The impact of infrared beak treatment on turkey tom and hen beak length and performance to 12 weeks of age

S Struthers, Timothy Fiss, Henry L Classen, Susantha Gomis, Eugenia Herwig, Karen Schwean-Lardner*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Controlling injurious pecking in commercial turkeys remains a significant challenge to producers and the industry. Infrared beak treatment is an effective method of controlling injurious pecking in chickens; however, the effects of infrared beak treatment on turkey performance are still largely unknown. Two experiments were conducted to determine the impact of infrared beak treatment on the beak length and performance of turkeys raised to 12 weeks of age. Experiment 1 tested both toms (n=236) and hens (n=324), while Experiment 2 focused on hens (n=608). Poults for each experiment were assigned to 1 of 2 beak treatments: infrared beak treated (IR) on the day of hatch at a commercial hatchery or sham untreated control (C). Data collected included beak length, body weight, feed intake, feed efficiency, and mortality. Data were analyzed using a 1 or 2 way-ANOVA, followed by Tukey's range test for mean separation when interactions were found. Results showed that beak length (Experiment 1 only) was significantly shorter in IR poults from 2 to 12 weeks of age. In the same experiment, IR toms had lighter body weight than C toms, but IR hens were heavier than C hens from 2 to 4 weeks of age. By 12 weeks, IR poults were heavier than C poults, regardless of gender. In experiment 2, IR hens had lighter body weight from 2 to 4 weeks of age. In conclusion, infrared beak treatment had minimal effects on feed intake, feed efficiency, or mortality over the 12-week periods of both experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101737
JournalPoultry Science
Volume101
Issue number4
Early online date19 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • beak shape
  • body weight
  • feed intake
  • injurious pecking
  • poult

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