The act in which chickens establish social dominance is called “pecking order”. Pecking order in chickens is a natural behavior in which status determines which birds eat first and have right of way privileges. Excessive pecking can lead to bleeding sores and even death if allowed to get out of control and is referred to as cannibalism. Cannibalism can be difficult to stop once it begins so prevention is the best and most successful treatment. Controlling cannibalism can be achieved by not crowding the birds, keeping light levels reduced, providing adequate feeder space, and insuring proper nutrition through a well balanced ration, such as Purina Mills Family Flock products.
Be sure to maintain good air quality and alleviate other conditions that may be stressful for the bird. It is also important to have adequate nesting space (4-5 hens/nest), with reduced light intensity. Furthermore, be sure to have dry litter; wet litter will damage feather quality, allowing greater damage from pecking. One of the best methods of preventing cannibalism is through beak trimming. Beaks are trimmed during the growing period with a heated blade in which about 2/3 of the upper beak and 1/3 of the lower beak is removed. After this procedure, the chances of injury due to pecking is markedly reduced, but does not impair the birds’ ability to consume feed.
Purina Mills® Layena® SunFresh® Recipe is balanced to contain the proper vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in the proper ratios necessary for the production of excellent quality eggs.