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#14330 - 03/19/05 08:17 AM Chick with crooked beak

Hello there! We ordered our chicks from the local hatchery this year and got a nice batch of little ones in recently. They're in great health and everything is fine except for one of our babies having a crooked beak. Her top and bottom beak don't line up at all. She's done really well so far but we're concerned about the future. Does anyone have any suggestions about preserving her life and health and providing adequate food for her? My girls are the chicken farmers and they adore their birds...we would never just "give up" on a little one because of a simple problem. We'd love to do whatever is best for her to ensure a long and productive life of egg laying. Thanks!

#14331 - 03/19/05 03:47 PM Re: Chick with crooked beak
Bill Ludwig Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 2582
Loc: Ohio
Your bird can live a good life but she may need a little help now and then. You may have to trim the beak some times. Use the search at top right of page and search for crooked beak. You will find many posts on this from people who have delt with it. Good luck!

Bill L

#14332 - 03/19/05 09:53 PM Re: Chick with crooked beak
Tucson Chickens Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 09/07/04
Posts: 320
Loc: Arizona
I had a chicken with a crooked beak, just as you described. We trimmed it for a while with nail clippers, a little on the sides a little on the front, but have not done so in 6 months. It is now over a year old and happy and healthy. It does fine because it manages to eat with a crooked beak. Some chickens cannot eat because their beaks are so off, thus they end up starving. As long as your's can eat and the beak does not "over-grow" so that it is REALLY off or there is an over bite which prevents it from opening its beak, it should be fine. Just watch it.

#14333 - 03/23/05 10:05 AM Re: Chick with crooked beak

I also have a Welsomer who was going "cheap" because of a crooked beak, I have to trim it occasionally as it doesn't wear down but although she's a bit funny looking she lays lovely dark brown eggs.

#14334 - 03/23/05 12:52 PM Re: Chick with crooked beak
Tiffany Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 08/19/04
Posts: 394
Loc: Texas
I was one of the unforturnate ones, I had a chick born with a crooked beak and the more he grew the more the beak turned to the side. I kept it trimmed but it didn't help. I had to hand feed him for 8 mos. before I lost him. I would mix up (people) babyfood w/ the ceral and make a very soft mash so he could scoop up and put head back to swallow. This was so hard on him and he would lose his breath and almost pass out at times. Friends thought I was crazy because he slept on my night stand where I could here him breath or gasp.

#14335 - 04/10/05 07:09 PM Re: Chick with crooked beak

Cover your heart strings, because I am caluse when it comes to controllable genetic defects.

While I do not think you will be putting down your chick, it is really the right thing to do. That chicken will require extra care. That equates to depending on you or your children to constantly fix its beak to be able to survive or live close to "normal." Children often do not keep up with this. Heck, even some adults can't keep up with it. But this is not the real reason for putting it down.

The real reason is the fact that this bird is genetically predisposed to dying. And it is genetically predisposed to effecting future generations of birds. If she has the ability to lay fertile eggs, there is a high probability (probably 100%) that she will pass on the genes if her eggs are hatched. And because the gene can act recessive, the gene can propogate unseen through a whole line. The immediate response from people is "well, I would never breed her anyways." The fact is, many do get bred and many do hatch out future generations of defects.

With this said, every chicken has a bad gene waiting to come out and we don't put down every bird. The point is, this defect comes out a lot and it is a bad one.

As breeders of poultry we all have a responsibility to propagate healthy chickens that can self-propogate without a lot of assistence. Mother nature teaches us that this is what has to be. We create many birds that would never make it in the wild and we don't put them down, so why these birds? The reason is simple, it has a severe well-known genetic mutation that can be controlled by selective breeding and culling. Every time we reduce the number of "bad" genes, we create a more secure environment for future generations of birds. Had the breeder of your chicks followed this procedure, we would not even have to waste our time talking about it and you would have a complete flock of healthy birds.

Good luck with it if you decide to keep it. Hopefully it will never have chicks. I would also inform the breeder that they are hatching out chicks with cross-beaks. They need to know this so they can fix their breeding program.


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