About cannibalism

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


9 Years
Jul 12, 2010
Mediterranean Sea
Let me explain my case first.
Last year i bought 2 raised egg layers that i thought i "rescued" from a over-crowded cage in some store. Very bad conditions there, imagine at their farms they raise them.. they were happy to free range in my yard and didnt really peck each other but they both had missing feathers and scars like they were comming from war. I bought 2 more chickens from the same cage later on, that cage had grown production reds that all had missing feathers. I also bought a young rooster and another young hen from the same store but different cage and they looked fine.

Right now, one year later, i have 2 new hens i raised added to my flock. But because of pecking i raised them seperated in another coop, bigger and nicer. The rest are in the first cage. 2 of the 4 production reds i had have died. The other two developed a cannibalistic behavior lately. In they coop there is a rooster and another, black, hen that both used to look cool with no missing feathers etc. One day their coop was filled with the roosters white feathers and i noticed they were pecked of him, the black hen also started looking in a bad shape. Few days ago while their were in their coop i noticed one of the PR attacking the black hen and chasing it all around the coop for a long time until i set them free. The black hen was very stressed. The rooster is not at the top of the chain in my flock. The PRs pecked the rooster and he just walks away. I thought it was just the pecking order but its not. The PRs are cannibals but i am lucky to have bigger hens and rooster that can take the beats. I checked him up and his feathers are cut off and bleeding. The PR in the worst shape has never left her feathers grow since last year, she is naked all that long, her feathers that "sprout" are eaten right away.

The worst thing is that the black hen and rooster the last few days are starting to peck too, like they learned that behavior and i am very afraid they will teach it to the young nice hens i have raised in the other coop because they can see each other and free range most of the time together.

This is my case.

Can cannibalism be cured somehow? Does being a PR (good layer) and eating feathers, indicate a specific nutrient need that is missing because of the high egg production? I have made some reading and i still do but i havent find an answer or real experiences. I feed them a mixed feed said to be for egg layers corn which is almost useless (i was told) and another seed i dont remember the name of that promotes egg production and is very nutricius. I am not sure what is going on, i need to do something to stop those cannibals. Today i tried to cull the worst cannibal of them two but i could not do i had no courage, i wish i could do it she makes me so angry when she attacks everything.


edit: English is not my language so forgive me for any mistakes
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Your English is fine. Your flock needs around 16-20% protein to stop the feather picking. Mixing grains is never a good thing, in my opinion, unless you know what you are doing and have a good reason. Most layer feeds are in that percentile. Feed companies spend small fortunes developing a balanced diet for the intended animal and brewing your own seldom works. Aside from occasional treats, stick with the commercial layer feed. Now, feathers are mostly protein. To help calm your flock and promote feather growth, a little added protein is in order. You can add protein by feeding a few morsels of dry cheap catfood, per bird, each day. Don`t overdo it. To stop the feather picking immediately, get some anti peck spray at any pet store. It`s in the bird section. Spray this on all exposed areas. You will need to spray every 2-3 days until the problem stops. The easiest way is to spray them while on the roost at night.. Good luck.........Pop
It's a hard habit to break. I've tried every known gimmick there is. Nothing I have tried has helped. The only advice I can give you is I wouldn't free range them together. I have two flocks. The feather pickers & the non feather pickers. I free range them both but at different times. I don't want all my chickens to look like crap. JMO. Not disagreeing with POP & I would try the anti peck lotion but it didn't work on mine. I think mine actually like the taste of it. Be careful if you use the rooster booster do not get it in your eyes. Good Luck!!!!
Thanks for the replies, i want to make clear i am not mixing grains, i give them the egg layer mixed grain i buy at the store it just includes corn and another seed i am not mixing these 2 myself.

More opinions would be helpful.

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