New chicken owner, two cross beaked babies!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by newchknlover, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. newchknlover

    newchknlover New Egg

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    Jun 23, 2010
    I am new to having chickens, we started with just one hen and it turned out that a roo up the street liked her... So now we have a bunch of little chickies! Long story short, we noticed that two of the babies were especially enthusiastic about getting fed but they wouldn't let us near enough to catch them. We noticed after a couple of weeks that their beaks were totally crooked! I had no idea what this was about until finding this website, and I am so grateful for all of the advice.

    I did not have the heart to get rid of them, even though their beaks are extremely crossed. Honestly, about 45 degrees.

    We managed to catch the two of them and they are now about two months old and doing good. They have become my little babies and my family is now calling me the chicken whisperer because they follow me everywhere! I love them to death but I know that they are much smaller than their siblings, and being new to chickens all together I am concerned about what I can feed them and whether there are some things I absolutely should NOT do. (I have a few rabbits and know that their diets are very specific).

    I have been feeding them the starter feed for chicks and mixing it with water like many other people have said they do. I have also been giving them all natural applesauce with some of the powder added in for more protein. I was wondering if feeding them baby food is an option? Also, I know they are getting older, will I be able to continue feeding them the starter powder or will their diet need to change?

    Also, they have hardly ever been outside (except the first couple weeks of their life) ...did I hear something about adding grit? I know they couldn't pick up any dirt or pebbles on their own.

    Sorry for such a long post! I really appreciate all the help!
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Well, a few things I've heard are that you need very deep food dishes so that they can scoop the food since they can't peck it. Also, you can try to do a little trimming on the crossed beak and that might help a bit. I think I would always feed them chick starter, or maybe switch to game bird crumbles because it's so much harder for them to eat.....everything they eat would be very imporant to keep their weight up. Poor little things. I'd keep some vitamins in their drinking water too.

    Sounds like they're lucky chicks....you're a compassionate person! [​IMG]
     
  3. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    OH, and as far as the grit goes, maybe you could just mix the very small chick grit in with their food. That way if they do go outside and manage to eat something other than the food you give them, they will be able to digest it.
     
  4. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Oregon
    I have a BLRW with a cross beak who is now 9 weeks old. Her "issue" didn't appear noticeable until she was 4 weeks of age and has progressively worsened--which unfortunately is usually what happens. I worried silly over it but so far Hyacinth eats well (a pig really) and has grown and feathered normally. We are thinking of getting a 19" plastic Dura Trough if needed so they can all eat out of it. Since your babies are not growing as well as their siblings you are correct in assuming they may not be meeting their nutritional needs. I worry as it tends to get worse as they grow because its a skull deformity and not just a "weird" beak.

    Feeding in a deep bowl so they can "shovel" the food in tends to be the best and if you can give a well mixed warm mash every day that should help too. Chick grit can be sprinkled on top of food if needed but just a tniy bit as they need FOOD and chick starter will be digested without grit for now. Adding things to the food is not necessary if they can eat the chick starter well as it is more likely to skew their nutrition.

    A picture of their beaks would be helpful. Trimming the beak helps some and not others. It is hard to tell you this, but sometimes the ones who don't grow normally may starve to death. So if you want the little ones to make it check their little crops each night to see if full once you try the different ways to feed them better. If they are not full you need to keep trying to find a way to get food into them or cull them as starvation is awful when food is all around you. [​IMG]

    I will add that special needs chicks seem to wiggle their way into our hearts as they try so hard and you can't help but root for their success. My fingers are crossed for you and your little ones [​IMG]

    A picture of Hyacinth's beak at 7 1/2 weeks old:
    [​IMG]
     
  5. newchknlover

    newchknlover New Egg

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    Jun 23, 2010
    They really do seem to be doing great up to this point even though they are not as large. I knew nothing about how to tell if they were getting enough food initially, but I did notice that after they eat they have a bulging little pouch in the front, I am assuming that is where their crop is? They are very energetic and happy, so at least they don't act sick or anything. I keep two deep bowls in their cage at all times, one that always has the dry starter in it and then twice a day (once in the morning and once at night) I mix the starter with water in the other bowl. I probably mix about half a cup of starter with half a cup of water each time and they can eat almost all of it. I even stay out there with them and watch them a lot. I also help stir up the mash after a few minutes because it tends to settle and get hard for them to get.

    It seems like have their upper beak longer actually helps them out because they kind of drag their upper beak through the food and use their tongue to pull it back into their mouths. I have noticed though that the upper part of their beak is starting to look a bit curved as well. I have learned that it seems really important for them to constantly be getting moisture because their poor little mouths are always open. They can get to their water and drink it fairly easily but adding water to their food seems to be helping to keep their little tongues from drying out ( I have heard someone say that their little crossbeaks tongue started to dry out and fall apart) [​IMG]

    Thanks for all the support and help, I will definitely look into adding vitamins to their water. I am just worried about giving them too much vitamins, but I guess I shouldn't be too worried about it?

    Also, how do you add pictures to your post? I have pictures from when we first got them and I have one that I took today.
     
  6. newchknlover

    newchknlover New Egg

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    Jun 23, 2010
    I figured out how to add pictures....

    This one is from when we first got them.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    This one was taken today, it is of the same chick just about a month older.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
  7. newchknlover

    newchknlover New Egg

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    She is a total mess in that picture because I interrupted her eating [​IMG] Sorry chickie!
     
  8. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Oregon
    Great Googley Moogley!! [​IMG] That certainly is a severe cross beak! It also looks like they rolled around in the wet mash too, [​IMG]
     
  9. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

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    I had one that I had hope would make it. I started weighing her daily because I noticed that she wasn't growing at the same rate as the others. I discovered that she was only gaining half as much weight as she should. I realized that she was slowly starving. It still didn't convince me to cull her right away...I'm always hopeful. Then I noticed her tongue looked different. Upon further examination I saw that she had (or a cage mate had) taken off the end of her tongue. It was only half as long and was discolored half way down of what was left. I knew she would lose the entire tongue. I had to let her go. It doesn't mean that your bird can't make it, especially with the extra TLC. Just keep a close eye on her and monitor her weight. Here's a picture of the bird I had:
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Chookhouse

    Chookhouse New Egg

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    Jun 30, 2010
    Stamping Ground
    One of my wife's Buckeye chicks has the same problem and of course she is now emotionally attached to it - I would have culled it (and I'm hoping it's not a genetic trait in that strain of the breed) and it may still come to that but in the meantime....

    I'll get her to take your advice re feeding and watch posts for any updates.

    Regards - and thanks
     

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