My hen's beak is deteriorating & dead hen mystery?


In the Brooder
11 Years
Apr 1, 2008
North Seattle
Please look at my photos and give me some advice on this. My hen Miss Tutu seems to be losing her beak! Below her issue I have a question about a mysterious death of another bird.

1) What type of bird , age and weight.
She's a gold-laced wyandotte, about 3 yrs, healthy/fat girl!
2) What is the behavior, exactly.
I don't see any unusual behavior, or signs of her excessively rubbing her beak on anything.
3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
I first noticed her beak looking different 2 weeks ago - she normally has a shorter beak (due to her breed?)
4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
No, she lives with a barred rock a few months older, and a black star just under 1 year old.
5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.
Her beak just looks worn down? Can't see any cracking?
6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
I have no clue.
7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
She eats layer feed and chicken snacks (oats, apples, pumpkin, greens etc)
8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.
I think her poop is pretty normal.
9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?
Nothing yet, don't know what to do.
10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
I would like to try treating her myself if possible.
11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
See link below for photos.
12) Describe the housing/bedding in use
Pretty solid wood coop with wood shavings on floor and run underneath on dirt floor.



My 4th hen, Ladybird had died the day after taking her to the vet ($260 vet visit plus x-rays plus 2 medications). The vet stating she had a lumpy infectious mass in her oviduct. Said that it didn't seem to be an egg, but something else as far as the xrays revealed. I gave her a day of antibiotic shots plus a second shot for fluids. She had not taken any food or drink for 2-3 days. The next day she was found dead in her cage we isolated her in (inside our house). It looked like there was some throw-up coming out of her mouth and a large white hard mass (like soft egg shell only) came out of her back side. I think she died trying to lay her first egg... she was the same age as my younger bird - right at laying age. Was there anything I could have done? The vet seemed really surprised this happened.

Thanks for helping me! - Pamela
Last edited:
Your photo isn't showing.

The hen that died - sometimes they do. It happens and nothing can be done to absolutely prevent internal laying. Ensure that your chickens are of a healthy weight and not overweight, no stress, plenty of water, and an adequate source of calcium are the best you can do.
The beak looks like she injured it somehow. Beaks have layers, a tough outer shell and a softer inner shell. Looks like she lost the tough outer shell. Best you can do for her is trim the lower beak to match the top, as best you can. That way she's still able to pick up bugs, treats, and feed. You'll have to keep it trimmed because she won't be able to wear it down properly. Sometimes the outer shell will regrow, but not often in older birds.
So I'll have to trim it like fingernails? I had to do this with a bunny before that grew his teeth in criss-crossed. If anyone else has anything to add to this I'd appreciate it!
I agree, possible fungal infection... Nutritional problems can also weaken the beak. I'm not sure which is more likely or if it's just the beak trying to regrow after major damage, but it might not hurt to see a vet if it doesn't appear to be getting better on its own.

I wouldn't trim the lower beak. It's got far less horn protecting the bone and blood vessels, and debeaked birds always have the lower beak intact; just the top beak is trimmed. A deep feed dish will help her eat.

If you could check in her mouth you might notice something to clue you in either way. If it's fungal there may be discolouration or some other signs of infection inside... Then again there might not, sorry.

good luck,
There isn't too much she could injure herself on. What's newer is some wire under the run fencing so predators cannot dig underneath, but they haven't picked that spot for digging dust baths or to root around. At times they run their beaks across the wire in the run, but the other hen does it more often and she has no damage to her beak at all. It looked a little worse today - and she was pretty mad when I tried to look inside her mouth because I bet it hurt - I did not see anything unusual inside. I'm used to looking for this kind of mouth/throat infection since my old water dragon would get sick and have puss in this mouth. Miss Tutu's looked pretty clean and normal. This is such a mystery. Time to take her to the vet I suppose.

Thank you all for helping! Anyone know of a good farm/poultry vet in Seattle?

Here's how she looked about 6 weeks ago, and her beak is normal:
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom