Cannibalism, Aggressive Pecking Dir ...

Cannibalism, Aggressive Pecking Direct at the Head in Laying Hens

Cannibalism, Aggressive Pecking Direct at the Head in Laying Hens

Happenings / Clinical Signs

Aggressive pecking is always aimed at the head, with the aggressor in an upright posture with the two birds facing at each other and it is thought to be a way of establishing social order.

Aggressive pecking is distinct from feather pecking and cannibalism in form and underlying motivation. Cannibalism has been reported in all production systems but outbreaks are often more severe in large flocks of free-range or aviary birds

 

Visibly sick birds

  • Few visibly sick birds
  • Open wound on the head
  • Appearance of blood on the exposed skin
  • Combs and wattles are also a targets
  • The victim has a foraging posture with the head and neck lowered

Flock behaviour

  • Increase flock mobility or activity
  • Cannibalism attacks are usually made by groups of hens, on one individual
  • Mediterranean class hen’s strains have been much more prone to cannibalism pecking than the heavier breeds of American and Asiatic classes. 

Mortality

  • Low mortality or increases gradually
  • The mortality rate depends on the number of affected birds

Head Comb Wattles Face Nostrils Sinuses Mount Beak Ear lobes

  • Open wound on the head
  • Combs and wattles are also a targets
  • The victim has a foraging posture with the head and neck lowered
Causing Agents
Many factors may be involved in the development of these complex pecking behaviour patterns, including colony size, stocking density, nutrition and light regimen
Affected Systems/Organs
Integumentary system. Head. Skin
Spread
N/A
Mainly Affects
Liveability
Solution
Adequate husbandry. Rule out the factors such as: colony size, stocking density, nutrition and light regimen. In free-range and barn laying flocks, where pecking can be more of a problem, it is standard practice to use 0.18-0.20% sodium in the ration while for cage birds .014% is adequate.
Suggested Actions
  • Can be confirmed with clinical signs and gross lesions
  • Can be dealt with in house
  • Technical assistance recommended
  • Can be managed with feed additives, off-the-shelf medications

Impact on Egg quality

0

Impact on Liveability

1


Impact on Production

0

Overall Economic Impact

1



Y.M. Saif.2008.Disease of Poultry. 12th Edition. page 1149

David E. Swayne. 2013. Diseases of Poultry 13th Edition. page 1233

Mark Pattison, Paul F. McMullin, Janet M. Bradbury. Dennis J. Alexander. 2008. Poultry Diseases. 6th Edition. page 97 , 545

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