An animated video that seeks to explain beak trimming layer chicks – and the consequences of leaving flocks untrimmed – has been launched by a group of interested parties.
The Coalition for Sustainable Agriculture, a US-based organisation, commissioned the five-minute piece, entitled “Beak Treatment: It’s best for the bird”, to aid lobbying efforts.
It explains that feather pecking can be painful, cause skin trauma, draw blood and lead to cannibalism.
Treating the beaks of day-old chicks can mitigate this damage, cutting flock mortality in half.
The video also highlights that it can happen to flocks of birds in any farming system, whether caged, kept in barns or free range – and that more extensive systems can be worse.
Following this, it gives an animated demonstration of infrared beak trimming and shows how the tip of beaks will fall off a few days after treatment, creating a more blunt appendage.
It concludes: “Allowing untreated birds to aggressively attack others in a flock is inhumane.
“The slight, short-term discomfort a chick may experience is far outweighed by the serious physical damage it would suffer, should aggressive feather pecking and cannibalism break out in the flock.”