Chickens pecking each other

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Emeka, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. Emeka

    Emeka New Egg

    Nov 1, 2014
    George western Cape
    Hi my name is Emeka plz can u give me the contact of expert who can trimme (Debeaking) my chicken since they were peacking each others flesh with their beak
  2. kelebek1977

    kelebek1977 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 4, 2014
    OMG! Does de-beaking still happen! Isnt it cruel?????
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Debeaking is still commonly used by the egg industry but not usually by backyard chicken owners. It is a controversial process; there is question whether it is always painful for them, and near certainty that it is if not done in a certain way, at least as I understand it. At any rate, we have learned that through proper nutrition and sufficient space, serious pecking can be prevented. There are also ways to stop it if it is an established habit. Debeaking should onl be used as a last resort. Also, when it is done, it is usually when they are day old chicks and the beak is small a somewhat soft.

    They need a well rounded feed with enough protein, and they need enough space not to feel crowded. At a mimimum, they should have about 10 sq ft each (3 sq meters, at least) of outdoor space where they can forage for bugs and plant shoots.

    They don't need much shelter from weather in a hot climate, but they will be safer if they are locked in a coop at night, the coop being about a square meter 4 square feet or a little more per chicken.. If the pecking is a serious problem, you can order little blinders to put on them so they can't see straight in front.

    Here is an article about this problem:

    edited to correct math
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2014
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    There are a lot of things in animal husbandry that on the face of it look to be cruel and inhumane but usually are not. Do you spay or neuter your cats or dogs? Think how inhumane and cruel that is. I don’t have any experience with de-beaking so I can’t speak to that directly but I try to not be too quick to judge.

    I don’t know where George Western Cape is but if it is in the United States you might call your county extension agent and talk to them. They should know someone that can give you detailed information about the practice, probably someone at the state land-grant university or a local vet. If you are somewhere else you might have a ministry of agriculture or something like that office nearby you could call or visit.

    It would help solve your problem if you could figure out why they are pecking each other. As Judy said, normally it is overcrowding but could also be nutrition. Chickens are also attracted to wounds. They will cannibalize another chicken that has a raw wound, especially if it is bloody. Also, is it just one chicken doing it or all of them? Some chickens are just brutes and not fit to live in a flock.

    A little information on how many chickens you have, how much room they have, and how you are feeding them could help.

    Good luck!

    Judy, check your math. One square meter is about 10 square feet. One meter is just over three feet. Three square meters is about 30 square feet.
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Haha, thank you! I was afraid I hadn't done that right. Meters squared and square meters aren't exactly the same, are they? I'll edit my post.

    There is evidence in the literature that debeaking or beak trimming causes lifelong pain. I haven't really researched it, either, but I would do a lot more research if I were considering doing it. Certainly, spaying or neutering, declawing a cat, trimming a dog's tail -- each is its own situation, as are many other practices in animal husbandry, and none of them compare exactly to the other. I was trying to convey that there are questions about it, not to condemn it outright. Instead, I would encourage everyone to do their own research.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2014

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