Scissor Beak Polish


Sep 30, 2018
I have a 12 week old Polish that has scissor beak. The changes this the past month seem kinda drastic. He is the same size as my other 3 polish, so I dont think he is having trouble eating. Is there an age that the scissor beak stops progressing?
As a chick (2 days old):

On 10/21 (8 weeks old)

And today..



Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Apr 3, 2011
southern Ohio
Sorry about your polish chicken and it’s beak deformity. As Sourland has posted it can worsen with growing, and his suggestions can help. Here is a good link about managing a cross beak chicken, and you might also want to include a large rock or pavers on which your chicken can hone it’s beak:


Mar 13, 2017
I was given a silkie hen that has a scissor beak..she was going to kill her, anyway, took her to the vet, he trimmed her and showed me what to do, she's three years old, healthy as can be and a great foster mom!!! I trim and file her about once big deal. She eats and drinks fine. Don't use her eggs to hatch but they can be eaten and they can sit on other eggs if needed

Brittney P

Aug 20, 2018
Southwest Idaho
I think it's about 4 months that the beak reaches its worst and stays there. It will keep growing and may need periodic trims, but the angle of the cross beak stabilizes around there, and certainly by maturity.

As your chicken's beak gets worse, just make sure he actually is eating enough. My cross beak used to be a very flighty bird that didn't want to be touched so I didn't realize how skinny she was getting as her cross beak progressed. I fed her separately from the other chickens twice a day using a giant bowl and she pecked at it nonstop and it looked like she was eating. Then one day at 3-4 months old, she flew in my arms squawking (desperately hungry) and she was nothing but skin and bones. After she ate from the bowl for over an hour, I checked her crop and it felt empty. All those times I'd been feeding her, she was hardly picking up anything and slowly starving to death.

What she really needed was mash (wettened crumbles about the consistency of oatmeal) but it took a lot of work on my part to convince her to eat it. I cried the day she finally ate it. I was getting close to killing her because she was slowly starving to death and only wanted to eat the dry crumbles she couldn't pick up (I tried even giving her scrambled egg, oatmeal, yogurt, scratch, etc. - she wanted none of it). Now that she does eat mash, she is healthy and happy. I check her crop after every meal to make sure it's full. I feed it to her 2-3 times a day, separate from the flock. So as your boy grows, please check his crop and make sure he's not getting skinny.

Another thing to keep in mind is that cross beaks sometimes have trouble with preening. Some say they are at an increased risk for external parasites because of this, but I haven't had a problem. I have noticed that my cross beak doesn't do as well on the really cold nights and I think this is because she isn't preening her feathers as well and so they aren't insulating her as well. On extremely cold nights, I bring her inside.

Cross beaks are extra work and time if their beaks are really crooked, but if you are able to do it, the relationship you build with them is really special. Cheesy, I know, but I have a closeness with mine that I never could have had if she were a normal bird.


Sep 30, 2018
I have two small coops. I am thinking of moving one in the big run. That way, I can isolate Monkey (the cross beak chicken) and try feeding some mash. I can leave him in there for about an hour a day, that way he doesn't feel isolated. What do you think?
Pretty sure he is a he, due to the spikey hair, but I have not heard a crow. I hope that he doesn't get people aggressive if he needs that much handling. I have seen suggestions to be more hands off with roosters, so I have not pushed forming a "friendship".

How exactly do I know when it is time for a beak trim? How much do you trim? And, what kind of clips to you use for the beak? I have the scissor kind for my dog's nails.

Again, thank you!


6 Years
Apr 13, 2016
North-Central IL
I had some crossbeaks in my very first chicks. Get yourself a small, bright LED flashlight, and shine it through the end of the beak crossways, so the beak is between your face and the light. You'll be able to see the quick that way, and you'll know not to get too close to it. I used human toenail clippers and would clip them back a little at a time, and then a nailfile to finish it off.

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