We must all face a reality that chickens do have a pecking order and are often very mean and cruel animals to each other. Even the healthiest chickens given the best nutrients and feeds out there ---DO NOT CARE--- and will often on occasion kill another chicken. I've been raising chickens for many years, and I can assure you that they do get a "blood lust" once there is an open wound. They LOVE the taste of blood.
People come up with a lot of reasons for pecking - and sometimes they make sense - but most of the time the reality just exists that pecking order is natural and chickens can be awfully cruel. THIS THREAD IS NOT TO DISCUSS THIS.
Nor is this thread asking for suggestions on alternatives such as "Peepers" which are plastic devices that can fall off. I understand they are effective but I'd rather not discuss them.
Nor is this thread asking for a lecture on the whether or not debeaking is cruel. (so is letting chickens get pecked to death by others)
So basically I want to avoid ideological, moral, and ethical discussions about debeaking in this thread! Debeaking is a major part of the poultry industry for a reason! Many of us backyard chicken keepers may not need debeaking. However when your flock gets over 500 chickens, different needs arise. So please let's be friendly and stay on topic and not debate here.
Let's talk about debeaking techniques, how it is done, and alternatives to expensive debeaking machine.
First, I was curious if anybody has ever used a hot knife to debeak (not part of a machine)? Something like this.
I was considering drilling some holes of various sizes in a piece of sheet metal and putting about 1/3rd of the upper and lower beak on a 5-10 day old chick through the hole. Then running the hot knife down the backside directly against the sheet metal with the tip of the beak poking through. I believe this will cut/melt the beak and cauterize any bleeders. The knife's temp runs similar to Lyon unit debeakers. I am unfamiliar if Lyon blades are actually sharp, but is more like a "melt cut" does anybody know?
Second, does anybody know of less expensive brand debeakers than Lyons. Putting up $300++ for a debeaker is pretty high for non-commercial purposes.