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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #194420


item FAHEY, A
item Marchant-Forde, Ruth
item Cheng, Heng Wei

Submitted to: Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/19/2006
Publication Date: 6/16/2006
Citation: Fahey, A.G., Marchant Forde, R., Cheng, H. 2006. Relationship between body weight and beak characteristics in 1 d old layer chicks. Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract. 85(1):104.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The aim of this work was to determine if any relationship exists between body weight and beak characteristics in day old chicks for developing an automated system to standardize infrared beak treatment. At the hatchery, 1-day-old W-36 chicks (n=344) were weighed and digital pictures were taken of their beaks. Beak sizes were enumerated using MCID Imaging Software. The width of the upper mandible was measured 2mm (W2mm), 3mm (W3mm), and 4mm (W4mm) from the tip of the beak. The lengths of the culmen, gonys, maxillary tomia (maxi), and the mandibular tomia (mand) were also measured. All parameters had non-normal distributions, so non-parametric Spearman rank-order correlations were calculated between body weight and each beak dimension. Weak negative correlations were found for W2mm, W3mm, and W4mm and weak positive correlations were present for culmen, gonys, maxi, and mand lengths. Significant P-values were also evident for W2mm (r = -0.13, P < 0.05), W3mm (r = -0.14, P <0.05), culmen (r = 0.15, P<0.05), gonys (r = 0.16, P <0.01), and mand (r = 0.15, P < 0.01). However this may have been due to the relatively large sample size (n=344) as the actual correlations (r2) with body weight were too low (below 0.16) to be meaningful. In conclusion, the weight of 1-day old chicks is not a sufficient indictor of the size of its beak and as such should not be relied upon. Additional work is necessary to identify an accurate yet efficient way to separate chicks according to beak size to improve the accuracy of any subsequent beak trimming in terms of the relative amount of beak trimmed.