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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #194434


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 ii, comparative effects of infrared and 1/3 hot-blade trimming on behavior and feeding ability. Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract. 85(1):104.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The goal of this research was to examine the impact of infrared beak trimming at 1 d of age on chicks’ behavior and feeding ability compared to hot-blade trimming. Seventy-two layer chicks were randomly assigned to hot-blade trimming (HB) (1/3 beak), infrared treatment (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 behavior was recorded on day 0-4 then weekly thereafter. A feeding test was used to determine treatment differences in feeding ability by assessing both feeding behavior and feeding rate (intake/peck). Following beak trimming, C birds spent less time standing resting (P<0.01) and more time eating (P<0.01) and drinking (P<0.05) than IR birds. Furthermore, the number of pecks delivered at the drinker during imbibing was also suppressed by IR treatment (P<0.01). Aside from a tendency for HB to have shorter eating bouts than C (P=0.09), all other feeding indices in HB scored intermediary to those in C and IR with no perceptible differences. Treatment effects were most prominent in the initial 24-48 h post treatment with decreasing incidences of differences over time (P<0.05). During the feeding test, C birds took less time to approach the feeder and initiate feeding and had higher intake and feed wastage scores than HB or IR during the first 3 wks after trimming (P<0.05). HB generally scored intermediary in these indices but there were few differences between HB and IR. C birds were the most efficient feeders (P<0.05) but there were no differences among HB or IR (P>0.05). Both HB & IR birds performed more head flicking than C (P<0.05) and HB birds also exhibited more bill wiping and wing flapping during the test (P<0.05). General behavior highlights an initial decrease in activity in IR birds that may indicate greater discomfort immediately post trimming. However, most other indices of behavior and feeding ability indicate few differences between HB and IR in spite of more severe trimming in the IR birds. Further work needs to be conducted on the comparative effects of HB and IR trimming 1/2 of beaks.