UPDATE: scissor beak chick

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kbunny, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. kbunny

    kbunny Out Of The Brooder

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    May 16, 2011
    Chicago IL
    A couple months ago I posted here about one of our chicks that developed a scissor beak. The chickens are three months old now, and she has seemed to do OK, eating and acting like a normal chicken, except that she is much smaller than the others.

    We provide "feed porridge" along with the regular dry feed and she seems to like both, although the porridge seems to be easier for her to scoop up. She spends a lot more time at the feeder than the others and it seems like perhaps it takes a lot more pecking for her to get her fill. But it also seems like she is able to use her beak and tongue to scoop up food with some success.

    We have tried filing her beak a few times but haven't done very well with it. She really hates it and will get to a point where she thrashes around too much for me to keep holding her still. Today we tried with a Dremel and didn't do much better. It always seems like we could have filed it shorter, although what we have done does seem to help her.

    Anyhow, today for the first time I got really worried that she might not make it. She was sitting on the ground in the coop and kind of rolling around and seemed distressed, like she was trying to scratch but couldn't stand up. Also I thought perhaps her comb looked a bit pale, but I am totally new to chickens and don't really know what to look for, especially since the hens' combs are barely developed at this stage.

    I provided a fresh batch of "porridge," and that made her rally and eat ravenously, and seem to be back to normal. So maybe I was just being a nervous new chicken-mom. But I can't help but notice that the other chickens are growing at a much faster rate.

    I know some scissor-beaked chicks go on to live full chicken lives while others don't make it. I don't want to prolong her suffering, but I also don't want to sacrifice her unnecessarily. So my question is, how can I judge when and if "it's time"? Are there any definite indicators - especially considering they are young birds?
     
  2. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    I had a very similar situation not too long ago. My chick started developing scissor beak at 2 weeks, and it got progressively worse. I made a modified feeder, fed her "porridge" and all that jazz for awhile. She was a fighter, and adapted quickly to all the things I made to help her eat. She only made it to 10 weeks, and she let me know she was ready. After a couple days of basically eating all day, she just stopped trying. She would peep and peep at me when I went in to feed her, but she wouldn't try so hard to eat. At that point I knew it was time, and I had a friend cull her for me.

    What I did was check her crop every night. When its fullness started dwindling I knew it was getting close, and by the time she was ready to go it was practically empty. It was really hard, but the poor thing was just dealt a bad hand. She was an amazing bird to have when she was around...but I could see that her fight was gone and she was ready to go.

    Good luck to you, I hope yours isn't as bad as mine was. She started developing it RIGHT before her major growth spurt, so it was extremely bad by the end.

    Here's a pic
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Amethyste

    Amethyste For Love of Boo...

    My little crossbeak was like yours, hoka.

    We noticed her beak was very slightly off when we got her as a day old, but I was hoping it wouldn't be terribly bad. She did ok up until about 6 weeks or so then it got really really bad. We tried hand feeding her and trimming her beak a little, but we think there were other things going on as well. She was so little compared to the others, and like yours, she wasn't thriving at all.

    After a few weeks of hand feeding, beak trimming etc, I ended up putting her down. She was getting no quality of life whatsoever, and was just getting weaker and worse by the day. As you said tho, it really got bad just before that big growth spurt at about 10 weeks. She seemed to welcome it tho...I do think she was telling me she was ready to call it an end.
     
  4. kbunny

    kbunny Out Of The Brooder

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    May 16, 2011
    Chicago IL
    Thanks so much for the input. I hope that I will be able to read the signs if it is time to cull her.

    I have read a lot on here about checking the crop, but I'm not sure how to do it. Where do you feel them? What does a full crop feel like?
     
  5. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    Feeling the crop is really just palpating it and feeling how firm or saggy it is. A full crop will look almost like a tumor on the left side (facing the bird) of the chest. An empty crop feels like a deflated balloon, and then there are different degrees of fullness. At bedtime, their crop should be full or close to full. It will feel like a baseball or a golfball depending on the size of the bird. Basically if the crop isn't very full then the bird isn't eating enough throughout the day.


    [​IMG]

    Full crop
    [​IMG]
     

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