Why do chickens peck each other until they bleed and symptoms of cannibalism, what to do

Why do chickens peck each other until they bleed and symptoms of cannibalism, what to do

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Pecking in birds is not uncommon. It affects both adults and young animals, and even chickens. There are reasons for this unpleasant behavior of birds. Consider why the chickens begin to peck at each other until they bleed and what to do in this situation. How to prevent a similar problem in the future, to prevent pecking among the domestic chicken livestock.

Cannibalism reasons

There is no single reason for pecking. Chicks can peck at each other due to lack of nutrients, crowded housing, improper lighting.

Lack of calcium

In order for chickens and chickens to grow normally, nutrients must constantly enter the body. They are all found in the food that the bird eats every day. Mineral intake is also important. Pecking in chickens occurs due to a long-term lack of calcium. Calcium deficiency makes birds aggressive, they pounce on each other, pluck feathers and peck until blood appears. Thus, they try to get food from what is nearby. In addition to calcium, pecking causes a lack of protein, vitamins, and salt.


Pecking is often observed among those birds that are kept in close quarters, when there are more individuals per unit area of ​​the poultry house than is allowed by the norm. Living in cramped conditions, chickens cannot approach the feeder or drinker during feeding, and rest normally. All this leads to nervousness, the chickens behave aggressively, fight, peck each other.

Incorrect lighting

Bright lighting provokes aggressiveness, which results in pecking. Keeping birds in dim light will greatly reduce the likelihood of this behavior. The color of the light also matters. For example, red and blue calm the bird, normalize the behavior of chickens.

The main symptoms

Weak individuals are attacked, stronger ones begin to peck them. They pull feathers from the neck, back, tail. When blood appears, this not only does not stop the chickens, but, on the contrary, makes them continue to bite. The rest join the aggressive individual. If the victim is not planted, it can be pecked to death.

If the chick that bites others is alone in the flock, then the reason is most likely in its character. He needs to be separated from the rest and, if the biting stops, then the problem is solved.

How to deal with the problem

Review the diet, analyze how balanced it is. Are all the nutrients, and how much, are in the foods that birds eat. Add protein-rich foods and greens to the feed. Add salt, vitamin preparations and, as a source of calcium, chalk to the mash. After a while, the biting should stop. If the chickens are cramped, place some of the individuals in another room. The livestock should move freely, find a place to rest, not interfere with each other during feeding.

Expert opinion

Zarechny Maxim Valerievich

Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.

If the reason for the pecking is in the wrong lighting, then you need to put a not powerful lamp or a red one in the chicken coop. The latter option is even better - the red light hides blood stains from aggressive individuals.

Pecking victims will need treatment. They are separated from the rest in a small cage. Wounds are treated with hydrogen peroxide (a good blood clotting agent) or a pink solution of potassium permanganate. Then sprinkle with streptomycin powder or other antibacterial agent. For at least a week and a half, the wounds must be monitored. If pus appears, treat first with chlorhexidine, and then with levomekol or tetracycline ointment.

Preventive actions

The problem of pecking can be prevented by dividing the chicks into 2 groups, in one of which there will be aggressive and more active birds, in the other - more calm ones. Youngsters of a different age cannot be added to the chickens, in this case, fights are inevitable. It is also best not to keep a large number of cockerels together. Males always fight among themselves and the older they get, the more aggressiveness increases.

To prevent pecking due to crowding, it is necessary to calculate how many birds can be accommodated per unit area. You cannot exceed this number. For 1 chicken up to 3 weeks, 120 sq. cm, up to 10 weeks - 200 sq. cm, up to 17 weeks - 330 sq. see You also need to release chickens for a walk in the aviary. Walking has a good effect on the mental state of birds, which become calmer and more balanced.

It is necessary to feed the chickens properly. Often, it is the mistakes in the preparation of the diet that lead to biting. In the feed, which chickens should receive every day, in addition to carbohydrates from grain, there should be vitamins (greens, meat and bone meal) and mineral elements (salt, chalk, shell).

In general, the more varied the diet, the less likely the birds will be deficient in any of the nutrients.

The cardinal method of preventing pecking is considered to be the method of cutting off the tip of the beak in chickens, which becomes blunt, and the chick can no longer grab the feather of a neighbor with it. But this procedure is rather difficult to perform, requires accuracy, therefore it is not used in the household. But it is used in the industrial breeding of chickens, their beaks are cut off in the incubator or in the first day of life. Recovery lasts a long time, but does not prevent chickens from eating normally.

Any poultry farmer can experience pecking in chickens. The reason for this behavior often lies in the actions of the owner. If the matter is not in the presence of naturally evil individuals, then it is necessary to consider whether everything is properly organized in feeding and keeping. Do not hope that the problem will be solved by itself. After identifying the cause, you need to start eliminating the problem, otherwise the chickens can bring each other to death.

Watch the video: Chicken CANNIBALISM Causes u0026 Control (December 2022).