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From Will - 12 Dec 2009

Hello,

I was just wondering whether you are opposed to debeaking in all circumstances or not? Also, what exactly do you find objectionable with the procedure?

I wondered this as I have found that even in a farmyard environment where the birds have a ton of space, one hen tends to dominate the others and fairly frequently this will involve pecking the wattles etc of another bird and causing some minor injury. Situations like this typically arise when one bird chases another off of food or a perch, regardless of how much there is of/how spread out the food is, or how plentiful the perches are--many hens just seem to peck others for the sake of "showing the others who's boss."

In light of this situation, for many owners of backyard or farmyard flocks, snipping the beak back (trying not to cut as far back as to cause bleeding and without using heat) seems like the most obvious way to prevent injury inflicted by the dominant hen. Provided that it is not done too far back, the negative effects are restricted to the hen having a slightly less effective beak (until it grows back), and this should not effect the bird's ability to eat as much as it likes etc. If you are opposed to beak cutting in this kind of situation, why? Also, what would you recommend as an alternative?

Appreciate any reply you may make,
Will

Reply from Frank and Mary

Dear Will:

Thank you for writing.

Yes, we are opposed to debeaking in all situations, because it is cruel and in most cases it causes life-long suffering. The only reason it came into use was to overcome the chickens' frustrations of living in closely confined situations, where they peck on another. If they could live as God intended, the chickens would just move apart from one another.

Yes, chickens do seem to develop a pecking order, but again, this is a factor of domestic farming operations. If the chickens had no confinement, the picked on chicken would move somewhere else.

The simple answer is to go vegan and don't eat the chickens or their eggs. Then there would be no need for debeaking or any other animal mutilation. And, in the process, humans would be a lot healthier.

In the Love of the Lord,

Frank and Mary

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