What happens when a chook is debeaked and why is it done?

A chook is debeaked when the sharp point of the end of the beak is cut off. It hurts the chook when it is done and certainly doesn’t improve their looks, but should not cause continuing pain, nor affect the chook’s ability to live a normal, chooky life if it is done properly. The beak does grow back some of its former shape over time.

It is done because, in flocks of greater than 20 birds, the birds cannot remember a pecking order and continually fight to establish who is boss. This often results in missing feathers (especially on the tail) and they can even end up killing one another.

Debeaked birds don’t have this problem. In smaller flocks, a pecking order is usually established within a few hours, a couple of days at the most.

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