed store about it, to let them know, and while they said they won't take her they did give me a "replacement" at no charge. Do you think she's too young to trim/file the upper beak? Will it even make any difference since it's the bottom that's skewed?
    [​IMG] produces
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2007

  2. MTchick

    MTchick Songster

    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    If it was me, I'd watch and wait. She might do just fine without your intervention if she is getting enough food in her- that would be the only significant problem. If it gets a lot worse as she grows up, you can re-evaluate.

    But if it stays not too bad, and she keeps eating enough to grow and thrive, then just tell the other hens not to make fun of her overbite and don't let any orthodontists anywhere near your coop- they are really expensive I hear.

  3. mlheran

    mlheran Songster

    Quote:LOL, I can't afford chicken braces! [​IMG]

    But seriously, thanks for the advice. I'm thinking that's what I'll do, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed -it's too early in my chicken experience to start thinking about culling! I'm hoping someone will have some advice on the best way to file her beak, since that seems inevitable at this rate.
  4. lively Bee's

    lively Bee's Songster

    Feb 6, 2007
    We have a bird that we call twisted she has a very out of wack beak. I made a feeder that is 6"wide 12" long 4" deep and she gets in the middle and pecks and eat she feels meaty and her crop is full after she eats she is about 1/2 the size of the other birds.

    She might be 1/2 size but she push's other birds out of the feeder.

  5. V Chic Chick

    V Chic Chick Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bristol, England
    Is there any chance I could use one of those pictures on my website? It's just what I've been looking for [​IMG]
  6. mlheran

    mlheran Songster

    Thanks, Lively Bee's -it's good to know that they can get by with this deformity. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my little "Cheeks" will be fine too. [​IMG]

    V Chic Chick -sure, that's fine, glad I could help! I always appreciate when people post pics about what they're asking.
  7. beckt

    beckt Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    ml, from the pics I would not say at this point she is not the worst. I have a little bantam d'uccle hen that is much worse than yours & she does great. I just take her to the vet about once a month & they trim her upper beak to match the lower as best they can. She is such a sweet little thing. I like you could never cull her, but also on the same note she should never be used for breeding either as this deformity will be passed on to her offspring. My vet is also an avian vet & they only charge me $5.00 for a trim. Good luck & keep us posted on her progress.

  8. mlheran

    mlheran Songster

    Beckt -That's great to know! I'm so attached to little "cheeks," I really can't bear to think of getting rid of her, but I also don't want to stress her with my inept attempts at trimming. I'll check into the vets around here and see if any are avian and if they'd do the trimming.

    When did you start having your hen's beak trimmed?

    I'm not planning on breeding/raising chicks -I'm in it for the hens & eggs- so her flawed genes are safe. [​IMG] I told the feedstore about it, just to let them know, and they gave me another chick from the same hatch for free!
  9. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    I'm not sure about chickens, but I know from experience that 'indoor' birds can live a long and healthy life with this problem. An aquaintance of mine used to breed parrots, back when I did, but she was in it for the money, whereas, I bred for the enjoyment I got from it and helping people find their next companion. Anyway, I happened into the vet with our newest clutch of Quaker parrots when she came in with a little severe macaw that had a pretty badly crossed beak that she was going to have euthanized because no one would 'buy it'. I offered to take the little bird in, and I'm hapy to say that with some routine maintenance, she gets along just fine now. She's been with us for 3 years and to look at her you can hardly tell. I do have to Dremel her beak down every week, but she sits nicely for it now because she gets a banana when we're done!

  10. lively Bee's

    lively Bee's Songster

    Feb 6, 2007

    Meet twisted [​IMG]

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