Advanced SearchSearch Tips
Changes in Behaviour of Laying Hens Following Beak Trimming at Hatch and Re-trimming at 14 Weeks
facebook(new window)  Pirnt(new window) E-mail(new window) Excel Download
 Title & Authors
Changes in Behaviour of Laying Hens Following Beak Trimming at Hatch and Re-trimming at 14 Weeks
Jongman, E.C.; Glatz, P.C.; Barnett, J.L.;
  PDF(new window)
For many years beak trimming has been a controversial subject, particularly since the 1980's when the practice came under close scrutiny by animal welfare groups. In Australia it is considered an essential practice, averting losses of AUD$17.5m annually by reducing mortality from cannibalism. While mortality in flocks from cannibalism can be reduced from 25% of the flock to virtually nil, the beak trimming procedure is considered traumatic for the bird. This study examined if chronic pain in the beak was evident in birds 10, 20 and 60 weeks after being trimmed at hatch and in another group of birds, 8 and 52 weeks after being re-trimmed at 14 weeks. Chronic pain was assessed by measuring pecking behaviour and beak sensitivity responses. Pecking behaviour studies completed after beak trimming and re-trimming showed no evidence to indicate that birds were suffering severe chronic pain in the beak. Beak trimmed pullets pecked more at the cage and had more toe pecks, yet overall pecks made at the feed and the environment were no different than untrimmed controls. While the beak sensitivity studies provided evidence that the beak of birds trimmed at hatch and also re-trimmed at 14 weeks may be more sensitive there was no evidence that re-trimming resulted in a more sensitive beak than birds trimmed at hatch only. These studies have shown that birds which are beak trimmed and re-trimmed return to apparently normal feeding and pecking behaviour in the long term. However, there was limited evidence that beaks of trimmed birds have an altered threshold to potentially painful stimuli.
Laying Hens;Beak Trimming;Behaviour;Pain;
 Cited by
The prevention and control of feather pecking: application to commercial systems, World's Poultry Science Journal, 2013, 69, 04, 775  crossref(new windwow)
Agricultural and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand; Animal Health Committee. 1995. Australian Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals. Domestic Poultry. CSIRO, Melbourne.

Blokhuis, H. J. and P. R. Wiepkema. 1998. Studies of feather pecking in poultry. Vet. Quart, 20:6-9.

Bourke, M., P. C. Glatz, J. L. Barnett and K. L. Critchley. 2002. Beak trimming training manual. Edition 1, Publication no. 02/092. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

Breward, J. and M. J. Gentle. 1985. Neuroma formation and abnormal afferent nerve discharges after partial beak amputation (beak trimming) in poultry. Experientia 41:1132-1135. crossref(new window)

Broom, D. M. and K. G. Johnson. 1993. In "Stress and Welfare" (Ed. D. M. Broom). Chapman & Hall Animal Behaviour Series. Chapman & Hall, London. pp. 143-144.

Campbell, J. N., S. N. Raja, R. A. Meyer and S. E. Mankinnon. 1988. Myelinated afferents signal the hyperalgesia associated with nerve injury. Pain 321:89-94.

Chen, H-W. 2005. Acute and chronic pain in beak-trimmed chickens. In: Poultry Welfare Issues-Beak Trimming (Ed. P. C. Glatz) Nottingham University Press, UK, pp. 31-49.

Duncan, I. J. H., G. S. Slee, E. Seawright and J. Breward. 1989. Behavioural consequences of partial beak amputation (beak trimming) in poultry. Br. Poult. Sci. 30:479-488. crossref(new window)

Gentle, M. J., B. O. Hughes and R. C. Hubrecht. 1982. The effect of beak trimming on food intake, feeding behaviour and body weight in adult hens. Appl. Anim. Ethol. 8:147-151. crossref(new window)

Gentle, M. J. 1986a. Neuroma formation following partial beak amputation (beak trimming) in the chicken. Res. Vet. Sci. 41:383-385.

Gentle, M. J. 1986b. Beak trimming in poultry. World Poult. Sci. J. 42: 268-275. crossref(new window)

Gentle, M. J., D. Waddington, L. M. Hunter and R. B. Jones. 1990. Behavioural evidence for persistent pain following partial beak amputation in the chicken. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 27:149. crossref(new window)

Gentle, M. J., B. O. Hughes, A. Fox and D. Waddington. 1997. Behavioural and anatomical consequences of two beak trimming methods in 1- and 10-day-old chicks. Br. Poult. Sci. 38:453-463. crossref(new window)

Glatz, P. C. 1990. Effect of age of beak trimming on the production performance of hens. Aust. J. Exp. Agric. 30:349-355. crossref(new window)

Glatz, P. C. and C. A. Lunam. 1994. Production and heart rate responses of chickens beak-trimmed at hatch or at 10 or 42 days of age. Aust. J. Exp. Agric. 34:443-447. crossref(new window)

Gregory, N. G. 2005. Ethics of beak-trimming and cannibalism. In: Poultry Welfare Issues-Beak Trimming (Ed. P. C. Glatz). Nottingham University Press, UK, pp. 19-29.

