Do you beak trim the hens?
In the past the practice has sometimes created genuine concern for animal welfare. Trimming a hen's beak is not like trimming fingernails. If it is done too late, by poorly trained staff or removing too much of the beak, it has been seen to cause or increase likelihood of long term discomfort, pain and even inhibit natural behaviours. WE DO NOT DO THIS. Yes, a small amount is trimmed. However, we are trialing some techniques they may allow us to discontinue the process.
Hens have a definite pecking order and when one hen has something different about it then the dominant hen may attack it and the others will follow. Once blood is drawn they can get into a bit of a frenzy. Flock size is a factor however it's not the only cause. It can be an issue for organic egg farmers and even happen with a few backyard hens, as shown by popular television vet Dr. Harry.
At this stage our primary goal is to avoid the hens harming themselves or each other. We only trim a very small amount of the beak at a very early age. The process is as humane as possible, and when done correctly at this early age, on proper equipment and by trained staff, the beak heals well and the hens should not suffer any major long-term ill effects. At this time the benefits to the hens general well being outweigh the disadvantages.
We are confident it has minimal impact on our hens, as they can be seen happily pecking and scratching around the pastures. Check out our live ChookCam and you can see for yourself.