CAGE HOUSING

15 LOHMANN TIERZUCHT › MANAGEMENT GUIDE 15 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 beak treatment: › Treat only healthy, unstressed birds, at the age of 7–10 days. › Allow only experienced personnel to do the work. › 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- ing. › 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. BEAK TREATMENT

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