New Crossbeak.....

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10 Years
Jun 2, 2009
We "adopted" a crossbeak from a neighboring farm when we bought several auracana hens from her. SHe is much smaller than the others and i'm not sure what we can do for her. Her beak is pretty bad. I have no idea how old she is, but the other auracanas were hatched in Feb so she may have too.

It was agonizing to watch her picking at the metal feeder all day and getting nothing, so I tried mash and water, which she seems to like, in a deep bowl with some chick vitamins sprinkled in and some chick grit since she can't eat off the ground. I admit to having no experience in is there anything else I can do for her? I tried feeding her a little egg yolk from an eye dropper while my husband held her but she didn't like that at all so I think syringe feeding wouldn't work. I snipped the end of her beak but I really dont' know how much it's helped her since her bottom beak is so over to the side.

She's so cute - she runs to us and the other auracana hens love her. She can usually be found in the center of their little "circle" lying in the middle of them. One in particular seems to be her "friend" and roosts near her often. It's just so sad - I really wanted to give her back to the farm at first since it was just too sad to watch her not be able to free range with all the other chickens, but now I know if I did, she wouldn't be getting the mash or vitamins and would probably die much sooner..and she's become sort of a pet to us over this past week.

I was hoping if we could put some weight on her that she might make it through the winter.....
Just a word of caution on the mash: it has a tendency to gum up in the roofs of their mouths, since crossbeaks can't push this out the way other chickens can (their tongues can't reach it). Once this happens, it will form a solid wad that will make it even more difficult for them to eat. You will want to check both top and bottom to make sure her beak is clear. Really, your best bet is to use a deep dish with a loose feed, like chick starter. The prognosis for this girl isn't great unless she learns to manipulate food. Her size is telling you that she is having trouble. But I'd try, too. Good luck with her!

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