I Need Instructions Please......

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TwoCrows, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    32,429
    6,216
    621
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    I need VERY clear instructions on how to do a debeaking. I have a couple of hens that are using their beaks as weapons and would like to trim their beaks.

    I need to know, do you only trim the upper beak, and how much to trim in relationship to the lower beak?. Exactly how far up the beak do I trim? I do not want to hurt them or cause any bleeding. I have either a standard nail clipper or a guillotine dog nail clipper. Which one would be better to use? And how long before I will need to trim again?

    I appreciate your help and thanks! ~ Leyla [​IMG]
     
  2. zookeeper15133

    zookeeper15133 Chillin' With My Peeps

    789
    6
    123
    Apr 22, 2010
    SW PA
  3. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Personally (I know your not asking) but I would not de-beak them.


    Birds need their beaks - the sharp point helps them find and break apart food. They also need it for defence.



    There are reasons your birds are acting the way they do. Are they picking on a specific bird? What are they doing?
     
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    32,429
    6,216
    621
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Quote:Yes, this is exactly what is happening. One bird in particular is picking on one girl. They, 4 Australorps, were all raised together and are approaching 6 months old. The second girl in the pecking order is relentlessly picking on the lowest bird. She picks on her just to pick on her. Chasing her to peck at her. This lower bird has already received a few scratches on her face and comb. Even some bruising on her ear lobes. I dont' want this to escalate into this lower bird being injured. I have noticed this lower bird off by herself now and sometimes even hiding from this aggressive bird.

    I have several water and feeding stations set up so that she can always access food and water. But even the highest in the pecking order is not as mean as this other girl. So I was considering debeaking her. I understand that they do need their beaks for eating and such... is there anything else I can do to pipe this aggressor down then? Thanks...Leyla
     
  5. zookeeper15133

    zookeeper15133 Chillin' With My Peeps

    789
    6
    123
    Apr 22, 2010
    SW PA
    Put the offending hen in 'chicken jail' for a few days. A crate or a cage where she can't interact with her crew. If you keep her there long enough it will change the pecking order. When she gets out she will have to work to regain her place. They also go through their 'teenager' stage, but I think yours are a bit old for that.
     
  6. buckabucka

    buckabucka Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,112
    103
    241
    Jan 13, 2010
    Fairfield, Maine
    My Coop
  7. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    If she was mine, I would pull her from the flock and stick her in a cage.


    This can even be a dog crate/kennel in the coop if your coop is large enough. Or a crate in the garage.


    Pull her from the flock for a couple days, or even a week if you can stand cleaning up after her for that long [​IMG] [​IMG]. If you can re-arrange the coop (move roosts, or nest boxes) or add something (a bucket turned on its side - a ball - a recycle container) anything different so the environment has changed. Also do this in the run and yard if they free range.


    A couple days will give the coop flock a chance to re-establish a pecking order (a week would be better). Then an afternoon when you will have a couple days to watch them - let miss bossy out to free range with the coop flock and rejoin them if all seems well. You will need to still watch her.



    If this does not help - there are glasses for chickens called peepers (you can google it or use the search here on BYC - the one above your logged in name on the left, not google search on the right - for more info). I have never used them, but there are BYC members who have - and they work to help stop picking and bullying.






    Do you keep them in a run most of the time? If so how large and your coop size? Sometimes, what "should be enough" space actually is not. Some breeds like more personal space than others and crowding leads to bullying. And sometimes, one chicken is just a real butt head - and they are best for taco chicken [​IMG]
     
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    "without causing bleeding" sounds like you are trying to just trim their beaks? If that is the case, nail file or dremmel down the clear part of the tip of their beak, much like a toe nail on a bird or dog.

    De-beaking is something done to remove part of the bone wich supports the growth of the upper beak.

    However, having a short upper beak isn't going to stop bullying and hard picking.

    Pinless peepers as suggested sounds like the easiest way to reduce the hard picking. Disruption of picking order may help, or may make it worse depending on how the flock dynamics get changed.
     
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    32,429
    6,216
    621
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Quote:I have thought about "chicken jail" and was considering it also. I have plenty of dog crates that I use for my quail during breeding season that I could use. I appreciate your information. I would rather correct this instead of the debeaking. This aggressor definitely needs to come down in the pecking order. Thanks. [​IMG]
     
  10. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    32,429
    6,216
    621
    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Quote:Now these don't sound too bad. Pinless Peepers. I have heard of them in the gamebird field as I also raise quail. I will have to look into these. Thanks! [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by