This document sets out the group’s recommendations following a review of the available evidence on routine beak trimming of laying hens. The Beak Trimming Action Group (BTAG), comprising representatives from industry, welfare groups, retailers, Defra, scientific and veterinary professions, has examined ways in which laying hens might be managed so that trimming of their beaks is not necessary.
Laying hens have a tendency to peck, which, if redirected to the plumage and skin of other birds, can lead to injury and death. The vast majority of UK laying hens housed in caged, free range or barn systems are routinely beak trimmed to reduce feather pecking.
The government’s response to BTAG’s recommendations was set out in reply to a Parliamentary Question.
We have also published some research which Defra commissioned on the effectiveness of management strategies in reducing injurious pecking of laying hens.