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Grün, S.; Bergmann, S.; Erhard, M.; Sommer, M. F.; Müller, M. and Damme, K. (2019): Effects of different blunting methods on the welfare of non beak-trimmed male turkeys. In: European Poultry Science, Vol. 83

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In view of the planned abandonment of routine beak-trimming in turkeys in Germany, two different blunting methods were evaluated at the " Education, Research and Demonstration Centre of Poultry and Small Animal Farming" in Kitzingen (Germany) and the effects on selected welfare indicators for non beak-trimmed turkeys were examined. Altogether 746 male B. U. T. 6 turkey chicks of the breeding company Moorgut Kartzfehn von Kameke GmbH & Co. KG, Bosel, Germany were housed. For the first five weeks the chicks were reared in twelve compartments with a stocking density of 11.8 kg/m 2. For the actual examination during the fattening period (6.-21. live week), a total of 600 male turkeys were randomized to a total of 24 experimental compartments after the fifth week of life (planned stocking density: 51,9 kg/m 2) and the respective blunting method was installed into the pan feeding system of the compartments. The following control and experimental groups were used: K1: beak-trimmed turkeys without blunting (n = 150 animals);K2: non beak-trimmed turkeys without blunting (n = 150 animals);V1: non beak-trimmed turkeys with screed grinding disc as blunting method (n = 150 animals) and V2: non beak-trimmed turkeys with metal grid disc (n = 150 animals). In 28-days rhythms the turkeys were scored, the beak was measured and the weight of the animals was recorded. In addition, data on indoor and outdoor climate such as light intensity, gaseous ammonia content, temperature and humidity was collected. In addition 12 randomly selected turkeys from each variant were slaughtered in Kitzingen after the 17 th and 21 st week of life, and their heads examined macroscopically and histologically at the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety in Erlangen (Bavaria, Germany). There were significant differences (p = 0.05) between the experimental groups in the beak rating, concerning the length of the beak, the beak supernatant and the slaughter weight. Strong differences were found between the beak-trimmed and the non beak-trimmed turkeys. Significant (p = 0.05) differences were also noted between the two blunting methods, for example in the upper beak supernatant: with screed grinding disc 3.02 mm and with the metal grid disc 4.00 mm. With regard to the morphology of the beak, a significant higher abrasion was achieved with screed grinding discs without any injury to the tactile organ.

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