New hens have had their beaks shortened & can't eat!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by jodieevaughan, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. jodieevaughan

    jodieevaughan Just Hatched

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    Oct 26, 2016
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    I recently had a fox attack with only 1 survivor, so today I went and got her 2 companions. However, once they were home and I got a closer look, their beaks have been shortened on the top! I was watching them trying to peck and corn and pellets but they couldn't pick any up!
    How am I supposed to feed them? They do get fed a small amount of blueberries/pears/apples too, but I just am lost at what to do about this because how are they supposed to eat!
    Also, I put them outdoors when they arrived but have now put them in the shed so they know where they're meant to sleep - they were permanently inside at the farm and are about 20 weeks old, they kept standing on one leg outdoors! Will it just take some getting used to?
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    They'll get used to the outdoors eventually, don't worry too much about that.

    As for feed - I think that all you can likely do is provide them with milled feed (as opposed to pellets). To reach 20 weeks they must be able to successfully feed, but foraging will be an remain an issue.
     
  3. jodieevaughan

    jodieevaughan Just Hatched

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    Thanks! I'll grind up their feed in that case :) Do their beaks grow back? Because they both have gaps when their beaks are closed!
     
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I'm honestly not sure, but it I would doubt it, since in the egg laying industry, beak trimming is usually done only once before a chick reaches a certain age.
     
  5. henny1129

    henny1129 Crazy Livestock Gal

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    Hello! I've heard that with chickens with clipped beaks like that you can wet their food and they can eat it better, but I've never done it before. As for their beak growing back, I'm not sure. Before shows we clip the very itty-bitty top of our birds beaks so that they look "primp and proper". It always grows back, but I don't know if the beak grows back when it's trimmed that much.
     
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi.

    I agree they must be eating to survive 20 weeks. And as much as I hate that the industry clips beaks, I've seen enough brutality among my flock even with plenty of space to know that may actually be better than getting pecked to death or worse survive the pecking for years in those crowded conditions. [​IMG]

    I also have read that wetting the feed may help. If you decide to go that route, you might consider fermented feed. Check the link in my signature line if you like.

    The beak will continue to grow. Weather or not it will grow back is dependent on how far back it was clipped, as far as I can tell from a quick google search.

    Hope your girl enjoys her new friends and vice versa! [​IMG]
     
  7. coach723

    coach723 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can search 'debeaking chickens' to find more info on how it's done.
    In production birds it is done at a very young age, usually with heat, meaning cauterized, so it won't grow back.
    You will find much debate on the ethic's of the practice.
    For feed, it depends on what they are able to do. Many people with birds like this feed 'mash', which basically means mixing the feed with water to soften it up and clump it so it's easier for them to pick up. Like thick oatmeal. Means a bit more labor as it needs to be mixed at least a couple of times a day to prevent spoilage. Also raising the feeders up helps them, so they can scoop with their lower beak. Same with waterers. About the height of their back.
    As for outdoors, they will eventually adjust. I'd give them access to outside during the day, and provide places for them to shelter or 'hide' while they adjust. It may take some time.
     
    3 people like this.
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    There are a lot of things in animal husbandry that on the surface seem cruel, but usually they are not. An example is neutering and spaying dogs and cats. On the surface this is pretty brutal but it is something I have done. The benefits far outweigh anything else to me. Debeaking is used to keep the chickens from eating each other where the chickens are housed closely together. I understand why it is done but I don’t house my chickens that way.

    If you can I’d keep them locked in the coop for a few days like you are doing, especially if they will not be enclosed in a run. You don’t want them to go looking for home. When you open the door to let them out, there is a reasonable chance they will be afraid to go outside for a while. Just be patient, they will eventually figure it out. They will probably be able to forage better than you expect, but that clipped beak does make it harder.

    Debeaked chickens are fed mash in commercial operations. It’s normally wet to form a paste. The main reason it’s wet is that the ground up feed can separate with the heavier ingredients settling to the bottom. They don’t always get a balanced diet if some stuff settles.

    But another problem is that the wet mash can turn sour if it is not all cleaned up. Commercial operations get around that by timed feeding. They have enough feeders so all the chickens can eat at the same time and only release enough feed it can all be cleaned up at one time. After they digest that they release more paste. They use automatic equipment on timers to do that. That’s harder for us to do on a small scale. I don’t do fermented feed but it may be something you want to investigate.

    Good luck. Those are probably going to be egg-laying machines when they get straightened out and lay, but you have some challenges.
     
  9. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Yep, spaying and neutering saves lives.

    And so does beak clipping for the industry. [​IMG]

    All my chickens enjoy the fermented feed. I stir and feed out (unlimited free choice) only once a day and never had issues with mold. I still try to make sure nothing is left at night so I don't attract free loaders or predators. [​IMG]
     
  10. jodieevaughan

    jodieevaughan Just Hatched

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    Thank you very much for all the help! The girls went outside, in fact as it got dark this evening they stayed out and didn't go in the shed so I had to manually put them in [​IMG]
    I'll try wetting their food. I've heard chickens like moisturised, warmed porridge?! Obviously I'd make it with oats and water and not used ready made crap, but can anybody back this up as healthy before I do it?
     

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