Feather Pecking can be a major issue and is usually caused by either a management problem or a mineral deficiency or both! Once the habit is formed it’s very difficult to break. Read on to hear suggestions on how to break this habit.
First and foremost stop feeding scraps of left-over food, its illegal!! Under DEFRA rules, unless it’s a vegan household you can’t feed left over vegetable waste that has been in your kitchen, Hens will happily fill up on scraps at the expense of a well-balanced diet. Never fed pellets – always meal (mash). Hens can eat pellet very quickly and when they are full they become bored and look around for something else to do – feather pecking seems like a handy option!! Meal takes them much longer to eat so they have less time for vices – this is probably the most important change you will make. Provide both insoluble and soluble grit. The soluble grit is used for mineral supply which is important for egg producing shells and strong bone development. The insoluble grit is a ‘grinding aid’ in the crop to help with food digestion. Nutri peck blocks suspended in the run or poultry house will provide interest, distraction, occupation and has great nutritional value as well – this usually has a very successful result. Scaper is a powerful vice-buster as acts as a deterrent to feather pecking. We supply both the regular foul smelling (but effective) can and the scarper clear which is the odourless clear version.