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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #194428


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: Marchant Forde, R., Cheng, H. 2006. Infrared beak treatment: part i, comparative effects of infrared and 1/3 hot-blade trimming on beak topography and growth.. Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract. 85(1):104.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: This work is the first in a series of studies examining the effects of infrared beak trimming on production and well-being. Seventy-two 1-day-old layer chicks were randomly assigned to three groups: hot-blade trimming (HB) (reducing 1/3 beak length), infrared treatment (IR) at 60 watt (reducing 1/3-1/2 beak length) or control (C). Chicks were pair housed by treatment, and beak photos and production indices (feed intake, feed waste, and body weight (BW)) were obtained right after treatment and at +2 d, +4 d, and then weekly until 9 wks later. Changes in beaks were evaluated using MCID Imaging Software. All beaks were considered normally shaped at the onset of the study and no perceptible differences in shape occurred over time (P>0.05). Immediately following beak trimming, HB birds had shorter beaks than the beaks of C and IR birds (P<0.05). The beaks of C and IR birds remained analogous until the onset of tissue degeneration and erosion in the IR birds from 2 d to 2 wks after the treatment. Thereafter, there was an increase in beak length in all treatments over time (P<0.01). Two weeks post-treatment, beaks were longest in C, intermediate in HB (30% shorter than C, P<0.001), and shortest in IR birds (50% shorter than C, P<0.001). Finally, HB birds exhibited more deviations from a normal upper:lower mandible length ratio (P<0.05). Notable effects of treatment on production emerged by +2 d and persisted for 5 wks afterwards. Growth and feed intake were suppressed in HB & IR birds compared to C birds (P<0.05) with IR birds performing least well until the 4th wk of the study (P<0.05). Thereafter, they performed numerically, though not statistically, better than the HB group. Feed waste was always lowest in the IR groups but alternated in the other two groups over time (P<0.05). The negative effects of trimming appeared greatest in the IR birds initially, but these differences dissipated over time. Further work needs to be conducted on the effects of IR treatment on morphology, behaviour, and other well-being indices.