Injurious pecking can be prevented by ensuring:
- optimal design of the henhouse
- optimal furnishing of the range
- all measures that reduce fear and stress in the flock (both external as internal/genetic)
- all measures that improve bird health
Prevention of injurious pecking is always a matter of keeping the flock in balance. Depending on the housing system, the character of the flock, the farmer and the henhouse some measures will be more feasible than others. There is no standard formula for prevention of feather pecking. All factors mentioned under ‘Risk factors’ should be evaluated and optimized.
Reducing light intensity and/or switching to red light is a measure often taken when feather pecking occurs. Under red light, wounds do not contrast as much with brown feathers and thus attract less attention. This could help to reduce cannibalism. However, under dimmed lighting birds often become more fearful, which may counteract attempts to prevent feather pecking.
Whenever it is expected that birds are more likely to develop injurious pecking extra measures should be taken, e.g. providing extra roughage.
Treating affected birds
Affected birds can be treated with a violet spray to prevent further pecking of the affected area. They may also be kept in quarantine (separate pens) until the wounds have healed. Badly affected birds should be culled to prevent further suffering.
- Ingrepen bij pluimvee : update 2011 “Literatuurstudie ingrepen bij pluimvee” [Mutilations in poultry : update 2011 “Literature study mutilations poultry”]. Niekerk, T.G.C.M. van; Jong, I.C. de; Veldkamp, T. ; Krimpen, M.M. van , 2011. ASG Veehouderij/ Wageningen UR, 2011 (Rapport / Animal Sciences Group 468) – p. 75.
- Ingrepen bij pluimvee : update ‘Literatuurstudie ingrepen bij pluimvee, 2006’ [Mutilations in poultry : update literature study “Literature study mutilations poultry, 2006”]. Fiks, T.G.C.M. ; Jong, I.C. de; Veldkamp, T. ; Krimpen, M.M. van; Emous, R.A. van, 2009. ASG Veehouderij/ Wageningen UR, 2009 (Rapport / Animal Sciences Group 255) – p. 46
|FeatherWel management guide [pdf, 5.49mb]||AssureWel advice guide [pdf, 661kb]|
- A guide to the practical management of feather pecking & cannibalism in free range laying hens. Defra, 2005 (pdf)
- A guide to the practical management of feather pecking and cannibalism in free range laying hens. Defra, 2005 (html)
- Animal welfare on organic farms. Fact sheet series reducing the risk of feather pecking for laying hens in organic egg production. Produced in consultation with the ECOA Animal Welfare Task Force, February 2009
- Controlling feather pecking & cannibalism in laying hens without beak trimming. Pickett H., July 2008 Compassion in World Farming
- Controlling feather pecking & cannibalism in laying hens without beak trimming. Pickett H., October 2009. Compassion in World Farming. This report reviews the evidence from the scientific literature and from practical experience.
- Feather pecking and cannibalism on OrganicVet.Co.UK
|Noodmaatregelen tegen pikkerij [Treatment of FP]. Van Niekerk et al. 2013 (Report, 32 pp).||Van kuiken tot kip [Prevention of FP]. Van Niekerk et al.2011 (Report, 32 pp).|
|Fjerpilningsnøgle [Feather pecking key]. Johansen, N.F. 2013 (Report, 48 pp).|
- Fjerpilning og fjerpilningsnøgle, Johansen, N.F. 2013 (webpage).