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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #194430


item Marchant-Forde, Ruth
item Cheng, Heng Wei

Submitted to: Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/10/2006
Publication Date: 6/16/2006
Citation: Marchant Forde, R., Cheng, H. 2006. Infrared beak treatment: part iii, comparative effects of infrared and 1/2 hot-blade trimming on beak topography and growth.. Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract. 85(1):105.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The effects of infrared beak trimming (IR) and hot-blade beak trimming (HB) on beak length and production were examined in chickens beak trimmed at 1 day of age. Seventy-two chicks were randomly assigned to HB (1/2 beak), IR at 60 watt (1/3-1/2 reduction in length), or a control (C) group at 1 d old. Chicks were pair housed by treatment, and beak photos and production indices were obtained immediately after treatment and at +1 d, +5 d, and then weekly until 10wks later. Changes in beaks were evaluated using MCID Imaging Software. Immediately after trimming, HB beaks were between 40-45 % shorter than C or IR (P<0.001) and remained shorter than C beaks for the duration of the study (P<0.01). There were no differences in C and IR beaks until the onset of tissue degeneration in IR birds, which occurred during the 2nd and 3rd wks post trimming (P<0.05). IR beaks were similar to HB beaks until wks 9 & 10 when a faster growth rate resulted in longer beaks in HB (P<0.01). IR beaks were shorter than C beaks from the time of tissue degeneration to the end of the study (P<0.01). By 10 wks, HB beaks were about 20% shorter, and IR beaks were 50% shorter, than C (P<0.01). The effects of treatment on body weight (BW) emerged 5 d after trimming when IR and HB chicks weighed 7% (P<0.05) and 17% (P<0.001) less than C (P<0.05). BW in HB was suppressed up to, and including, 9 wks post trimming relative to C birds (P<0.05), and was significantly lower than in the IR group between 2-4 wks (P<0.05). IR birds did not differ from C birds after wk 3 and by the final week of the study there were no longer any apparent differences in BW in any treatment. For the most part, feed intake (FI) was higher in C, intermediary in IR and lowest in HB birds until wk 9 post treatment (P<0.05). Similarly, waste was generally higher in C birds and least in the HB group (P<0.05). It appears that ½ HB trimming had a more pronounced impact on production and growth than IR trimming. Effects on beak length were similar until HB birds exhibited an increase in beak growth rate towards the end of the study. Furthermore, HB trimming seems to inhibit FI and BW to a greater extent than IR treatment with no perceptible benefits in beak length at 10 wks of age.