DEBEAKING IN POULTRY PDF

Beak trimmers move from farm to farm-potential biosecurity issues with personal hygiene and equipment cleanliness. Equipment located in clean hatchery. Staff maintain high levels of biosecurity. Bird catching Birds can be stressed from catching and restraint on farm. Equipment located in hatchery.

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A Dutch study, which examined the behaviour of non-debeaked laying hens, shares these concerns. From onwards, it will be forbidden to debeak laying hens in the Netherlands. For poultry farmers affiliated to the German KAT association the ban on beak trimming has been in place since the start of Bos, ForFarmers, Vitelia and Voergroep Zuid , performed a study in which effects of dietary treatments on production performance of debeaked and non-debeaked laying hens were tested.

Large differences in performance between debeaked and non-debeaked laying hens, irrespective of dietary treatment, were found. This facility contains 36 experimental aviary pens.

Each pen houses Dekalb White laying hens. In total 11, hens were used for the study. Half of the hens were debeaked, the other half were non-debeaked. All laying hens were reared at the same rearing farm and had the same history. The laying hens arrived in the layer facility at 17 weeks of age, from which point the production performance and the feather condition of the hens were recorded.

Figure 1 - Comparison of the feed intake for debeaked and non-debeaked Dekalb White laying hens with the breeder recommendations. The higher feed intake of the non-debeaked hens did not appear to be related to waste of feed. A part of the extra feed intake was converted into egg weight, because non-debeaked hens showed a higher increase for egg weight compared to debeaked hens from 30 weeks of age onwards; 0.

Egg mass was, in general, higher for the non-debeaked laying hens compared to the debeaked hens, despite the on average 0. The higher feed intake of the non-debeaked laying hens was not entirely used for egg production, resulting in a higher feed conversion ratio for these hens; 6 FCR points at 30 weeks of age, 8 FCR points at 40 weeks of age, 16 FCR points at 50 weeks of age and 28 FCR points at 60 weeks of age, see Figure 2.

Figure 2 - Comparison of feed conversion ratio for debeaked and on-debeaked Dekalb White laying hens with the breeder recommendations. Feather damage The higher feed intake and feed conversion ratio of the non-debeaked hens seemed to be related to the feather condition. On arrival in the layer facility, the condition of the feathers was excellent and the feather damage at 24 weeks of age was low and comparable between debeaked and non-debeaked laying hens.

From 32 weeks onwards, a difference in feather damage was observed, where non-debeaked hens had more feather damage than debeaked hens, see Figure 3.

Probably due to the poorer feather condition, mortality rate was higher for the non-debeaked hens 4. The higher mortality rate was not considered to be related to cannibalistic behaviour. Figure 3 - Feather condition for debeaked and non-debeaked Dekalb White laying hens.

It seemed that the non-debeaked hens were more stressed than debeaked hens, because non-debeaked laying hens showed a different behaviour when held compared to debeaked hens. If debeaked hens were caught, they struggled a little bit. The non-debeaked hens struggled a lot and were more vociferous. This behaviour was already shown at the start of the laying period, so also when the feather damage was low. Loss of performance Although the study went without problems no illness, no cannibalism , it should be concluded that housing of non-debeaked laying hens without loss of performance was not succeeded.

Substantial differences in production performance were observed between debeaked and non-debeaked laying hens. Particularly, feed intake was much higher in non-debeaked laying hens, and thereby feed conversion ratio. The higher feed intake seemed to be related with a poorer feather condition of the non-debeaked laying hens.

The cause of the poorer feather condition might be stress related, because non-debeaked laying hens showed a different behaviour. In summary, housing of non-debeaked laying hens needs more attention in terms of management and feed. However, this will not guarantee a successful course of the laying period.

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Effect of debeaking on laying hen performance

A Dutch study, which examined the behaviour of non-debeaked laying hens, shares these concerns. From onwards, it will be forbidden to debeak laying hens in the Netherlands. For poultry farmers affiliated to the German KAT association the ban on beak trimming has been in place since the start of Bos, ForFarmers, Vitelia and Voergroep Zuid , performed a study in which effects of dietary treatments on production performance of debeaked and non-debeaked laying hens were tested. Large differences in performance between debeaked and non-debeaked laying hens, irrespective of dietary treatment, were found. This facility contains 36 experimental aviary pens.

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What are the Pros and Cons to Chicken Debeaking?

This is the process where part of the upper and sometimes the lower beak of the chicken is removed with electrically heated blades and more recently with infrared lasers. Debeaking implies complete removal of the beak. It is usually done to day-old chicks while they are being vaccinated and sexed. The procedure is most common for Leghorns or Red Sex-link hens that are destined for layer houses. Broiler meat chickens are rarely beak trimmed.

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