I have seen many farmers de-beak their birds. Before I de-beak mine, I need to know the benefits. Does it make the chicken more productive?
Answer: First of all, de-beaking is the wrong word. The right word should be “blunting”. It is done right after the chick is hatched by burning the tip of the beak with a hot flat piece of metal or electric gadget.
This is meant to prevent the development of the sharp point of the beak. When carried out early, on day one, it causes less stress than cutting a human baby’s umbilical cord.
When done later, it is more stressful, and if not carried out carefully can lead to excessive bleeding. Blunting is done because chickens tend to be bullies and pick on each other, hence the English expression, “pecking order”.
The result is that they destroy each other’s feathers, mostly those on the rear. If a chicken complains, it only excites the others to pick even more, ultimately resulting in death.
They will pick the flesh off, until there is just bone left. Even with plenty of space available, pecking remains a problem. Most farmers opt to blunt the beak for a healthier flock.