Crossed Beak :-(


In the Brooder
10 Years
Feb 21, 2009
Gulf Coast of Alabama
I feel very blessed -- My dozen peeps will be 3 weeks old tomorrow.
I haven't lost even one! I just figured that I would lose one or two from reading on the message board about how many different things can go wrong with baby chicks. But mine -- they are growing so fast -- by leaps and bounds. They are just about completely feathered out now!

Well, one of the EE's bottom beak is crossed really bad and getting worse! She can poke her head deep into the feed and manage to eat some feed, but I feel so sorry for her....

The more she grows, the worse it gets.... I will try to take a pic this morning and post it here. I've done a search on the message board and have read about people "trimming" beaks... but this one is at such a huge angle.... it's almost like her bottom jaw is out of alignment.

I am a first time chick owner and don't know a thing about trimming beaks! I am squimish about stuff like and don't know if I have the stomach for it either. I would never make a good nurse or doctor LOL But can chickens live ok with a bottom beak that is crossed really bad? I don't what anything to happen to her!
The only chicken I've had with a deformed beak died at 2 months. If I had it to do over again, I would have done some beak trimming.
This is Camryn, my crossbeak Buff Orp.
Her top beak curls over to the side and I have to snip it when it reaches below the level of her bottom beak. I always make sure the feed is nice and deep so she can scoop and she has a big water bowl because with regular waterers it is hard for her to fit the two halves of her beak in there.
She's not seperated from the others and is suprisingly near the top of the pecking order.

I guess it depends on the severity of the deformity and if you see they are still having a hard time eating even after deep feed dishes and water bowls, then you may want to make the decision to put them down rather than have them starve to death...........

Just keep watching to see if she can eat & drink.
If you are worried about trimming the beak yourself, a good vet can do it. My avian vet just pulled out a dremmel, bzz-bzz-bzz across the beak tips, and all done!

Oh, and $75, please, for the office visit and beak trimming for two birds.

Yikes! $75 !
My vet only charged $12 for Camryn's first trim & he showed me how so I could do it myself........
My crossbeak chick died at 7 weeks. I did do some beak trimming but she never caught on to eating once it crossed to a certain point. She was my first crossbeak as well, I learned a lot and now know what to watch for.She grew until she was 4 weeks old and then never got any bigger.
If I get another one and see that it is unable to grow, I will cull. Good luck with yours, I know some do okay as long as they have a deep food dish to eat from.
I am going to call around and see if I can find a local vet that works on chickens. If this is a pretty common problem
with chickens, then I might be able to find someone. Also, if they can show me what to do, maybe DH and I can trim the beak next time....
Hey Judy, one of my 3 week old EE girls from Ideal is crossbeaked. Where'd you get her? Is it a hereditary trait? I didn't notice it the first week and my DH called me in to look at her last week. Very sad. But she seems to be doing ok.
One of our IDEAL packing peanuts is crossbeaked. Looks like a variety of Brahma? Has feathered feet, but an eye stripe. It is heartbreaking. Such a sweet little guy...
I have a amerucana that is cross beaked, she isnt filled out as much as her sibling, but seems to be doing good. I do trim her beak, its like doing a dogs toenails, just dont cut into the quick or it will bleed all over the laundry room, shake its head and spray all over the washer dryer and freezer....... wait that was just my experience.

Like said above she will need a deep dish to get food/water. Dont trim too deep, or use a dremmel, that way if you do go too deep it cauterizes the quick(that is what it is called in a dog toenail) so there is no bleeding. AND just in case trim it OUTSIDE.

Going on 2 years now, she seems happy. I just dont put her eggs in bator or under a broody, Supposedly cross beak can be hereditary, so why take chances of passing it on.

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