Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
I have a baby chick (hen) that has an uneven beak. The top is not meeting the bottom. I am hoping someone can tell me what this is called? And what to do?
I appreciate the help. All my contacts who could help me are on facebook and I cannot get in touch with them. My facebook account suddenly disappeared, out of the blue. No kind of warning at all. No email was sent to me...it just vanished. Just be warned, if you're like me and you keep mailing addresses, recipes, links, articles and friends, including messages --- it can all vanish one day. Just. Like. That.
I'm frantic about this chicken's beak. I think she is about 19 days old, give or take 3 days.
Also have one baby chick who is not growing like the rest are. Is there something I can do for her? Is there any reason I wouldn't give a baby chicken coconut water or goats milk? Can chicken eat things like oregano? I will not use pharmaceutical or industrial medicines or feed so I am looking for some alternative that would offer nutrients. I don't guess they are eating at this stage, nothing more than the feed. I take them outside, they peck at the ground but probably not eating. They are still being kept inside a big rubbermade container with a light at night. They like it outside but become frantic at the thoughts of me or the kids going inside for even a minute. Too cute!!!
Thanks for any suggestions!
There are a lot of deformities that can happen to a chicken's beak. Many times they can learn to live with it, but if it stops them from being able to eat, then unfortunately nature will make it's selection. Don't be discouraged though. We had a chicken from a hatchery one time whose top beak was completely twisted and curved around the bottom beak. I thought for sure it would die, but it figured out how to eat - first grain in the brood house and then it went on to free-ranging just fine. I bet your chicken will figure things out too.
If it's an over or under-bite it's relatively common in poultry and people trim the beak back so it aligns and doesn't obstruct feeding.
Thanks so much! I've been reading about it. I think this is our rooster so I'm gonna refer to him as a "him". I plan on letting him have his own special bowls for food and water. He is trying but it takes him forever. I feel so bad for him. His beak is totally off - not just an overbite. I am waiting to hear from the vet - if its not too much I'll take him in and let them show me how to file it if that's what's needed. He's still so little that I feel its better to get it filed now and try to maintain the filing on a regular basis. It looked worse this morning! :(
Hi there, Abitcrunchy...
I need to know what your goals are here in order to be able to answer productively. Is this a pet? Is it a "utility" animal? Are you planning on breeding?
Sadly, what your little one has is called "scissor beak" It is a birth defect, the result of a bloodline that is far too narrow, genetically speaking. Do not plan on using him as a breeder. You will only breed in the problem to your line. If this is a bird for utility purposes, then I would recommend you cull.
But all these little ones have a way of working themselves into our hearts, and I know each one is precious. Throughout his life you will have to trim the top beak back or he may not be able to eat and will ultimately starve.
If the one that is failing to thrive is from the same batch I would guess that you have too narrow of a blood line happening. I would cull this one too. I know it sounds cruel, but you really are reducing suffering on an emotional level, and on a financial level, saving money on feed that could go to "waste" on a bird that isn't going to make it down the road.
I breed for sustainability...disease resistance, strong bloodlines, foraging capabilities and natural predator evasion...but many of my birds are also very much pets. I honor them all.
I am so sorry about your FB acct and I gasped when I read your note about it. You can take a look at us there...do a search for Yellow Rose Ranch CA...we have about a million birds...well...about 200, really, but sometimes it feels like a million
I'm unsure of the meaning of "utility" purposes. We have hens for laying eggs and he is the rooster (I think). We got two Black Australorps, two Americanas, three Barred Rocks and two Buff Orpingtons. Cooper, the one who doesn't seem to be growing is an Americana. The crossed beak one is a Black Australorps. I'm not sure how to tell who's the rooster so we may be calling Maggie "Rex" and vice-versa. The one with the crossed beak is a big larger, born on the same day.
I know that a lot of deformities and retardation is caused by environmental issues that we don't often track and verify. So whenever I hear "genetic" I have that distrust in the back of my mind. It could be genetic, but I worry that it was caused by the thermometer he was pecking at. It broke and it was one of the cheap ones with mercury. :(
Yeah, the FB thing was weird. Out of the blue. I am an activist but have not been debating with anyone for a while. It's common among those who argue with shills, but I had not been doing that in over a year. :( I had relied on FB for so much!!!
