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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickens123432, Feb 22, 2015.
Can you only debeak chickens as chicks or can you do it as older birds?
I'm not sure. I think they do it as chicks. Why do you want to debeak them? That's what commercial operations do that cram four or five hens into a cage big enough for only two, in order to prevent cannibalism in an unnatural situation. Are you a commercial operation?
they're beaks are so point they cut each other and make them bleed and I've had other birds that were already de beaked but they couldn't hurt each other
How old are these birds? How much space do they have? 99% of all backyard flock keepers don't debeak. If they are managed with enough space, there is no need for debeaking. A few cuts or scrapes is part of the pecking order and heal up fast, generally. Debeaking is generally considered a painful procedure and unnecessary with proper management.
3 of them are all 11 months old and one is 2 years old. They get to free range in the summer and have a big coop and run and were working on building a bigger run. If its painful I will not do it, but thats why i was wondering if you wan do it to older birds.
With what you described, I would definitely skip that procedure. Yes, it's painful and completely unnecessary in a backyard flock situation. Commercial operations cram so many birds in one cage that they do pick at each other-not the hens' fault, it's totally unnatural for them to live that way. I do believe when it's done, it is done with chicks, not adults. I know that when one of mine cracks a beak or chips a tip off, it's painful for them to eat until it has hardened and that is nothing as extreme as a debeaking.
There are many things in animal husbandry that seem cruel and inhumane to someone not familiar with what is actually going in but in practice really aren’t. I’m not quick to condemn a practice that I don’t understand the what and why, and I don’t think Cynthia is either. I totally agree with her here.
There is no need for debeaking backyard chickens if you give them sufficient space. If you overcrowd them you can have all kinds of behavioral issues like feather-picking, fighting, bullying, even cannibalism. If you overcrowd them you have to work harder, such as with poop management. If you overcrowd them you don’t have much flexibility in dealing with any issues that come up, whatever they may be. Giving them sufficient room makes your life a lot easier in many ways. From your post, you should have no reason to debeak.
The only time I would even consider debeaking a chicken would be if it were really precious to me and I couldn’t keep it any other way. Even then I’d look at alternate housing methods first. But debeaking a chickens without a real strong reason to do so, nope, not me and even then as some desperate last resort.
Would you like us to try to figure out why your chickens are pecking each other so badly??
I wonder if it's really problematic or just the usual "savage" chicken world. There is a cartoon by Doug Savage that quips "a chicken's world is a savage place." In a way, that is certainly true or may seem so to the uninitiated.
One thing that could be a factor is the feed. Are they getting enough protein? If you are feeding them 100% corn, they are not, just as an example. That, other than space, is the only thing I can really think of that would make them hurt each other that way.