Learn: Debeaking simplified procedure in poultry

Debeaking / Beak trimming in chickens:

Beak trimming is sometimes undertaken where either light intensity cannot be controlled due to the design of the house or when parent stock are kept at a high number of birds per square meter.


The beak trimming procedure is performed to prevent feather pecking and cannibalism under these conditions and also to reduce feed wastage.
Beak trimming is a delicate operation and should only be carried-out by well-trained and experienced operators. Poor beak trimming can affect the ability of the birds to eat and drink correctly and leads to unevenness.
Attention should be paid to local regulations regarding beak trimming and it is advisable to seek veterinary advice to ensure the procedures are being correctly applied.
Benefits of Debeaking/Beak trimming:
▶️ Prevent feed wastage.
▶️ Reduces the incidence of cannibalism/ pecking.
▶️ Reduces feather pecking.
▶️ Enable easier handling of birds.
Two different methods can be used for beak trimming.
The first one consists of an infrared trimming of the beak at day-old in the hatchery by using a specific machine.
The second method can be practiced at 7-10 days by using a hot blade. With this second method and under some specific conditions, where permitted, a second beak trimming may be undertaken at 8-10 weeks.
Before beak trimming with hot blades (in countries where this is permitted):
1.Check that the birds are healthy.
2.Do not treat the beaks when the birds are reacting to vaccinations.
3.Add vitamin K to the drinking water (to prevent haemorrhaging).
4.Check that the temperature of the blades is high enough to prevent haemorrhaging, but not too high which may risk chicks being burned.
To limit the effect of beak trimming with hot blades on the feed consumption and water intake, it is important to increase the water level in the drinkers and the pressure in the pipes. Ensure that the depth of the feed in the feeders is correct.
Fully beaked flocks management:
In case of fully beaked flocks, different measures are necessary to prevent the consequences on selective feed intake and potential damage due to pecking.
- Strictly respect the feeding and drinking spaces and the stocking density standards before starting up. It will ensure a good uniformity of the flock and avoid risks of competition and fights between the birds.
- Keep the birds calm by avoiding any stress: equipment malfunction, visitors, any sudden changes in the management (light intensity, number of feed distributions, feed formulation).
- Provide distractions for the birds to keep them busy: wood shaving pack, oyster shell, plastic strings.
Distribution of grit and grain on the floor can also enhance litter scratching
- There is a strong relationship between feeding time and pecking, the shorter the feeding time the higher the risk of pecking.
Also, the feed presentation is of highly importance. If the particles are too big, it will reduce the feeding time and increase the risk of feather pecking and feed selection. If they are too fine it will induce poor appetite.
- Be on the alert for the absence of fluff or small feathers on the floor. It can mean that the birds are eating the feathers due to a nutrient deficiency in fiber source and it can easily turn into feather pecking.
It can be confirmed by the presence of feather in the intestine. It is sometimes possible to reduce the level of feather pecking by increasing the fiber content of the feed, particularly insoluble fibers.
It is also possible to add alfalfa or straw on the floor to provide additional fiber for the bird.
- Feed has to be well balanced in energy, amino acid, nutrient, fiber… Any deficiency in the feed can induce feather pecking.
- It is important to maintain a suitable climate (ventilation, temperature). Hens that feel uncomfortable are inclined to start feather pecking.
- Special attention has to be given to the lighting. Light intensity and duration are important for preventing pecking.
It is sometimes possible to reduce pecking by dimming or coloring the lights. In dark house, it is important to avoid any unwanted light source from outside during the night period.
- In production, it is recommended to dim the light a few days after the adaptation in the production house and to keep the nest in a dark area.
Share to help other farmers.

Post a Comment

share your words ...

Last Article Next Article