Will She Eat Herself to Death?!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by hokankai, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    One of my cochin chicks has a pretty bad cross beak. It's bad enough that the beak hardly overlaps, but she's learned how to drink sideways and has been working on eating. She was going to be euthanized today because she hasn't been eating enough...HOWEVER, I think I've figure out how to feed her! I took a rabbit feeder, added a lip and an edge to slow her billing out. I could instantly tell it was working, and she ate constantly for about 15 minutes before I pulled her away. Her crop felt like a golf ball! I pulled out the feeder for the night and will put it back early in the morning.

    Will she eat herself to death if given the chance? I know with starving animals you do not want to give them too much food at once, but how much monitoring does she need and how often does she need to eat? How long does it take for a crop to empty?

    She's a fighter, and a sweetheart to boot! She's also the top chick even with a fiesty frizzle roo in there, haha.

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  2. ChicksterJo

    ChicksterJo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 19, 2011
    Grounded on Earth
    I don't have much experience with this but when I had one crossbeak she did not eat very much at one time. I would give her a deep food dish but she still had trouble eating; poor thing wouldn't even let me help her eat, she'd always squirm away and eventually stopped eating from my hand.
    Anyway, I think it is okay for you to remove the food dish for now and let her digest the food. The crop should be near empty or empty by morning. You can also let her try some yogurt/probiotics to help her with digestion, and maybe put some raw ACV in her water. I don't think she'd eat herself to death but it is still good that you're taking precautions. And good luck, I hope she lives a long life - she looks adorable!
  3. magicpigeon

    magicpigeon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2010
    You should keep her! I have never had an experience of birds eating to death - mind you my experience starts and finishes with rehabilitating street pigeons, they don't eat themselves to death, just to bursting point [​IMG]
  4. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    Well I put the food back in with her this morning and had to show her how to use it again [​IMG]. It's taking her a little longer than last night. She alternates between pecking for a few minutes and taking a sip of water. I felt her crop before I went back in the house and it felt about 1/2 full after about 30 minutes of being at the feeder. We'll see how she does! [​IMG]
  5. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    Quote:Well, she's probably not feeling quite as starved as last night, so not quite as urgent to stuff herself.

    I think most birds like that do just fine once both the owner and the bird figure out to how to work around the bill issue.

    Generally, its just what you discovered, keep a big, shallow, open dish of food that is easy for them to shovel in to the beak, and they do fine.

    They just can't peck and pick up small bits one at a time like a chicken with a normal beak, so the basic type of feeder with a small opening won't work.

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