Goose with Injured / Broken Beak – What Should You Do?
Everyone, even people that do not farm poultry, understands the importance of a beak to a bird. For geese, this is the instrument they use to eat, clean themselves, deal with predators and communicate. It is thus important to ensure that your animals have a beak that is in excellent condition and that can serve the purpose.
So, what happens in the case where you find your goose has damaged its beak? How do you address the situation? What are the potential effects of having this damaged beak? We try to answer these and many more questions in this article hoping that this information will prove useful to you as you look after your flock.
Why My Goose Lost a Portion of Its Beak?
This is the first question that pops into your mind when you encounter this issue. Some reasons may cause your goose to lose its beak. Here are 4 of the main common reasons that your goose may lose a portion of its beak.
Competition for finite resources can cause the geese to sustain injury to their beaks. This can be food, mates, and even feeding areas. The geese will attack each other, with this violence sometimes escalating to unhealthy levels. It is thus best to maintain a coop with adequate food, feeding areas, and a good male-to-female ratio to reduce infighting within your flock.
Coyotes, wild dogs, mongooses, and snakes are natural predators of geese. They attack them for their meat and eggs. As geese try to defend themselves using their most natural weapons, their beaks, and clawed feed, they may end up losing a section of their beak in the struggle.
You can address this by having a guard dog on the farm and ensuring that their enclosure is appropriately secured and cannot be accessed by these predators.
Things like falling debris, getting stepped on by bigger animals as they feed, and getting their beaks caught on sharp objects are some reasons that your goose may lose a section of its beak. These are natural things that you have little control over and can happen at any time even if you are very careful.
The best alternative is to keep your geese in a location separate from bigger farm animals and provide them with enough room to roam.
– Lack of Space
Crowding is not good for your geese, especially if they are confined. It is one of the reasons that your goose may lose a portion of its beak or suffer an injury to the beak. As they are cramped in a small space, they are bound to fight, rub against the cage and also try to escape in search of comfort.
These actions could result in injury to and a loss of a section of the beak. It is recommended that you have at least six square feet of space per adult geese in your coop.
How to Stop the Bleeding of My Goose’s Beak?
If you notice that your goose is bleeding from its beak, how do you address this situation? Before you even think of a vet, you need to administer first aid to your bird to prevent excessive blood loss and alleviate some of the pain. This will make it less hostile during transportation to the vet.
A bleeding beak must be treated immediately. It is thus advisable that all geese owners keep a styptic pencil and some powdered clotting agents in a first aid kit for their poultry.
If the bleeding is minor, then a soft cloth or gauze wrapped tightly around the beak should offer immediate relief. Severe bleeding may need application of the styptic pencil or application of the clotting agent to stem the bleeding.
It is good to keep an eye on the bird after the application of these agents and wash them off gently with cold water to prevent the goose from ingesting the agents. This should be done after clothing has occurred on the damaged beak.
Can a Goose Survive with a Broken Beak?
Yes, a goose can survive with a broken beak. This is however dependent on how you handle the situation. There are several blood vessels in the beak as well as nerves. As a result of this, damage to the beak tends to cause significant pain and bleeding to a goose.
This causes a lot of discomfort for the bird making it unable to eat or move around and it will mostly just lay on the ground. If you address the situation early enough, then the goose can go back to its normal life. If not, the goose will weather away and die in a fortnight or so.
This may either be from excessive blood, infection to the open wound, or dehydration and starvation. Special care is thus needed in the case of a broken beak which involves separation from the rest of the flock, administration of first aid, and a change of diet which is discussed later on.
Will a Goose Grow its Beak Back?
The beak of geese grows for a good portion of their life and only stops in their formative years as they approach death. The keratin protein at the base of the beak grows throughout its life, extending the beak away from the face. It grows by about a quarter an inch each month.
This is why despite their avid foraging, the beaks of geese do not shorten as they grow. If the beak breaks, then the same will happen over time and it will grow back to a good size. This will take time so patience and care are needed to ensure the goose does not suffer from malnutrition after its injury.
Will My Goose’s Broken Beak Heal?
A broken beak is not a permanent injury to your goose. It may affect their life for a short period, but it will not be forever. As the beak is an organ that grows continuously at a certain rate over time, the broken part of the beak is bound to heal.
Though the broken part of the beak will not grow back, the beak as a whole will gradually be replaced over time. The beak does not grow at the tip but the root. As time goes by, the root will extend outwards.
The broken part will extend out and succumb to wear and tear with use. As such, with time the broken beak will heal and regain its former strength and glory.
How Can You Fix a Goose’s Broken Beak?
There are two main ways to fix a broken beak. The best and cheapest is to allow it to fix itself naturally. Once you notice a goose with a broken beak, separate it from the flock to avoid further injury. It is then advisable to feed it a diet rich in protein and calcium and lots of water.
In the first week or two, mix goose pellets with some water. A ratio of 1:3, pellets to water should serve the purpose. This will ensure that the goose can eat without issue despite having a broken beak. It is best to soak this mixture overnight so that the consistency is smooth and resembles that of oatmeal.
This will make it easy to ingest and digest and ensure that the goose can eat as much as possible.
The other is in case the damage is severe and affects a large portion of the beak. In such a case, you will need to consult a vet to give you a prosthetic beak to help with eating as the beak heals and grows back.
When Should You Consult with a Vet?
It is best to make an appointment when you notice a serious injury to the beak of your goose. Even after administering first aid, drop by the vet for a checkup to properly and professionally assess the situation. Other instances that will require a visit to the vet are loss of weight and appetite.
This may be because of pain or improper nutrition. A visit to the vet is essential as it will allow you to get advice on what changes to make to the diet to ensure proper nutritional intake.
In case of bleeding even after administration of adequate treatment, lethargy, and broody behavior. These may be indicators that the injury is more severe, it is infected or there is more damage to the goose than just the broken beak. An inspection by the vet will help weed out the root cause of the problem and the best way to resolve it.
Accidents happen and over your lifetime as a poultry farmer, you are bound to lose a bill or two. This is a highly likely scenario if you have free-range geese or there is not enough space in the coop for all your confined birds. An injury does not mean the end of your bird, it should also not be a reason to put your goose down unless a vet tells you so.
With time and care, the goose is bound to recover and go back to its former self. I hope that you can put the advice in this article into action and look after your goose properly after an injury. You will be surprised just how far a little tender loving care can go towards helping your goose recover from a serious beak injury.