The beak is perhaps the strongest structure in a bird.
A beak is used for a variety of functions including eating, which is the primary use, as well as preening, killing prey, manipulating objects, searching for food, fighting, feeding the young, and courtship.
So when something happens to this structure, that will make it unable to perform these functions, the bird will be in trouble, no doubt.
Birds’ beaks break all the time, it is very normal, but what happens when they break, do they grow back?
If you are a parrot owner, this is one of the questions that must have crossed your mind.
Do parrot beaks grow back? For young parrots, yes the beak may grow back, but for older ones, highly unlikely. When it comes to young parrots breaking their beaks, chances are high it will grow back because most of the tissues in its body are still growing. But for matured parrots, it is like when an adult loses their tooth, it doesn’t grow back.
Nevertheless, all is not lost as a vet may be able to offer a beak prosthetic to your parrot though it probably won’t be cheap and your parrot will also have the last say since it may not adapt to the synthetic beak well.
What should you do if your parrot breaks his/her beak?
The first thing you should do is if your parrot suffers a broken beak is to apply pressure to the bleeding.
Take them to the vet or an animal clinic after performing first aid at home.
Parrot beaks usually have rich blood veins, which boosts a chance of it re-growing if it breaks, so when an injury occurs, the parrot should see a vet immediately.
If you are unable to make a quick trip to the vet, you can just call for guidance and advice until your appointment, which should be within 24 hours.
While you are waiting for the vet appointment, ensure that the damaged part of the beak stays intact.
Don’t be tempted to remove any broken part as this may only increase the severity of the injury.
There are cases where parrots have bled to death as a result of broken damage.
So to slow the bleeding until you can see a vet or animal clinic, you could consider “corking” the bleeding area with a softened soap, typically found in the underside of the bar of your bathroom soap.
However, use this method only in an emergency, and possibly while on your way to the avian vet.
There is a risk for an infection, which could be severe and your bad may need syringe or hand-feeding for some time while its beak is still broken.
The primary diagnosis of a broken beak is usually a physical examination conducted by an avian vet. In some cases, sedation may also be used, especially if the bird is under severe trauma.
Even if the beak won’t grow back, there is still a lot that can be done.
What causes broken beaks in parrots?
First of all, you need to understand that parrots are very active birds and they do most of their activities with their beaks, so chances of injury are high.
One of the most common causes of a broken beak in parrots is fighting.
Another is toys, especially if they are made of very strong materials.
Sometimes a parrot can also collide with the wall in the house and break its beak.
A broken beak can lead to excessive loss of blood and destruction to the keratin.
What is the treatment for broken beaks in parrots?
The first action is to keep the injury sterile, more so because the tissue around the damaged area may be exposed and could potential for infection.
The tissue will also dry out, causing irritation and discomfort to your parrot.
The avian vet may recommend that you rinse the injury with a sterile saltwater solution or even contact lens solution provided it is preservative-free, in order to maintain moisture and clean the wound.
In the vet office, he or she will examine the wound and recommend the best treatment.
Some of the treatment options may include covering the damaged beak with an acrylic coating or a protective cast similar to what dentists use to refill human teeth.
The vet can also wire the beak.
If your parrot suffered severe blood loss and the wound hinders drinking or eating, the parrot might be hospitalized for fluids, antifungal, antibiotics, as well as pain care.
Before leaving the clinic, make sure you ask your veterinarian about the type of nutrition for your injured bird.
What if my parrot’s beak is just cracked?
There are two types of cracks in beaks – deep and shallow.
If the crack in the beak of your parrot is not deep, which is in most cases, the bird will not bleed or experience any trauma.
So, if this is the case with your budgie, then all you need to do is allow it to grow back another healthy beak with time, just as we grow back our nails when we crack them.
To be on the safe, it is better to check with the vet to confirm the extent of the injury.
With that in mind, it is important to ensure your parrot eats a lot of cuttlefish bone or has plenty of calcium supplements in order to naturally wear down its beak and prevent overgrowth.
Over time, the cracked area will gradually be worn down and your parrot’s beak with grow back healthily.
Some people may think since it is just a small crack, they can use glue to seal the fissure, but you should never try this.
Glue contains adhesives, which are toxic and could get into the eyes, mouth, or nostrils of your parrot.
If the crack is rather deep, there is a risk of infection and a good chance your bird may not be able to eat properly.
In case the crack is deep or close to the face, then the parrot could bleed a lot, and lead to a spike in blood pressure, which sequentially would worsen the bleeding.
Though this type of bleeding might not cause severe pain to your parrot, if nothing is done, it could be fatal.
What kind of care should I give my parrot with a cracked beak?
Everything you do should be recommended by your avian vet. For small break injuries, giving your parrot supportive care, pain medication, and antimicrobial agents should be all you need to help your bird heal and grow another healthy beak.
In case of larger, deeper injuries, dental acrylic mastic and a fixative light could be applied to hold the beak together until a new one regrows.
A crack on the beak can be cured completely provided the blood flow is not hindered. But some injuries in the beak could be long-lasting, in which case your parrot would need to be fed only soft meals throughout its remaining life.
These soft foods may include small pieces of soft fruits, vegetables, cooked eggs, and so on.
If your parrot is not able to eat properly due to beak injuries, you can separate it from other parrots or pets so that you can monitor their eating and hand-fed if need be.
Can illness cause my parrot’s beak to break?
Yes, in some cases, your bird’s beak might break due to some form of diseases. Infected beaks may chip and break, while malnutrition may also cause a parrot beak to become soft and break.
Cancerous growth may also cause injuries to the beak of your parrot.
How can I prevent future beak break injuries?
When it comes to natural causes, such as infections, cancerous, and congenital defects, there is little you can do, but for these other causes, there is a lot you can do to prevent your parrot from breaking its beak.
Parrot-proof your house for safe indoor flying
If you intend on letting your parrot fly around in the house, ensure safeguard your house first. For instance, make sure you cover any open flames and pots with hot substances as well as close open doors that may inadvertently slam on your parrot in motion.
For more info, check out our article How To Parrot Proof Your House.
Clip the wings of your bird
One of the most common ways of preventing beak breakage is to clip the wings of your parrot.
However, this should be done by a professional who can clip enough feathers to prevent flight but not too many to cause the parrot to drop whenever it attempts to fly.
The best way to prevent beak breaks and injuries is to have your parrot regularly checked by an avian vet so that any break abnormality can be spotted early before it advances and become difficult to treat.