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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Comparative Effects of Infrared and Hot-Blade Trimming on Feeding Behavior and Productivity

Authors
item Marchant-Forde, Ruth
item Cheng, Heng Wei

Submitted to: International Society of Applied Ethology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 5, 2006
Publication Date: June 7, 2006
Citation: Marchant Forde, R., Cheng, H. 2006. Comparative effects of infrared and hot-blade trimming on feeding behavior and productivity. International Society of Applied Ethology. p. 49.

Technical Abstract: The purpose of this research was to examine the impact of a relatively new method of beak trimming on poultry welfare. Seventy-two layer chicks were assigned to hot-blade trimming (HB), infrared treatment (IR) or a control (C) group at 1d of age. Chicks were pair housed by treatment and body weight (BW) and feed intake (FI) were monitored weekly until the birds reached 10-wks of age. A specific feeding test was performed during weeks 3, 5, 7 & 9 to elucidate any treatment related differences on feeding behavior and feeding efficiency (intake/peck). Effects of treatment on BW emerged 5d after trimming when IR and HB weighed less than C (P<0.05). BW in HB remained suppressed until 9-wks post-trimming relative to C (P<0.05), and was lower than in the IR group between weeks 2-4 afterwards (P<0.05). Weight in IR did not differ from C after 3-wks and by the final week of the study there were no apparent differences among any group. FI was noticeably higher in C, intermediary in IR and lowest in HB birds until 9-wks post-treatment (P<0.05). For the feeding test itself, HB birds took longer to approach the feed and initiate feeding than C or IR birds (P<0.01). Treated groups performed more head flicks than C (P<0.05), and HB exhibited more beak scratching than C or IR (P<0.05). Intake during the test was highest in C, intermediate in IR and lowest in HB (P<0.05) and finally overall feeding efficiency was inferior in the trimmed groups (P<0.05) but there were few differences between the trimmed birds themselves. To conclude, it appears that HB trimming has a more pronounced impact on production and growth than IR trimming but most differences had disappeared by 10-wks of age.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014