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Q: What is debeaking or "beak trimming"? Do you debeak your birds?

A:

Debeaking or "beak trimming" is what it's called when a baby chick's beak is burnt or seared off. It is painful and cruel. Here we explain more about the practice and why we're against it.

Why do some breeders debeak their birds?

Most rare breed hatcheries and breeders do not beak trim newly-hatched baby chicks, but often trim beaks of birds they're planning on selling when they're a bit older. The reason they do this is so they can pack the birds into a very small space. Keeping chickens in close confinement naturally causes severe stress, and in response to stress chickens will peck, pluck, injure and even kill one another.

Similarly, battery hens in commercial egg producing operations are beak "trimmed," because the poor birds are only allotted about the same space as a piece of notebook paper, poor things. This is what beak-trimmed birds look like:

beak trimming

Our Quality Control Department inspecting this fine, intact beak:

beak trimming

What's wrong with the practice of beak trimming?

For starters, it's wrong to keep animals in such stressful conditions that they're apt to harm and kill one another. Sheesh! It's wrong to "fix" that problem by maiming the animals, too. They'll still be in distress! You fix that problem by providing them more space and enrichment so they're content. A happy flock will not damage one another.

Second, debeaked birds can never properly forage for (nutritious!) bugs and weeds. Little pests like ticks and flies are literally out of their grasp. They may even struggle to eat pellet feed, depending on how much of the beak was taken off.

Do you beak-trim your birds?

No. Our chickens and chicks are never debeaked or "beak trimmed." Our birds have their full, natural beaks. But this comes at a cost: biosecure space in which to raise our 6-week-old chickens, a.k.a. started pullets, is expensive. So you'll find that we charge more for these birds than many other sellers. But buying from us, you'll know that your birds were raised humanely, and that once in your yard, your chickens will be able to eat all those tasty critters and live their best lives! Plus, you won't be supporting inhumane practices. Who wants to do that?