Debeaking, also called beak trimming, is often used in commercial farms to prevent cannibalism and feather-picking. Some sources recommend it for small flocks as well. It involves cutting off part or all of the top beak. Some hatcheries de-beak the chicks the day they are hatched. Others debeak their chickens at the first signs of feather-picking. I do not support de-beaking for a number of reasons.
1. Debeaking is painful to the chicken.
2. Debeaking makes foraging very difficult.
3. Debeaking hinders the chicken from normal preening.
4. Debeaking makes eating more difficult.
5. There will always be a chicken at the bottom of the “pecking order.” Cutting off their beaks to prevent them from enjoying their natural instincts is not necessary.
6. There are other treatments for cannibalism. Good flock management makes debeaking unnecessary.
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