Elly: The Crooked Crevcouer

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One, wet Spring day, I got a birthday present. That present was 4, small crested variety chicks (one Golden-Laced Polish and 3 Crevcouers). I brought the bunch of chicks home on my lap. They were not the healthiest chicks I’d had: one was half the size of the others (for its first several months of life), two got Pasted Vents and one… (who almost died when I brought her home) turned out to have a twisted beak… I called her Elly… 

… A twisted beak is a defect that is not highly common but not extremely unusual. Usually, the slight twisting is barely noticeable in the chick’s early growth stages… but as the chicken grows, the twist in its beak becomes increasingly more pronounced.

chick-twisted-beak-chickenAbove: Scrub, Marion, Cricket and Elly. (Elly is the one in the back to the far right.) At this point, they had definitely outgrown the box and only stayed in it at night.

Against the Odds…

The survival rate for chicks with the twisted beak defect is extremely low… If the chicks do not die within their first week or two, they are often euthanized because their lives become increasingly cumbersome and awkward. Chickens with defective beaks require a little extra care than average and, in large flocks, may get bullied and picked on, making them not profitable, convenient or humane for large-scale egg farmers to keep…

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I spent nearly every waking moment (and sleeping moments as well because the chicks where in a box in my room) with those peeps. However, Elly’s beak defect was so subtle that I did not even notice it until the chicks where about 1 week old…

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A Second Chance…

I was very unsure on what to do… what is best for the chicken? Can it have a decant, functional life? Can it live and be okay? After careful consideration… I decided to let her grow… To give her at least a chance and see what would come of it. She didn’t seem to be bothered by her difference anyhow…

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Although it is a common issue with handicapped chicks, Elly never suffered picking or bullying. She was raised in a big box with 3 companions and let out-side under my watch when the weather permitted. Nobody needed to compete for space. I also kept the box clean and supplied small amounts of fresh food and water on a frequent basis… God seemed to favor my little friend and she grew… and grew… and grew…

But as she grew, so did her beak… However, although she became a little awkward and had more trouble picking up objects than the others, she never seemed to be in any pain. I mixed her food with water (about 1 to 1 ratio) to make what I dubbed, the “peep mush”…. Which Elly thoroughly enjoys.

chicken-black-crooked-crevcouer-ellyAbove: Elly as of now

A Little Friend…

Partially because I gave her an extra hand here and there, little Elly became quite familiar with me and still comes running whenever she sees me.

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Elly does very well now. She is a little over 5 months old at the present and is as healthy as a chicken can be… She eats very well and is very beautiful (I still think that in spite of her twist). I am expecting Elly’s first egg soon. I will post a picture when I find it in the nest box. 😃

… Yes, she needs a few things that the others don’t need… but nothing hard: Just lots of peep mush, dust (to make up for her inability to preen properly) and some TLC… But that’s about it… She is happy, healthy and a joy to watch. 😉🐓

chicken-crooked-beak-eating-grassAbove: Elly eating the grass clippings from the freshly mowed lawn… She may have a handicapped  but it doesn’t seem to affect her thinker. She figures out ways to grab things even with her twisted feature.

chicken-black-backside-white-tipped-wingAbove: Elly has another unique feature that she has not yet seemed to have outgrown: She has white-tipped wings… an oddity for a Crevcouer.

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