Sorry about that, Abitcrunchy...I tend to coin my own terms..."utility" in my mind is "having a working purpose." I have breeder or pet goats for reproduction and my personal enjoyment and I have "utiity" goats that may end up sold (for food) or on my own table. Because you are consuming the eggs I would consider them "utility" unless they have tugged at your heart strings and then they are also either breeders and/or pets. The offspring of any breeder/pet I have are more than likely going to be "utility" birds.
You bring up an EGGCELLENT point in regard to environmental toxicity. We are equally opposed to such things...we use no pesticides around here, pursuing a far more natural cycle of life to keep the grounds clean. I avoid western medicine and gravitate to herbal and natural alternatives. That said, I too am concerned about the issue with the mercury. In future, don't bother with a thermometer in the brooder at all. If the chicks are in a close knit bundle, piled on top of one another and/or chirping shrilly, they are too cold. If they are crying, trying to stay away from the light, panting with mouths open, or heaven forbid belly up on their backs, they are too hot. If they are quiet, sleeping a bit apart from one another or otherwise going about the business of learning to eat and drink, they are just right
Mercury poisoning. We know this is an issue at minimum with reproduction. I don't think it was the mercury that caused this little guys problem..my best guess is that it is genetic, too narrow a family tree...I have seen this pop up when a sibling is bred to a sibling, for example. But it would not be my first choice to have a chick exposed to mercury sire my line of birds that I am going to be eating their eggs or offspring from. And I would NEVER give my clients, who are often purchasing eggs from me for medical necessity, eggs from such an accident.
How to euthanize a chick humanely:
Go buy a can of automotive starter fluid. This is ether. Get an old plastic sealable container (I use the pilsberry frosting containers) Spray a heavy amount of ether on an old piece of rag and place in the container. Honor your chick for teaching you all that it has and place inside. Put the lid on. Check in an hour to make sure it went to sleep and passed on.
If you do choose to cull, I am very sorry for your loss. It never really gets easy, and I have raised hundreds of birds. I don't think it ever should be easy.
If you do not intend to breed or eat the little australorp then I would try to keep him if he is in your heart. You never know...he could manage ok, especially with a little extra care and attention from you.
Good luck to you and your homesteading adventure....
I had a crossbilled chick once. It was struggling to eat and not growing like it should. I chose to cull it. Sadly, the reality of farm life is that sometimes we have to cull animals. Once upon a time it would have pained me to have to cull a chick. Now I find that I have to do it once a year or so. It does make me sad, but I just had to stop getting attached to animals. Especially livestock and poultry. I do what I can for them but I cannot justify going to extreme lengths to ensure the survival of an animal that won't produce for me. Feed is costly and I cannot afford an animal that isn't earning it's keep, so to speak.
That being said, if your chick continues to grow and you can afford to have a handicapped bird that may not give you anything (except the joy you get from watching it scratch around the yard) then that is wonderful. But you may find that the other birds pick on it incessantly because it is weak, or it may not thrive. In which case you are faced with a difficult decision. It is very hard the first time but it does get easier the more often you do it. I hope that your bird thrives and you do not have to make a hard decision.
I'm really freaked out about the mercury. Of course the FDA says a little won't hurt ya...never mind there's no studies on cumulative amounts <eye roll>. It was only a small thermometer but how much is too much? I broke one of those lightbulbs when we were remodeling and it didn't bother any of us, or the workers. I had no idea how toxic they were. I cleaned it up and left it in a trash can where it stayed for weeks.
I can't deal with the thought of culling. Not right now, he's eating so I'll be patient...even the little one, Cooper is eating and drinking today, just not growing still. :( Both are still active and still eating...Rex (with the cross-beak) is always eating and drinking. Or maybe he's always trying to eat and drink.
I thank you both for your input. I just got back from an introduction to Chinese Medicine class given by Patricia Kyritsi Howell. I smiled when I read your post Yellow Rose. (Then I got to the part about culling and stopped smiling of course. ) This class barely touched on the intro. I had no idea there was so much to learn but I'm totally into it! I have also signed up for a class on Homepathy and my 12 yr old is taking a class on foraging for foods and medicines. I hope he'll get interested in it and want to learn more...fingers crossed. :)
Thanks! His beak is worse but he's still eating and drinking. Our other chick, a hen (Cooper) is finally showing signs of growth. :)