There are several methods available for beak trimming.
Hot blade (4-5 days of age)
The most commonly used method is beak trimming by means of a hot blade. This method is usually practiced when the birds are 4-5 days of age. Important with this method is that the blade is warm enough for immediate cauterization of the wound. The blade is hot enough when the center is cherry-red hot. To stimulate cauterization, the house temperature is usually dropped during the debeaking process, as lower temperature helps to stop the bleeding.
Automated hot blade (4-5 days of age)
To have a uniform debeaking procedure, sometimes a plate with a hole in front of the blade is used. This prevents that the beak is pushed-in too far. When a plate with a hole is used, sometimes the birds are fixed with a special equipment, that holds the head in a standard position. This is called a debeaking automat. Whenever this type of equipment is used, it is important that it is adjusted to the actual size of the flock, and that the flock is uniform in development, to provide a uniform beak trimming.
Laser, infra-red or microwave (hatchery)
Debeaking can also be done in the hatchery. With this method, a pulse of high energy is sent through the tip of the beak, either by means of an infra-red beam, an electric currency, a microwave beam or a laser beam.
This pulse of high energy, damages the tissue in the tip of the beak and as a result, the tip of the beak falls-off after a few days.
Although this treatment seems to cause less stress for the birds, there is a risk of retarded growth after a few days, especially when small birds are beak trimmed. This retarded growth seems to be caused by a more senstive beak tip, indicating some development of pain.