Beak filing?????!!

2dancingrats

Songster
10 Years
Jun 17, 2009
247
10
136
Bay City, Michigan
We have a very mean roo and a realatively mean hen in our flock. My husband seems to think we can "file" their beaks to make them less dangerous.
Does anyone do this? To me, it just seems so wrong. Please help before anyone suffer undue and maybe illegal mutilation.
Thanks.
 

Bat Cave Silkies

Songster
9 Years
Feb 11, 2010
1,330
22
151
Bat Cave, NC
Filing their beaks WILL NOT make them any less mean---it may make it hurt less when they peck. Beaks should only be filed, or trimmed when the upper part has become too long for the chicken to eat well--unless its a show bird, then it need to be trimmed for proper appearance..
I'm not speaking from experience--but I received an inservice on beak trimming from an expert yesterday.
 

2dancingrats

Songster
10 Years
Jun 17, 2009
247
10
136
Bay City, Michigan
Thanks. We didn't think it would make them nicer. So, are you saying it wouldn't harm them? I'm reluctant to do this but my husband thinks its the answer. I suppose, since they are pecking thier coop-mates, if it could be done safely, I would consider it.
 

PunkinPeep

Songster
10 Years
Mar 31, 2009
3,642
68
229
SouthEast Texas
If they are hurting the other chickens, then i would suggest other alternatives. I don't think beak filing is going to make too big a difference. Are they just pecking or actually hurting the others? I don't put up with them hurting each other, and i would explore other ideas if that's what is happening.
 

EweSheep

Flock Mistress
13 Years
Jan 12, 2007
21,908
158
418
Land of Lincoln
You CAN beak file but not in a way that it would be like the hatchery kind, the de beaking. Their beak is pretty much like our fingernails, they do grow a bit and some bantams I've seen got a hook on the end. They can do some damage if they are bullies.

File until you see light pink on the tip, pretty much like dog nails and STOP! If you go any further it will cause pain to the birds. Be mindful when you file down, their feed troughs should be deep so they can "shovel" the feed in their mouths. And you would need to trim it every other month or so, depending on how fast the beak grows.

If this does not work, peep blinders would work.
 

PunkinPeep

Songster
10 Years
Mar 31, 2009
3,642
68
229
SouthEast Texas
Quote:
For the rooster, i would correct him any time i saw him hurt or be inappropriately rough with a hen. I would do this by immediately picking him up and holding him under my arm (very firmly) and hold his beak closed with my other hand - until he submits. If this isn't good enough for him, i would pick him by the feet the next time i saw him do it. You're letting him know that you're the boss, and you don't approve of his behavior.

For the hen - mind you i haven't had a mean hen problem personally - quite a few people utilize a hen time out. You remove her from the flock, for maybe a day, at first. Keep her some place where she can see the flock but can't interact with them - or just remove her completely. When she returns, she will have lost her place in the pecking order, and you may see some behavior changes.

There is an article, somewhere at byc, i think, that goes into depth about rooster behavior modification and establishing yourself as alpha roo. I can't seem to find it right now.

In short, for me - and this is just me - if i could not reasonably change the behavior of any chicken in my flock who was physically hurting the others - i would remove it permanently from my flock before i would spend time filing down his or her beak. Again, that's just me. Behavior like that spreads.
 

2dancingrats

Songster
10 Years
Jun 17, 2009
247
10
136
Bay City, Michigan
WOW. PunkinPeep, that was a very useful answer! I never thought the chickens were teachable/trainable. I wondered about picking them up by their feet because my Dad told me they used to do that when they were going to butcher them. They'd pick them up by their feet and hang them head-down from a clothesline. The bird would eventually pass out. This, back in the 40's (and now, for all I know) was considered the humane way to butcher chickens.

So, If I pick him up by his feet, he won't like it, will know I'm the boss, and will connect this with his rudness to the hens. Sound too good to be true, but I will be trying that and the time-out.

Thank you, and if you do find the article you referred to, please, please, let me know.
 

PunkinPeep

Songster
10 Years
Mar 31, 2009
3,642
68
229
SouthEast Texas
Quote:
I do prefer to try the right-side-up way first. And i do butcher chickens, and i also hang them up-side-down to do it, but the great thing about that grip is that you have absolute control. If you have their foot, all they have is flailing and sit-ups to try to peck you. They grow weary of sit-ups very quickly. If the holding right-side-up doesn't work, and you move on to dangling, i might try holding them by the feet and then right side up to see if he got the message.

I'm so happy i could share useful information.

And i am still looking for that article for you.

Chickens are definitely teachable. They have tiny little brains, but what's there can learn.
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