Domestic Fowls (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock (PB0076)

7. Management

Beak Trimming

(See note 8)

  1. Beak trimming should be carried out only as a last resort, that is, when it is clear that more suffering would be caused in the flock if it were not done.
  2. When an outbreak of vice occurs it should be tackled immediately by appropriate changes in the system of management, for example, by reduction of the lighting intensity.
  3. If beak trimming is necessary it should be done by a skilled operator or under his supervision.


  1. Beak-trimming (sometimes known as de-beaking) means the removal from a bird of not more than one-third of the beak, measured from the tip towards the entrance of the nostrils. The operation, if not undertaken by a veterinary surgeon, must be carried out as prescribed in the Veterinary Surgery (Exemptions) Order 1962 (SI 1962 No. 2557).
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