Feeding the birds

Dietary composition can influence injurious pecking. The contents of protein, minerals, energy and fibre have all been shown to affect severe feather pecking. Producers and rearers should communicate with their feed suppliers to ensure the needs of the hens are met. The feeding methods used on farm can also affect the risk of injurious pecking. Producers should consider the timings of chain feeds, the number of diet changes and ways to provide extra insoluble fibre to the hens.

Dietary composition Managing the feed on farm

Dietary composition

Managing the feed on farm

Environmental enrichments

Providing the hens with plenty of environment enrichment helps to keep them occupied and their attention away from pecking each other. Hens have an inbuilt need to forage even when given a complete diet. The litter is the most important additional foraging material for the hens and they will use it to dust bathe in, so it is essential that this is kept dry and friable. Other enrichments can be used in the house to help meet the needs of individual hens.

Provide pecking objects in the house Promote dustbathing

Provide pecking objects in the house 

Promote dustbathing

Provide environmental enrichments during rear

Provide environmental enrichments during rear

Making improvements

FeatherWel - improving feather cover AssureWel - improving feather cover Defra guide

FeatherWel management guide
[pdf, 5.49mb]

AssureWel advice guide
[pdf, 661kb]

Defra feather pecking guide
[pdf, 503kb]

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