The following is a collection of
recommendations and inputs, bird owners, breeders and some vets ... Please
discuss applicability to your own pet's health problem. The Avianweb will not
accept liability for anyone's failure to consult with a vet. Please refer to disclaimer.
A cracked beak is like a broken
tooth and as bone and nerve endings are connected to the beak, such injuries are
The beak has an abundant blood supply, so any beak injury is
likely to cause excessive bleeding. With a puncture, fracture or amputated beak
you will need to apply pressure to stop the bleeding. You need to contact an
emergency clinic or your avian vet as soon as possible -- but do not wait longer
than 24 hours!
A cracked beak won't grow together, but will grow out
Amputated or torn off beaks, as well as fractured beaks,
will not grow back, but can be repaired.
Course of action depends on the type of bird and degrees of
severity of the injury. A vet visit is recommended.
Depending on the
severity, a vet may glue and bandage a broken / cracked beak. The bird will be
sore for a couple of days
One web visitor recommended: "If it's small
and doesn't seem to bother your bird and doesn't bleed, leave it alone and it
will simply grow out like a chipped fingernail.
One suggestion was to
superglue a broken beak, however, most glues are toxic. This is not recommended.
Make sure you have some cuttlebones
or calcium / mineral blocks for your bird to rub on. So it can naturally trim
The risks of a cracked beak may involve possible infection or
the bird's disability to eat properly. If cracked a little higher or deeper,
your pet may be gushing drops of blood from the beak tip. In many ways this is
another case of high blood pressure making the bleeding worse. But a deeply
split beak may cause a bird to bleed to death. It is not the pain, but the
unstoppable bleeding that you must concern yourself with. The end of the beak
can be "corked" or plugged using a mass of softened soap. Scrape this from the
underside of a bar of soap from the bathroom. This technique can also be used as
first aid for a bleeding nail. This is considered an emergency and your pet
should immediately be taken to a vet.
More resources on this topic
If the beak is torn off or the outer layers are
damaged, the underlying tissues may begin to dry out. The wound can be rinsed
with sterile saline (preservative-free contact lens solution is perfect for
situations such as this) to flush out any debris and to help keep the tissue
moist until your bird can be evaluated by your veterinarian. Do not be
aggressive with flushing, and do not remove the beak if it is partially
Your vet may your bird's beak or wire
it together, and covering the injury with a beak composite cast until il
regrows. At the hospital, the bird may need to be fed with a feeding tube and,
while the beak grows back, your bird will need soft or moistened food.
Long Term Care:
With a minor beak injury, supportive care, appropriate
antimicrobials and pain medication and time to heal may be all that is necessary
until the defect grows out. With larger injuries, light cured composites or
dental acrylic can be used to patch the area until the beak grows back.
A fracture to the beak can be repaired, if the blood
supply is still good. Some beak injuries result in permanent, disfiguring
damage, requiring the bird to eat soft foods for the rest of its life, but other
injuries may heal quite well allowing the bird to return to normal beak
Beak Injuries or Loss:
birds will suffer beak injuries during the course of their lives. The upper and
lower beaks are vulnerable to trauma and will often fracture as a result. Such
injuries are orthopedic in nature. Beaks will not grow back nor repair
themselves. (Photo to the right -- a "human-made" beak mutilation to control
behavioral problems. A deplorable practice)
case I have followed of a Bald Eagle whose upper beak was torn off was resolved
by a dentist, who made a dental impression of a healthy beak, reproduced the
beak with the same materials used for our teeth -- and he successfully attached
the beak -- allowing the Bald Eagle to function normally. I have also heard of
beaks being repaired / rebuild with acrylics ... the same material used for
Holistic First Aid Recommendation:
Do not place back with the cage mate. Give homeopathic Arnica for shock
and bleeding. (Ref.: Holistic Birds)
Minor beak injuries may heal well after they have been
cleaned. Large or deep beak wounds can be cleaned and patched with acrylic. The
patch not only protects the wound from infection but also adds stability. BIrds
with severe beak injury may require supportive care with fluids and tube feeding, and the administration of antibiotics and antifungals.
The horny beak or bill (rhamphotheca) is a
hard, tough, keratinised epidermal structure in birds of prey, as well as seed
and grass eaters. In waterfowl such as ducks, geese and swans
(Anatidae) the beak is much thinner and softer The
rhamphotheca is a modified horny layer consisting of layers of
flattened keratin-filled cells, separated from the bones of the upper and lower
jaws by a thin, fibrous dermis. The beak's strength is dependent on the
particular arrangement conferred by a layer of keratin on a firm bed of
The beak will heal by a process of
granulation and epithelialisation, much as with any other epidermal tissue.
However, there are practical problems in that the beak will be regularly
immersed under water and into food bowls. The objective of any wound management
plan should be to keep the wound clean and moist to facilitate the spread of
granulation tissue over the exposed bone and protect the bone from dessication.
The use of a waterproof dressing is indicated. Products such as the protective
paste (Orabase) are resistant to water and can be used to pack the wound cavity.
Hydrocolloid dressings can then be applied over the wound to provide further
protection. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are
indicated until a healthy bed of granulation tissue is established. The
rhamphotheca has a good blood supply and will heal well. This can be
relied upon when performing surgery on the upper beak.
Small insectivorous birds with
an apparent inability to digest cornstarch
*Anorexia with slowed gastrointestinal emptying time *As a
dietary transition for recovering patients * Medical and surgical patients
that are recovering from pansystemic failure *For debilitated or injured
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