Chicken beaks can break and even fall off in some cases. They use their beaks to perform various tasks, including eating, grasping, communicating, and drinking. Therefore, a broken beak will cause severe stress to your chicken as it cannot perform any of the above tasks.
Chickens can easily injure their beaks due to their curiosity and pecking nature. The injury may be a simple chip or a fracture on the lower or upper beak. On the same note, the damage may be severe, causing the beak to partially or entirely remove itself from its holding structure. A severe injury will hinder the chicken from feeding, which can cause starvation or death.
Understanding the nitty and gritty of beaks, the causes of broken beaks, and how to take care of your chicken if they break their beaks is crucial.
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What can break a chicken’s beak?
As you know, chickens use their beaks to perform many tasks, including attacking other chickens or predators. Therefore, there is always a high probability of chickens breaking their beaks. Mostly, chickens experience minor break injuries, but sometimes, they can be fatal.
The chickens can break their beaks or cause minor injuries when they attack predators, squabble with other chickens, or collide with hard objects. More so, the damage may result from getting their beaks stuck between things like gaps in their chicken coops or while exploring and digging.
Among all the causes, fighting with other chickens remains the most common cause of chicken beak injuries. You can prevent this by providing the chicken with adequate feeds and water to avoid fighting over these resources. Also, avoid overcrowding chickens in one coop and give them enough “personal” space.
How to fix an injured chicken beak
Before you decide on the best way of fixing your chicken’s broken beak, you need to examine it and determine if the injury is minor or severe. If it is just a tiny crack, you don’t have to find any solution since the beak will grow back and repair itself.
However, if the beak is severely injured, causing a partial or entire removal of the beak, you need to take immediate action. You can contact a veterinary officer to assist you if the injury seems severe and out of your capabilities.
If the injury is manageable, start by stopping the bleeding from the wounds, cleaning them, and treating them. You can use medicated powders that help in blood clotting and preventing bleeding.
For a broken beak with a fallen chip, you need to fix it back using the following procedure:
- Clean the affected area and let it dry completely
- Cut a patch from an empty teabag. The patch should be slightly larger than the broken part.
- Place adequate superglue on the patch you’ve cut out.
- Place the broken piece of the beak into the affected area, ensuring that it fits correctly, then place the moist patch over it.
- Wait for the glue to dry, then add another thin layer of glue over it using a cotton swab and let it dry.
If the damage deformed the shape of the beak, you could trim them back to shape using nail clippers. More so, if there are rough edges, smoothen them using a nail file before letting them go. Always keep examining the chicken until the beak has grown back completely.
Broken beak with exposed tissue
Your chicken’s beak will be severely injured at times, causing its tissue to be exposed. When that’s the case, you should first take it away from the rest of the flock. Due to the blood, other chickens will peck the injured chicken resulting in more pain and injury.
Next, clean the reddish part using Vetericyn spray, Betadine, or Hydrogen Peroxide to ensure that the red tissue is no longer visible. For the next couple of days, keep applying the wound cleaner weekly until the wound heals.
If the injury breaks the chicken’s beak severely when it attaches to the skull, it requires specialized treatment using anti-inflammatories or antibiotics. When this happens, focus on preventing the bleeding until the veterinarian examines the chicken to prescribe the proper medication and treatment procedure.
How to feed a chicken with a broken beak
Chicken with injured or broken beaks experiences difficulty in their feeding process. You should provide them with adequate water and regular feeds. Do not offer them feeds they do not normally eat as it may cause digestive problems.
To help them eat, mix their feed with water to form a wet mash. Always clean the leftovers to avoid mold growing on the feed and replace it with a well-mixed mash.
Do chicken beaks grow back?
Cracked or injured chicken beaks usually grow back and heal entirely with proper care and treatment. It is always advisable to take care of the chicken with the injured beak while away from the rest of the flock to avoid more injuries that will hinder it from growing back.
Lastly, prevention is better than cure. Always be observant with your chickens to prevent injuring themselves or their beaks. You should also ensure that you have contacts of nearby veterinarians who you can call in case of emergencies.
Understanding chicken beaks
The chickens’ beaks comprise a tough and insoluble protein layer known as keratin. This rigid layer is also in hooves, horns, and human fingernails. As you’ve already observed, the beak has two parts:
- Maxillary rostrum: The upper part of the beak
- Mandibular rostrum: The bottom part of the beak
The maxillary rostrum is typically longer than the bottom part of the beak. The two parts are then connected to the chicken skull, attaching and receiving blood supply. At the meeting point of the beak and skull, numerous nerves and blood vessels make it super sensitive to pain and can lead to severe bleeding if injured.
The beak’s outer tip has no nerves or blood vessels, making it safe to trim without causing any bleeding or pain. The beaks, just like your fingernails, keep growing, and therefore they require proper maintenance.