Beak treatment is not necessary under good
conditions and adjusted management. In
practice, it is still widely used, also in environ-
mental controlled and light-tight facilities, as
an efficient precaution against cannibalism
and feather pecking. Such behaviour may
develop at any age as a result of excessive
light intensity, unbalanced feed, poor venti-
lation, overstocking or boredom.
Especially in cage free management and/or
open houses with uncontrollable light inten-
sity, we recommend beak treatment subject
to local animal welfare regulations. A very
gentle and highly recommended method
of beak treatment is the infrared treatment
of the upper and lower beak by means of a
special technique, performed shortly after
chicks hatch. This procedure can already be
done in the hatchery under very hygienic
conditions by specially trained personnel.
Another method of beak treatment is to treat
the beaks with a hot blade. A good and uni-
form beak treatment is necessary, an improp-
er beak treatment can bring massive damage
to the birds.
Observe the following pre
cautions for a conventional
Treat only healthy, unstressed birds, at the
age of 7–10 days.
Allow only experienced personnel to do
Work slowly and carefully.
Use only equipment and blades in perfect
working order; adjust the blade tempera-
ture so that cauterisation is guaranteed
and the beak is not damaged. Change the
blade after 500 birds in sharp new one.
Adjust temperature and duration of the
treatment according to the chicks beak
size, strength and quality.
Do not feed for 12 hours before treating.
Use extra open drinkers/ bowls so the birds
can immediately drink after the treatment.
Nipple drinkers are painfull at that time.
Offer free feeding immediately after treat-
Increase the level of feed in the troughs.
Increase the temperature in the house for a
few days after treating.
For 3–5 days after beak treating provide an
extra hour of light and supply feed in the
late evening or at night.
Giving vitamins via the drinking water can
also help to alleviate stress.