De-beaking is an important activity among layers. Research shows that if chickens are not de-beaked, up to 30% of the flock could be pecked to death. It is mostly done to prevent birds from injuring each other and eating eggs.
Importance of de-beaking birds
It is important for not only feed but also water intake. Restricted food and water through the beak reduces maximum production among birds.
When should you de-beak the birds?
It should only be performed in one-day old chicks with proper equipment to minimise pain, excessive bleeding and infection to promote quick recovery. The younger the bird, the less the damage.
This should be done by a skilled professional.
Dr Mukama Geoffery from Kouijs Nutrition BV, advises chicken farmers not to de-beak birds already in production as it causes a high drop in production.
A farmer can also put stones in the laying boxes for the layers to ‘de-beak’ themselves. The stones help remove the upper part of the beak.
How to notice pain and stress among birds after de-beaking?
Reduction in feed and water intake shows signs of stress among birds.
It takes long for the chickens to gain body weight.
Options of de-beaking
- Buy already de-beaked chicks
- Use a hot knife or machine
- Sunstones on the floor for birds to bite and de-beak themselves.