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Cannibalism/bullying link to nutritional deficiency...

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by RedShuffler, Nov 6, 2016.

  1. RedShuffler

    RedShuffler In the Brooder

    Sep 26, 2016
    Sorry if this has been covered somewhere else and I missed it, I intend to research it more after I get back from church.
    I have one girl that is bullying, but she's also eating feathers. She's in time out now, and has been for 2 days... wanted to try getting her away from the flock and re-introducing her to possibly affect pecking order.
    Yesterday she laid two eggs in 15 hours, and that started me wondering if she may have some sort of nutritional deficiency..laying eggs that quickly has to be fairly taxing on a chicken.
    I feed a 17% gamecock conditioner and keep grit as well as oyster shell out on the run all the time...they usually free range three or four hours a day as well.
    I'm just wondering if I should consider putting some supplemental vitamins in the water to help with the feather eating and pecking.
    Thanks all and God bless.

  2. DrPatrickBiggs

    DrPatrickBiggs Chirping

    Aug 20, 2015
    Hi RedShuffler,

    Bullying and feather pecking/eating can be a sign of nutritional deficiency, boredom, or just a bad personality! My first recommendation is to get your hens on a laying hen diet. That feed is formulated specifically for laying hens. You shouldn’t need to provide any additional supplements if you are feeding a good-quality laying hen feed. I am not sure about your gamecock conditioner, so I can’t say if that is your problem. I am guessing it is contributing to the problem. Roosters have a different set of nutritional requirements than those of laying hens. I am assuming that the gamecock conditioner is not meeting the nutritional requirements of a hen that is laying eggs.

    Next, take a look at what the hens are doing. Are they bored? Do they need a distraction from their everyday life? Providing an outlet for the hens to direct their aggression is a better plan than letting them beat on each other. Try a Purina Flock Block to give the birds something else to peck at. Chicken swings are another popular option. Let the hens out of the coop to roam and get away from each other. Are your hens too crowded? Figure about 10 square feet of coop space (house and run areas combined) for each bird. Crowding causes them to be aggressive. Just like people, hens have personalities. Unfortunately, not all of those personalities are fun. You may just have a “rude” hen. If her behavior doesn’t improve, you may want to try to relocate her to a new home. The other solutions are less desirable.

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