Welcome to we know pets! We know pets blog! Feather pecking in your chooks!


Published on 23/07/2014 10:17 AM by Jeremy Maitland

Feather pecking in your chooks!

Feather pecking in your chooks!

Aggression and feather pecking or plucking are the two most common behavioural problems in chickens.


 These behaviours are normally a reaction to things happening in your chooks environment  such as  stress, overcrowding, and competition over resources such as food. Feather pecking  can be managed by addressing the underlying problem and in some cases by removing the instigator.

What you can do:

Provide additional stimulation  and enrichment

Providing enrichment and changing the social structure by removing or adding individuals may help. In rare cases, aggression can advance to cannibalism. Interestingly, broilers and free-ranging chickens are more likely to show these problems because egg-laying chickens in mass production are usually confined to small groups. 

Suspend  a corn cob  on string  in the hens run. This will occupy hens for hours! A bale of oaten hay in the enclosure will allow them to scratch & forage for food  which are natural behaviours. You can collect this each week and add to your garden so it’s a win win!

Grooming and feather care are part of normal hygiene in chickens and can also be social activities. Dust baths can help reduce the incidence of feather picking. 

Select a genetically well rounded bird!

It is no surprise that some behaviours such as food intake, nesting, egg  production and temperament are  genetically controlled. Always select hens that are vaccinated too to ensure that your flock won’t  slowly die off from preventable diseases. A sick bird will feel stressed and will eventually show signs of this making them a prime target to agressive  behaviour  from other birds. All of our hens are breeds that areprolific layers! They are 98% guaranteed to be hens & are fully vaccinated. We sell day old chicks and adult hens ready to lay.

Ensure there are several water & feeding stations in the hens run!

Food competition is quite normal in any flock.  Always have plenty of fresh high quality chook food available and a constant supply of fresh water. We supply a complete range of high quality chook food from chick starter to layer mixes.

organicchookfoodblog.jpg Our range of organic food is also available and a great way of knowing that your hens will be laying  you organic eggs! We recommend that you have at least 2 feeders and 2 water dispensers for every  5 hens. 


 Free ranging and pecking order.

 We recommend that you allow your hens out for most of the day to scratch, forage and exercise.  This will provide plenty of space between any hens that may show signs of aggression. As with any  group, your flock of hens will have a distinct pecking order. Hens that are at the top of  the heirachy will always eat first, drink first enter the hen house first and so on.  Once pecking order    is established and birds are fully grown, it usually remains unchallenged unless one of the birds  becomes stronger, healthier or matures and challenges the hen higher up the pecking order.

 Remember, always secure your hens in their hen house at night to keep them safe from foxes and  other predators. 


For  further information regarding  feather pecking, call in & see us in the store, or email us: admin@weknowpets.com.au

104 Clinton St Goulburn NSW 2580  &  4/72-76 Station St Bowral NSW 2576

PH: 024822 2319   PH: 024862 1175

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