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The Beak Trimming Handbook for Egg Producers is a straightforward, practical guide that explains why, how and when birds are beak trimmed, production responses of birds to trimming and alternatives to beak trimming. The book explains why birds peck and how pecking can lead to problems like cannibalism. It describes in detail the methods available to beak trim birds, why a particular method should be chosen and at what age birds may be trimmed. Quality control of beak trimming is addressed, enabling egg producers to be certain that beak trimming equipment is properly set up, that birds are handled and trimmed according to best practice and farm biosecurity is maintained. Management of birds following beak trimming is covered in detail to protect the welfare of the birds and to ensure maximum productivity.
The book briefly explores the welfare issues around beak trimming and discusses how proper training can ensure that welfare standards are maintained. The benefits and detriments from beak trimming are reviewed in light of comments from experienced beak trimmers, egg producers and veterinary and industry consultants in Australia. Industry based information is provided on current methods of beak trimming, costs of trimming and ways to reduce the use of trimming. Alternatives to beak trimming are canvassed to understand how the use of fitted devices, enrichment devices, abrasives, low lighting and the choice of low-pecking strains of birds can reduce the need for beak trimming. Finally, the book discusses strategies for minimising cannibalism and how the strategy chosen may be documented and justified.