Infrared beak treatment (IRBT) results in a change in beak shape; however, it is unclear what effect variations in post-treatment beak shape have on young pullets. Additionally, the impact of sloughing of the treated beak tissue is not fully understood. Two experiments were conducted to determine the effects of beak tissue sloughing and post-treatment beak shape on the productivity of infrared beak-treated Lohmann Brown (LB) and Lohmann LSL-Lite (LW) pullets and hens. Birds were treated on day of hatch and IRBT equipment settings were adjusted to create 4 specific beak shapes: shovel (SHV), step (STP), standard (STAN), and an untreated sham control (C). Experiment 1 pullets (n = 160) were housed in cages from 1 to 29 d of age and had access to water through chick founts or 360° nipple drinkers (2 replicate cages per treatment). Data collected included body weight (BW), feed intake (FI), feed efficiency (FE), and water disappearance (WD). Experiment 2 pullets (n = 640) were housed in floor pens from 1 d to 18 wk of age (2 replicate pens per treatment) then conventional cages during the laying period (6 replicate cages per treatment). Data collected included BW, FI, egg production, and egg quality. Data were analyzed using PROC MIXED (SAS® 9.4) and differences were significant when P ≤ 0.05. During early life, the IRBT treatments and sloughing had minor effects on FI, FE, and BW. At 4 wk of age, STAN pullets were lighter than C pullets; however, differences were no longer apparent after this age. Pullets with STP or STAN beak shapes had lower WD than C pullets when allowed access to water via nipple drinkers but this did not result in reduced growth. Throughout the laying period, SHV hens laid more saleable eggs than C hens, with no other effects on production. Overall, variations in beak shape and sloughing of the beak tissue had minimal impacts on the productivity of LW and LB pullets and hens.
|Publication status||Print publication - 1 Sep 2019|