Twisted chick beak

The first batch of chicks we bought at the farm store had 3 mystery chicks that I bought for half price. After we got the chicks home I noticed one of the mystery chicks had a twisted beak. We both groaned because we now had an animal that possibly needs to be culled. It seemed to eat and drink okay so we just let it stay with the rest of them.

Today when I went out to watch the chicks I picked up Twisted Beak to look at her closer. Her beak had gotten worse. We looked it up online and it seems a twisted beak (also called a scissor beak condition) doesn’t get better. It is recommended to cull the bird right away. If you keep a bird with a twisted beak you have to trim and file it’s beak and feed it smaller food in a deep container. The bird won’t be as big and sometimes other chickens will start to pick on it because it looks different.

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23 Responses to Twisted chick beak

  1. Debbie says:

    We had one with this condition a couple of years ago. We called her “Crooked Beak”. She seemed to do fine. Ate well, drank well and lived well.

  2. Ann says:

    Oh NOES!!! Let Twistie liiiiiveeee! I’d be a terrible chicken care-giver. She’d end up in the house, sleeping in a cat bed, probably. LOL.

    Can’t wait to see what happens…

    • robin says:

      Aw Ann, I don’t think Twistie is going to stay around. Her beak is just too bad. If we only had a few pet chickens then it would be easier to baby her along.

      I could see you with a chicken inside sleeping on a cat bed though. Cute.

      • Ann says:

        I can see myself with chickens in the house, I am such a bleeding heart. The previous owners here kept their chickens as pets, and the hard-core, 4th generation farmers in the area would all comment they were nuts when they drove by and caught sight of chickens in the window.

        • robin says:

          LOL. Well there is nothing wrong with having chickens as pets. In fact, you can get chicken diapers if you don’t want a mess on your floor. 🙂

  3. Heather says:

    My new batch this year ended up with a crossed beak as well. She does well as long as the food is deep enough. She can’t seem to do pellets, but I can’t bring myself to cull her. So far, she’s holding her own.

    • robin says:

      Our first batch of chicks we got there was a sick one Lee had to put down. It’s really hard to do when they are chicks. If her beak wasn’t so bad I would probably just let her be. On the other hand, if her genetics are that bad then she might be a lousy layer.

  4. Becky says:

    When I was a kid this happened to a couple of my mom’s chicks. If I recall correctly, one did just fine but the other didn’t gain weight and eventually my dad had to kill it. My mom was such a soft touch that she was all for keeping it and feeding it mashed up food out of an eyedropper but eventually my dad’s more practical streak prevailed. Morbid question – when you have to cull how do you kill them?

    • lee says:

      Morbid but relevant. I had the same question and went searching online. We’ve butchered adult chickens before, but the only chick we have culled was extremely sick. The least traumatic option was to put them in a confined space with ether (found in most engine starter fluid) which will knock a chick out in a couple seconds. There are lots of other suggestions which range from the fast but unpleasant (kitchen shears) to rather inhumane (drowning).

  5. Lynn says:

    It’s always something, isn’t it? Good luck. I know people will want you to keep it. The longer you keep it, the more attached to it you will become. Personally, right now, I say cull it now. I would want to, so i don’t have to cull it later when it’s not getting the nourishment that it needs and it is weak or sick. But if it can eat ok, well, maybe it’ll have a chance to be a normal hen. Glad it’s not my decision! 🙂

    • robin says:

      We are going to cull it Lynn. It’s beak is so bad. We haven’t done it yet because it’s a downer on the day. I don’t envy Lee that task. 🙁

  6. what a shame..looks sort of like a pirates parrot. too bad

    • robin says:

      OMG, great minds think alike. I thought that too!!! This is really awful, but if we did keep the chick I was going to name it T.B. (twisted beak shortened).

  7. Benita says:

    I don’t envy you the task, but, like you said, this isn’t a pet but an integral part of your farm and you don’t want it passing those genes on to future chicks. Culling is never easy for the farmer, but it is necessary for the farm.

  8. Lynn says:

    Is the sad deed done?

    • robin says:

      Yup, Lee did it a few days ago when he was in a blah mood. He didn’t tell me about it until the next day so it wouldn’t bring my mood down. Poor little messed up chick. 🙁

  9. Ginger says:

    I had one this year too, a Black copper Maran no less. I tried to nurse her along, but at 4 months she was tall, frail, and weighed nothing. What was amazing is she looked fine one day and then she didn’t when she was about 2 months old.

    • lee says:

      That’s interesting that your chick started off normal and then the beak went crooked. I would have guessed it was a defect that showed immediately. Culling chickens is one of those tasks that I put off because its unpleasant but then feel guilty for putting off. Sorry to hear that yours didn’t really improve.

  10. Kassidy says:

    I have a chicken like that and it doesn’t seem to get worse yet but I really need to do something about this but I really don’t want to cull it because I would be to heartbroken but anyways I really don’t know how to cull a chick I need help but I don’t want the baby chick to suffer

    • lee says:

      As the comments show, some chickens do okay with condition and many do not. You can search Backyard Chicken Forums for a variety of suggestions on how to cull baby chicks. Ether is probably the least traumatic.

  11. Jane says:

    I’ve got 25 chicks two weeks ago. One had a mild beak deformity. Three weeks later
    It’s awful, you can see her tiny tongue. She’s eating and drinking and is the same size as the others. I just cannot Kill her when she seems to be getting along with the others. I guess it will have to Happen if she starts to struggle. I hate that. But if she does ok, how often do I have To trim her beak? Can I nip a bit off the bottom?

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