Cannibalism, Gentle Feather Pecking ...

Cannibalism, Gentle Feather Pecking in Laying Hens

Cannibalism, Gentle Feather Pecking in Laying Hens

Happenings / Clinical Signs

Feather pecking may vary pecking to plucking the feathers to subordinate birds

Flock behaviour

  • Increase flock mobility or activity
  • Feather pulling of subordinate birds
  • Feather pecking of subordinate birds
  • Feather eating

Feathers

  • Poor feather condition
  • Poor feather cover or feather loss
  • Feather pulling
  • Feather pecking
  • Feather eating

Diet or Feed Changes

  • Diet (nutritional deficiencies)  or  feed form are one of the complex  multifactorial behavioural  predisposing factors

 

Feather pecking is a behaviour expressed by dominant birds at subordinates. Feather pecking may vary from pecking to plucking the feathers of subordinate birds.

Birds with damaged feathers have poor thermoregulation and greater energy demands than unaffected birds. Egg production  usually drops in affected laying birds.

Today, cannibalism is more common in modern brown hybrids than in white layer lines. Recent studies have demonstrated genetic links between feather pecking and feather pigmentation.

Causing Agents
A complex multifactorial behavioural problem. Predisposing factors included overcrowding excessive light intensity or variation (e.g. trough shafts of light in the house or shed, high temperatures, nutritional deficiencies, feed form, boredom, and strain of bird. 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. The higher level does not prevent pecking completely but it reduce the susceptibility of the flock to developing the vice, which is usually triggered by management factors.
Affected Systems/Organs
Integumentary system. Skin, Feathers
Spread
N/A
Mainly Affects
Performance and Egg production may affected
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. The higher level does not prevent pecking completely but it reduce the susceptibility of the flock to developing the vice, which is usually triggered by management factors.
Suggested Actions
  • Can be dealt with in house
  • Technical assistance recommended
  • Can be managed with feed additives, off-the-shelf medications
  • Veterinary intervention is recommended

Impact on Egg quality

0

Impact on Liveability

0


Impact on Production

1

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

Steven Leeson, John D. Summers. 2008. Commercial Poultry Nutrition. Third Edition.

Donald D. Bell, Williams D. Weaver. 2009.  Commercial Chicken Meat and Egg Production. Fifth Edition.

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