Beak trimming in poultry handling is cutting the beak of the poultry bird to reduce its length. It is done to stop the birds from pecking and pulling each other’s feathers and reducing food wastage. It has to be done carefully to avoid growth problems, difficulties in feeding and death due to excessive loss of blood. It can be done either at one week or between 8 to 10 weeks which is best for correct trimming.
Following proper trimming techniques will keep the bird flock healthy. Following are the different ways of beak trimming:
Through a Machine:
The debeaking machine makes the process of debeaking poultry smoother and faster. The following procedures are to be done while using the machine.
After turning on the switch, the movable blade temperature is altered till it glows reddish or bright. The motor switch and the boat-shaped switch are then started.
The opening of the micro-cutter blade is changed according to the size of the beak.
The chicken’s feet are held with the left hand with the right thumb holding the neck and throat. Once the bird cannot move, the beak is moved into the opening of the blade and the beak trimmed by a movable blade which drops. Some bleeding occurs for 2-4 secs and then stops.
Manually (Debeaking Knife, Hand-held electric machine)
A kitchen knife is placed on burning stove or coal and made red hot. The chicken’s legs are held by one person and another person holds the head of the chicken and carefully uses the hot knife to trim the tip of the beak. The trimming can also be done with an electric debeaking machine held in the hand.
Rules to Beak Trimming
Before beak trimming:
Birds should not be debeaked if the flock is unhealthy or suffering from vaccine reactions. Vitamin K is to be added to the drinking water 2 days before debeaking and continued for 2 more days to avoid hemorrhages. The machine and trimming blade should be checked to be at the correct temperature to cut and avoid forming blisters in the beak.
During beak trimming:
The cutting machine should be fixed correctly to ensure uniform beak cutting and at a appropriate rate to have less mistakes. The blades should be sandpapered after using on 5000 birds and care is to be taken to see that no burning of the tongue occurs.
After beak trimming:
The pressure and level of water in the drinkers should be increased for the birds to drink easily and the feed in the feeders should be kept full for a week after trimming. The birds should be given multivitamins to lower their stress due to beaking which may affect their activities.