I haven't been on this board for at least 5 years but I wanted to share something with you that I recently observed. To establish my creds I can tell you that I have been raising chickens since 2003 and before then for several more years during the 80's when I lived on a farm. I recently bought 6 hens from a man near my house and when I got them home I noticed their beaks were cut. My operation is all free range and these hens I bought have never seen the Sun or even set foot on the ground but lived their whole life in a coop. Needless to say they thought they died and went to Heaven when they came to my place. After about a week of getting them acclimated to their new surroundings I let them out with the other hens. A little timid at first they all eventually went out and started to explore the land. I noticed that though they tried they were virtually unable to pick anything off the ground with their cut beaks and they mostly hung around the feeder or else they would starve to death. My other hens (6) with intact beaks are out from about 10 AM until dark when they go into the hen house to sleep. All day they are scratching for grubs and bugs and eating a lot of clover and grass. Now I keep meticulous records on everything and I have noticed an incredible increase in the amount of feed I'm going through. Way more than double as I expected from doubling my head count. This whole story has led me to the following conclusion. Cutting a chickens beak is a terrible idea unless the birds are going to be kept in extremely crowded confinement with barely enough room to turn around so it doesn't matter if they only ever eat out of a feeder. However if the birds are going to be on mother earth the worst (and most expensive) thing you can do is to cut their beaks. Companies that produce chicken feed probably love the practice of cutting a chicks beak because it garrantees that they will sell more feed. Sometimes I think this is the real reason for the practice.