How to Safely Debeak Chickens & Other Poultry Birds

What is Debeaking?

Debeaking in poultry management is the act of reducing the length of the beak of poultry birds. The purpose of doing this is to prevent feather pulling and cannibalism and to reduce feed wastage. It is a delicate operation, and if it is improperly done, it may lead to difficulties in drinking and eating, which directly leads to poor growth, unevenness in the flock, and even mortality as a result of blood loss.

The operation can be carried out at one week old (7-9 days) and a few weeks old (8-10 weeks). The advantage of debeaking at one week old is that the operation would have a minimal effect on the chick’s body weight and it is not necessary to carry it out again a second time during the rearing period. For precise beak trimming operation, the birds should be a few weeks old (8-10 weeks). The general disadvantage of debeaking or beak trimming is that, when it is improperly done, it could take longer for the birds to regain body weight.

Benefits or Advantages of Debeaking

The advantages or benefits of debeaking your birds are as follows:

  1. To prevent the wastage of feeds
  2. It reduces the incidence of pecking and cannibalism
  3. It reduces feather picking
  4. It makes the handling of chicken easier

Debeaking Techniques

The different ways of trimming the beak of birds are:

  • Use of machine
  • Use of knife

How to Use the Debeaking Machine

automatic beak trimming machine
Automatic beak trimming machine

The debeaking machine makes it faster and easier to debeak chickens. There are automatic and semi-automatic poultry beak trimming machines. Follow the procedures below to use the automatic debeaking (beak trimming) machine.

  1. When the switch is turned on, adjust the temperature of the movable blade till it looks reddish or bright.
  2. When the movable blade glows, start the motor switch and the boat-shaped switch.
  3. Adjust the aperture of the micro cutter blade according to the beak size.
  4. Hold the chicken’s feet with the left hand, the neck with the right thumb, and pin the throat with the forefinger of the right hand. Stick the beak of the chicken into the aperture.
  5. The bleeding stops in 2 to 4 seconds after the movable blade drops.

If you want to buy this machine, click HERE

How to Use the Debeaking Knife

You can use the normal kitchen knife to debeak your chickens. How to do this:

  1. You will need a partner to do this comfortably
  2. Place the knife on a burning stove or coal and allow it to be red hot
  3. Let your partner hold the chicken’s legs and hold the head (toward the mouth) of the chicken with one hand and gently cut the pointed tip of the chicken’s beak using the hot knife.
  4. Release the bird afterward.

You can do this easily and faster by using a Handheld Electric Debeaking knife

Handheld Electric Debeaker or Debeaking Knife
Handheld Electric Debeaker or Debeaking Knife
Handheld Electric Debeaker
Handheld Electric Debeaker

If you want to buy this debeaker, Click Here

Rules in Debeaking


  • Do not debeak birds if the flock is not in good health or if it is undergoing vaccine reactions.
  • Add Vitamin K to the drinking water 48 hours prior to trimming and after to prevent haemorrhages.
  • Check the equipment and make sure that the trimming blade has the right temperature to cauterize, but not so high to form a blister on the beak later.


  • The operator should be installed and seated comfortably in such a way that each beak will be cut in the same manner.
  • Do not rush the process: a too high rate (number of birds/minute) could lead to a higher chance of errors and poor uniformity.
  • Clean the blades with sandpaper after using them on 5,000 chicks or birds.
  • Make sure the tongue of the bird is not burned.


  • Increase the water level in the drinkers and the pressure in the pipes to make it easy for the birds to drink.
  • Make sure that the depth of the feed is adequate. Do not empty the feeders for a week following beak trimming.
  • It is important to give birds anti-stress or multivitamins before and after the operation so as to reduce the stress effect on the birds’ performance.

It is highly beneficial to debeak poultry birds to reduce mortality due to pecking, and wastage of feed to save cost.

Signup today and receive free updates straight in your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Share on:


Akinbobola A.

I'm a livestock farmer, certified animal scientist and agro consultant. You can follow Livestocking on Facebook and Twitter. Click here to send me an email
Buy Chicks Online

7 thoughts on “How to Safely Debeak Chickens & Other Poultry Birds”

  1. Hi, i do not know how old this article is but i hope to get an answer!
    We have a 6 month old hen. She is badly scissor beaked. I have been feeding her with a sryinge. But winter is coming on and that will be difficult for me as i have ms.
    My thoughts on this procedure is that it is inhumane. But…i believe it would get this hens back to almost normal. So would you suggest this at her age or something else?
    Thank you


Leave a Comment