Grigor, P. N., B. O. Hughes and M. J. Gentle. 1995. Should turkeys be beak trimmed? An analysis of the costs and benefits of different methods. Vet. Rec. 136:257-265. crossref(new window)

Hausberger, M. 1992a. Visual pecking preferences in domestic chicks. Part I. Responses of different breeds of chicks to different sorts of seeds. C.R. Acad. Sci. 314:273-278.

Hausberger, M. 1992b. Visual pecking preferences in domestic chicks. Part II. Responses of different breeds of chicks to different sorts of seeds. C.R. Acad. Sci. 314:331-335.

Hughes, B. O. and W. Michie. 1982. Plumage loss in medium-bodied hybrid hens: the effect of beak trimming and cage design. Br. Poult. Sci. 23:59-64. crossref(new window)

Jensen, T. S., B. Krebs, J. Nielsen and P. Rasmussen. 1984. Nonpainful phantom limb phenomena in amputees: incidence, clinical characteristics and temporal course. Acta. Neurol. Scand. 70:407-414. crossref(new window)

Jensen, T. S. and P. Rasmusse. 1994. Phantom pain and related phenomena. In "Textbook of Pain", (Ed. P. D. Wall and R. Melzack). Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh, pp. 508-521.

Ji, R. R. and C. J. Woolfe. 2001. Neuronal plasticity and signal transduction in nociceptive neurons: implications for the initiation and maintenance of pathological pain. Neurobiol. Dis 8:1-10. crossref(new window)

Lee, H-Y. and J. V. Craig. 1990. Beak trimming effects on the behaviour and weight gain of floor-reared, egg strain pullets from three genetic stocks during the rearing period. Poult. Sci. 69:568-575.

Ley, S. J., A. Livingston and A. E. Waterman. 1989. The effect of chronic clinical pain on thermal and mechanical thresholds in sheep. Pain 39:353-357. crossref(new window)

Ley, S. J., A. E. Waterman and A. Livingston. 1995. A field study of the effect of lameness on mechanical nociceptive thresholds in sheep. Vet. Rec. 22:85-87.

Lunam, C. A., P. C. Glatz and Y-J. Hsu. 1996. The absence of neuromas in beaks of adult hens after conservative trimming at hatch. Aust. Vet. J. 74:46-49. crossref(new window)

Melzack, R. and P. D. Wall. 1965. Pain Mechanisms: A New Theory. Sci. 150:171-179.

Moiniche, S., J. B. Dahl and H. Kehlet. 1993. Time course of primary and secondary hyperalgesia after heat injury to the skin. Br. J. Anaesth. 71:201-205. crossref(new window)

Morris, J. P., R. M. Ong, J. K. O'Dwyer, J. L. Barnett, P. H. Hemsworth, I. J. Clarke and E. C. Jongman. 1997. Pain-related cerebral potentials in response to acute painful electrical stimulation in sheep. Aust. Vet. J. 75:883-886. crossref(new window)

Ong, R. M., J. P. Morris, J. K. O'Dwyer, J. L. Barnett, P. H. Hemsworth and I. J. Clarke. 1997. Behavioural and EEG changes in sheep in response to painful acute electrical stimuli. Aust. Vet. J. 75:189-193. crossref(new window)

Parkinson, G. B. 2005. Alternatives to beak trimming: Light intensity. In: Poultry Welfare Issues-Beak Trimming (Ed. P. C. Glatz) Nottingham University Press, UK, pp. 117-121.

Pieretti, S., A. d'Amore and A. Loizzo. 1991. Long-term changes induced by developmental handling on pain threshold: Effects of morphine and naloxone. Behav. Neurosci. 105:215-218. crossref(new window)

Pujol, A., C. De Cabo, M. I. Martin and M. Paz Viveros. 1993. A developmental study on stress-induced antinociception measured by the tail electric stimulation test. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 46:373-376. crossref(new window)

Rushen, J. and J. Ladewig. 1991. Stress-induced hypoalgesia and opiod inhibition of pigs. Responses to restraint. Physiol. Behav. 50:1093-1096. crossref(new window)

Savory, C. J. 1995. Feather pecking and cannibalism. World Poult. Sci. J. 51:215-219. crossref(new window)

Schott, G. D. 2001. Delayed onset and resolution of pain: some observations and implications. Brain 124:1067-1076. crossref(new window)

Statistical Analyses Systems Inc. 1988. SAS procedures guide, Release 6.03 Edition. Cary, North Carolina, USA.

Tanaka, T. and T. Yoshimoto. 1985. Tampering with food by laying hens. Jap. J. Zootech. Sci. 56:994-996.

The National Health and Medical Research Council, Code Liaison Group. 1985. The Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

Walker, J. S. 2003. Anti-inflammatory effects of opiods. Adv. Exp. Med. Biol. 521:148-160.

Woolfe, C. J. 1989. Recent advances in the pathophysiology of acute pain. Br. J. Anaesth. 63:139-146. crossref(new window)

Workman, L. and L. J. Rogers. 1990. Pecking preferences in young chickens: effects of nutritive reward and beak trimming. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 6:115-126.