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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How much do you trim off, just the pointy tip? Can you use dog nail trimmers or do you have to have something special? My chicks are starting to peck each other occasionally and the adult hens peck at each other too.
 

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I dont file or cut their beaks. They do that on their own when the rub their beaks back and forth on things. If you have a picking issue, instead of trimming thier beaks give them more room.
 

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I'd only use a dremel to correct a problem. Beaks are very vascular and if you cut them, they can bleed for a very very long time. I imagine its painful too.
 

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In 3 years, I've never trimmed my girls beaks. Not worth the risk of making a bigger problem than what they started with. Chickens are pretty efficient at taking care of things like that themselves. Won't fix the pecking problem. That's just something chickens do as they re-establish pecking order periodically which does change even amongst themselves without new additions.
 

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If pecking is getting to the point where the birds are injuring each other, you might want to think about increasing the space allotted to the birds.

That being said, some chickens' beaks do get long, and need to be trimmed. I found our Dutch Bantams in particular needed their beaks trimmed regularly for some reason. But as Energyvet says, be VERY careful, as they do have veins and if you nick a quick in a beak, you're going to have blood a'gushin'!

I wrote an article on my website about beak trimming, which you can see here: http://www.pathfindersfarm.com/Beaktrim.html

Here are the steps:

Trimming a Chickens' Beak for Shows

It's not hard to trim your chickens beak, as long as you
take your time. This article will show you how.

What you'll need:

  • A pair of dog or cat nail clippers.
  • A nail file.
  • Blood stop, cayenne pepper, or flour.
  • A towel for your lap.
  • A chair or stool to sit on.

Remove the chicken whose beak you wish to trim from its
pen. Sit on a chair or stool in a bright place with your
tools assembled near you. Put a towel over your lap to
keep yourself clean, and to wrap the bird in if needed.

Open your chicken's mouth gently, by pressing on the
sides of the mouth. Sometimes you must hold their heads,
as some birds don't like having their beaks clipped. With
male birds that have larger combs, you can hold onto the
comb with one hand and clip with the other.

Using the dog or cat clippers, gently clip a small amount
of the top half of the beak (the bottom half generally
doesn't need to be trimmed.) Doing this in small steps
works best, you don't want to go too far, as beaks have a
"quick" just like toes on a dog or cat. In some birds you
can see the quick, in those with darker beaks you cannot.

Clip the top half of the beak squarely, so that it is just
slightly longer than the bottom half. Then take your nail
file, and gently round the edges so that it follows the
natural shape of the beak. You can follow up with a slight
polish of baby oil if you'd like, but it's not required to do
so.

If you cut too far and the beak starts to bleed, gather
some Styptic Powder, Blood Stop, cayenne pepper, or
flour in your fingers and place it against the bleeding end.
You will need to apply pressure here for several minutes,
you don't want to put a bleeding bird back in a pen with
other birds, who might attack it when they see blood
(chickens can be like that!)

Hope that helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for all the helpful information. It's probably a space issue but we're in the process of building them a bigger coop and its still too cold to turn them loose in the yard. I have a smaller coop already for the 7 adult chickens and the 2 adult ducks we've got but its not big enough to add in all the young ones we've got now. I have the young ones in a ginormous wire dog crate in the house until the bigger coop is done. I decided to try something I had read so I cut some varying lengths of yarn and hung them from the top of the crates. It seems to be occupying them fairly well and I haven't seen them pecking each other quite as much. :)
 

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Another fun toy for young birds is to hang a head of cabbage from the ceiling of their pen. It gives them something to peck at besides each other, and is good for them to eat as well. Plus, cabbage is cheap! :D
 

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Beware. I've heard stories of strangling with anything that hangs. I would never hang anything in with my birds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think they're alright. The strings aren't very long and they have to hop (or in the case of Katniss jump) to peck at the strings. Working in the coop today so hopefully can get it completely finished and put em in it tonight. :) they'll be glad to have much more room.
 

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I agree with Energyvet. I am constantly on the lookout for things in and around the chicken yard that my birds can get themselves in trouble with. The ducks aren't too bad about it, but my chickens and geese seem to look for trouble. `
I have a two year old hen with a severe crossbeak and skull deformity. We use a dog nail trimmers to clip off the end. Hard to do with a black beaked hen, but after two years we've gotten to be old pros at it and thankfully she cooperates well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I finally gave in and said screw it and put them in the pen with the big chickens. Better for them to be a bit cramped in a kids playhouse-turned-coop for a few days than cramped in the crate. The 2 ducks, 6 silver lace wyandottes and 5 araucanas were just getting too big for the crate I had em in. It was fine and roomy when I first got em. :p they're loving being able to run around outside in the section of yard we have fenced in for the chickens pen and the 7 adult chickens and 2 adult ducks seem to be getting along pretty well. The remaining chicks; 4 brahmas, 2 cherry eggers, 2 RIR, 2 black australorps, and 1 banty all got moved from their smaller crate to the big one. They haven't outgrown the old crate yet but figured might as well move em since the others are outside now. Hen house is coming along well and should be finished in a day or two. :)
 

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Bird_slave said:
I agree with Energyvet. I am constantly on the lookout for things in and around the chicken yard that my birds can get themselves in trouble with. The ducks aren't too bad about it, but my chickens and geese seem to look for trouble. `
I have a two year old hen with a severe crossbeak and skull deformity. We use a dog nail trimmers to clip off the end. Hard to do with a black beaked hen, but after two years we've gotten to be old pros at it and thankfully she cooperates well.
I recently became the owner of a silkie roo who's beak is severely deformed. The person I got him from didn't mention it until I had them loaded up and they said " one of them has a crooked beak but it hasn't slowed him down at all". It's bad. Can I cut his beak and how to do that. Because he is black beaked.
 

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I recently became the owner of a silkie roo who's beak is severely deformed. The person I got him from didn't mention it until I had them loaded up and they said " one of them has a crooked beak but it hasn't slowed him down at all". It's bad. Can I cut his beak and how to do that. Because he is black beaked.
Yes, you can trim his beak and depending on the severity of the cross, it will help him tremendously (to eat and put on weight).

We use a pair of dog nail clippers that have a guard behind the opening so you we can't accidently take too much at once. It's a two person job to do it safely. Have someone hold the head while you clip, Mind the tongue, as our girl pokes her tongue every which way while we trim.

Start by taking a very small amount at a time, a millimeter or so, check for bleeding, take a bit more. Have some cornstarch handy to dip the beak in should it start bleeding.

The object is to get the two beaks into as close alignment as you can but you won't be able to do that in one session, if you can at all.

Something else we found that helps the crossbeak to eat is a deep dish for their food.

(Sorry inunokanojo, didn't mean to hijack your thread).
 
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