When to cull...crossed beak** UPDATE**


In the Brooder
11 Years
Sep 4, 2008
Springfield Colorado
I had posted on another topic about my EE with a crossed beak. Another week has passed and while this chick is eating and drinking, it doesn't seem to get enough and acts hungry all the time, well more like staving as it runs for the feeder when it's been refilled. Ive spent a good deal of time out in the run with the flock and I know this chick has plenty of food available, the others don't prevent it from eating nor do they eat everything available.

The concern is that growth/feathering has slowed considerably. I can get my fingers completely around it's body, but cannot with any of the others as they are much bigger than this particular chick. There aren't any signs of failure to thrive...yet. Still eating (trying to) and no lethargy. My husband thinks this chick should have already been culled, but is leaving it up to me. Hand feeding isn't an option, as this one does not like to be handled or have it's beak touched (it acts as though it is irritating or painful when you do). I don't have a problem with culling, I think we have a bout 6-8 roos in our flock and we are only going to keep them around long enough to become big enough for the freezer. I would rather give this little one a chance, but even I think it doesn't have much of one.

What do you guys think?


Sammy has been doing great since the vet trimmed her (pretty sure it is a her) beak. I have since filed it down again with an emery board. While she is still less than 1/2 the size of the others and still growing, she is eating much easier after figuring out to turn her head so that the lower beak is used to scoop up the food. I think she is going to be a buff color, not sure on that.

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12 Years
Jun 4, 2007
Western MA
I have a crossbeak and she was slow to develop too. I keep a feeder of mash out there with an open top and she learned it is for her. She is doing fine on her own. I used to call her runtwing because her wings were 1/4 of the length of her siblings. At one point i thought she was a rooster because she got so big at one point. But she was slow growing at first too. If you want to give yours a chance, it will most likely work out. I am very attached to my crossbeak and i admire the way they survive. They are amazing little creatures
I know each situation is different, Good Luck with your decision

Here is mine:



12 Years
Feb 8, 2007
Ontario Canada
I'd just leave it alone and see what happens. They do grow slower, but mine has survived 5 months and is doing fine (although smaller than it's mates)


Poultry Elitist
11 Years
Jun 18, 2008
Willamette Valley, OR
This is Emmy, my little cross-beak. She is 4 months old and doing fine. Her beak looks like it has a sideways overbite. I have seen pictures of chickens with very extreme cross-beaks. I think it's a matter of degrees as far as viability is concerned. She has trouble catching bugs, but can eat fine out of a deep dish. I also recently trimmed a tiny bit off the tip of her top beak, it was beginning to curl. That's the only special treatment she has needed.

Good luck with your decision.



Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
If your cross beak is a pet, and you have the time and energy to keep it fed and healthy, since feeding will be the hardest part of being a cross beak, with preening and pecking next, really there is no need to cull. However, if it is a breeder, production bird, or you just don't have the time to keep it well fed, culling might be the best compared to passing bad genes or starving all the time.


Chicken Beader
11 Years
Mar 20, 2008
NW Kentucky
This is my little girl, Faith, who just turned 10 weeks old. While she is a bit smaller than her sisters, she is doing fine. Last night I trimmed the tip of her top beak just a tad and a little off the bottom. She eats fine out of a deep dish and drinks fine too. I am giving her one feeding by herself just to make sure she is getting enough. Although the other girls do not bother her, she just takes longer to get down the same amount of food. her future is still undecided but I am going to see how she continues to do and give her a chance.

So, if it is a pet, I would not cull if with a little trimming she will be fine. This is Faith before the trim. Her beak is straight, it just meets perfectly and leaves a gap.


As far as mash for Faith, her individual feedings are comprised of finely ground chick starter, boiled egg and a bit of all natural apple sauce.
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Intentional Solitude
Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Feb 3, 2007
Blue Ridge Mtns. of North Georgia
I have to say that Faith is so pretty! You know, if I'm breeding the birds, I'd cull. If you have a hen with a not-too-bad case of it, since she does lay eggs, I might try the trimming thing. You dont want them to slowly starve, which I've seen and it's awful. It takes time and effort to be sure they thrive. Many would have culled Zane when he was injured, not spend five or six months trying to save him and help him walk again, and it may still end up that way, but I had the time and the desire to keep him with me. The only difference here is the genetic factor of crossbeak.


Chicken Beader
11 Years
Mar 20, 2008
NW Kentucky
Thanks Cyn. I agree with you...many would have culled Zane. I am in the group that would not have of course. I would be hiring a physical therapist.
Mine are pets and my babies.

BTW: I trimmed Faith's beak with a dremel tool using a fine sanding bit. I swaddle wrapped her in a towel, placed a small drinking straw between her upper and lower beak and just barely touched it. I was able to hold her still and it was over in a flash as opposed to using nail clippers and a file. She did not even have time to fuss about it.

Sorry for the Hijack of the thread.


11 Years
Sep 15, 2008
Big Sur, CA
I would keep her if she has the will to live! Just eat her eggs and give her a special bowl of treats when you get the chance...I only put them down if they look like they are starving and droopy, dieing slowly, then it's not humane...this sounds like she just has a handicap

p.s. How is Faith doing after her trim?

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