How My Vet Fixed My Cockatiels Scissor Beak

How My Vet Fixed My Cockatiels Scissor Beak

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

I took my adopted old cockatiel to the vet and asked about his inability to eat virtually all foods, including common seeds given as treats or a basic diet, depending upon the owner’s philosophy of feeding.

I wondered if his arthritis might also be in his beak/jaw, causing the problem.

Cockatiel with fixed scissor beak

Much larger than a millet seed is too large for him, and since the pellet food I used was discontinued after decades (its market share slipped while that of a sister brand with added colors, tastes, and fragrances grew)

I realized his problem. 

He had no difficulties with the pellet food I fed.

Since trying new brands, I’ve been breaking long cylinders of food meant for birds larger than cockatiels and using a hand food chopper to try breaking other supposed cockatiel pellets down to usable sizes, but that is a separate topic. 

The vet examined King’s beak and said he had seen this problem before.

The lower beak (King’s left side) is bowed out, misshaping the beak.

He said he has seen this before when people hand-feeding birds use the baby bird’s beak as a support instead of just slipping the feeding instrument between the beaks, bowing out the beak, and causing it to create later eating problems.

The underlying bone has a shape it’s not meant to have. The upper beak changes shape as well trying to accommodate the misshapen lower beak.

The vet did considerable filing to help reshape the beak, obviously having to deal with both the top and bottom beaks and both sides.

Of course, the bone itself cannot be touched, but the shape has improved dramatically.

A lot has been removed although the vet refers to it as minor adjustments.

I admit King’s whole face looked different to me, and I hardly recognized him.

I also admit to calling him Jimmy Durante (which dates me) as I look at that long beak bisecting his face, looking so different from before. 

We will see how this helps his eating in the future.

My vet has no reason to make up the probable cause, and I thought it wise to point out to any who handfed babies to be careful to never use the malleable beak as a support. 

Dear Diane

Yes, we have heard and seen how hand-feeding incorrectly can affect the beak.

I have always been careful when hand-feeding to not do so in a way to causes beak issues. One issue is called scissor-beak.

We are glad that your vet has been able to help your adopted cockatiel and hope he can enjoy his meals again.

Thank you for the information.

Wishing you all the best.


Mitch Rezman

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