Rescued hens with deformed beaks! How do I care for them?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by fowlerclaire, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. fowlerclaire

    fowlerclaire New Egg

    May 9, 2011
    I just rescued several hens and their beaks are in awful shape! I just brought them home today.

    One looks like the top has been cut quite short while the bottom looks normal.
    Two others have long bottom halves that are beginning to curl a little but the top looks normal.
    One with a white ring in her beak!!

    I believe they were used as breeders at a hatchery.

    My questions are - What can I do for them? If anything. [​IMG] And if not, will they be able to eat properly or are there only certain things that would be easier for them to eat?

    My other chickens are free range, but I'm concerned these girls won't be able to peck with efficency. Will the opportunity to peck and free range wear down the bottom beaks that are too long?

    I'm eager to hear any advice![​IMG]
  2. mljohnson05

    mljohnson05 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 16, 2011
    Hard to tell the degree without pictures...if you can post a link to like (photobucket...since you cannot post pics here yet)......that would help a great deal.
    But there are many chicks that live a long happy life with deformed beaks. You just have to learn what their limitations are. They most likely will not free range, but only time will tell.

    For now, I would keep them separated and where you can watch and help the, until you see how it will go. Most birds with beak issues need to have their food in a bowel that is a bit raised so they can use the walls of the bowl to "scoop " the food.
    As far as food goes, that is something you will have to play with and see if they need to be hand feed or if they can feed themselves. For now whatever food you use, I would make it into a WET mash so it is soft and easy to grip.

    Best Wishes, and if there is something I did not cover, let me know and I will Try to help you.

  3. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    The ones with the short top beaks have been "debeaked". this is done when birds are kept in large numbers to keep them from picking and eating each other. The beak will grow but will take a long time. The others with the longer bottoms cam be filed down to a more natural position with a heavy nail file or trimmed up with a cat nail clipper or even a pet i cure sanding disc. The one with a ring on her beak could have been "bitted" if it is actually an applied ring, which is a ring placed around the beak to prevent it from closing all the way to also keep them from pulling feathers. It can be cut off with wire cutters.
  4. Animalian

    Animalian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2011
    I would feed them moist food, like porridge that sticks together in clumps. Just because with the weirdly shaped tips they probably can't pick small food up properly/easily. I'd also make their feed bowl deep so they can dive in deeper if need be to where the top and bottom of their beaks actually contact.
  5. fowlerclaire

    fowlerclaire New Egg

    May 9, 2011
    Thanks! They made it through the first night. They sorta' seem to be in a daze - not sure what to make of their new environment [​IMG] (all the dirt, grass and bugs!).

    I've got moist food in a deep dish and I've seen the debeaked ones eating quite well.

    They're pretty skittish - I'll give them some time before I try any filing or clipping. Is it possible to file down too much at one time? I don't want to harm them further or hit any quick (if it's like a nail).

    Thanks for welcoming me into the BYC fold [​IMG]
  6. mjelse

    mjelse Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 18, 2008
    I had this problem with rescued hens. They had been debeaked. Some had the beaks grow back, or grow back partially. All but one functioned quite well. The one that had the problem had the lower bill grow up over the half-removed upper bill. It curled around like a really long fingernail and made it hard for her to eat. I clipped that end of with nail clippers. Unfortunately, I have a lot of birds and did not monitor her closely enough. Eventually it grew back, making it hard for her to eat. She was either sick for other reasons, or was too far gone from starvation and died.

    The long and short of it is all but one of about a dozen debeaked birds did fine.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  7. featherhead007

    featherhead007 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2017
    Poplar- Porterville CA.
    my 2 are rescue hens as well, and they are new to the flock, lower beak extends way past the upper beak.
    but i'm also a charlie brown christmas tree kinda guy too! i have to feed them layer pellets because they cant eat scratch, but people, this is ME! some retired Feds do still care for the underdog. I find the underdog more loyal and friendly than the studious! Humans and chickens alike! if I knew a way to make them more comfortable I would! please help my BYC FRIENDS!

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