The Effects of Beak Trimming and Claw Reduction on Growing and Early Laying Parameters, Fearfulness, and Heterophil to Lymphocyte Ratios
Honaker, Christa Ferst
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Commercial equipment used by the turkey industry at hatch sterilizes the germinal tissue of the claw with microwave energy and the beak tissue with infrared energy. This effectively claw and beak trims the birds. To test this technique on chickens, one-half of two strains of 1,200 Leghorn chicks were each subjected to the claw reduction (RC) technique at hatch, while one-half retained intact claws (IC). The beaks of one-third of these treatments were reduced at hatch using the infrared technique (1-day), one-third were precision trimmed at 7 d of age (7-day), and one-third were not trimmed (IB). Body weight, weight gain, feed intake, feed conversion, mortality, and fearfulness were measured. Rearing followed standard commercial feeding and husbandry procedures. During the preliminary experiment, heterophil to lymphocyte ratios did not consistently differ significantly between treatments. The RC birds had significantly lower body weight, except from 3 to 6 wk and had significantly lower feed consumption from 8 to 18 wk. The 1-day beak trimmed (BT) birds had significantly lower body weight from 3 to 14 wk and ate less total feed by 4 wk. Subjective evaluation showed that the RC birds exhibited less fearfulness during the growing period than the IC birds. Throughout lay, the body weight of RC and BT birds was significantly affected. Feed consumption was not lessened for RC birds, but was for BT birds throughout lay. Egg production, egg quality, and mortality were not affected by either treatment.
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