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6 Types of Cannibalism in Chickens


Cannibalism is the unpleasant behavior chickens have of pecking each other till they draw blood. After which pecking some extra. Chickens might interact in any one among six types of cannibalism, various by age and gender.

Toe Selecting — Chicks

Toe choosing is a typical drawback amongst chicks. It will probably happen in a brooder the place chicks don’t have sufficient issues to peck at. They might, for instance, have hassle discovering one thing to eat.

Possibly the feeder has a poor design or is simply too excessive, too removed from the warmth supply, or too small for the variety of chicks concerned. Chicks in search of one thing to peck might find yourself pecking every others’, and even their very own, toes. Toe choosing additionally happens the place the brooder is so unclean that poop sticks to the chicks’ toes (as proven within the picture).

To encourage chicks to peck at feed as an alternative of ft, sprinkle just a little starter ration on a paper plate or in a equally shallow container. Place the container near (however not below) the warmth supply the place the chicks can simply discover it.

If toes are injured from choosing, gentle the brooder with a purple gentle. That means chicks can’t simply detect blood whereas the toes heal.

Feather Selecting — Youngsters & Mature Chickens

Feather choosing happens most frequently amongst rising chickens which might be simply growing their full plumage coat. It’s extra widespread when the birds are crowded and annoyed.

It additionally happens in chicks saved in a brooder with a {hardware} material flooring. A wire mesh brooder flooring presents no alternative for regular scratch-and-peck conduct.

Proof of feather choosing is naked patches on a fowl’s neck, breast, again, or under the vent. Newly rising blood-filled feathers on the base of the tail are particularly tantalizing.

In mature chickens, an infestation of exterior parasites could cause pecking. Lice and mites irritate the pores and skin and feathers. In making an attempt to alleviate the itch, chickens peck at themselves. The ensuing injured pores and skin invitations pecking by different chickens.

Hens which might be lacking feathers due to treading might have a tough time rising new feathers. Flock mates might maintain pulling out the feathers which might be making an attempt to regrow.

Tail Pulling — Youngsters

Tail-feather pulling is a kind of feather choosing. This type of cannibalism in chickens is simple to identify. A picked-on hen lacks tail feathers. And the lengthy feathers litter the coop flooring.

Tail pulling is very widespread in rising birds. Triggers embrace being too crowded, too scorching, annoyed, or bored.

If you happen to maintain completely different poultry species collectively, tail pulling might not essentially be initiated by the chickens. Guinea fowl, for instance, are extra lively and considerably extra aggressive than most hen breeds. They might pull out the tail feathers of chickens to acquire fiber, to acquire protein, or simply for enjoyable.

Head Selecting — Roosters & Birds in Adjoining Cages

Cannibalistic head choosing might happen when one fowl goes via a tough molt, leaving the top and neck pores and skin naked. One other pecking set off is a bloody comb or bloody wattles, which can be the results of a combat or frostbite.

Two roosters or two hens housed in adjoining cages might decide one another’s heads. This example might happen in present birds throughout coop coaching previous to an exhibition.

The answer is to area cages far sufficient aside to forestall choosing. Cardboard or a feed sack wedged between cages isn’t at all times one of the best reply, if it reduces air circulation in heat climate.

Vent Selecting — Pullets

Vent choosing can begin if nest bins get an excessive amount of gentle. It typically happens amongst pullets simply beginning to lay.

It normally begins after a pullet tears tissue or prolapses whereas passing an egg that’s bigger than her maturing gear is able to deal with. The protruding tissue attracts different chickens to begin choosing. Finding nests in a darkened space of the coop ought to forestall the sort of choosing.

Vent choosing typically happens when one hen wanders beneath a roost the place one other hen is resting. The decrease hen takes an exploratory peck, then one other and one other. To keep away from this attraction, place the bottom perch a minimum of 18 inches above the ground.

Egg Consuming — Hens

Egg consuming happens when not sufficient nests are offered, nests are too brightly lit, housing is simply too gentle generally, or hens are crowded and bored. It typically happens because of eggs breaking within the nest.

Possibly eggs aren’t collected typically, have delicate or skinny shells, or turn out to be cracked due to insufficient nesting materials. As soon as chickens learn the way good eggs style, they purposely break them to eat them.

To discourage other-than-laying actions within the nests, darken nests by tacking or stapling curtains that dangle throughout the nest entrance. Pin up one nook for a couple of days, till the hens discover ways to get behind the curtains.

And that’s at the moment’s information from the Cackle Coop.

Gail Damerow is writer of The Rooster Well being Handbook.

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