It has long been the custom to suggest lack of adequate space and poor management as the causes of cannibalism and feather picking when the tendency to cannibalism appears to be heritable. http://www.organicvet.co.uk/Poultryweb/disease/feath/feath1.htm ~~Feather pecking has been shown to be heritable and the first genetic regions (QTL) involved in feather pecking have been identified (Rodenburg et al., 2004a). There can be significant breed differences in tendency to feather pecking and cannibalism (Hocking et al, 2004). Schlolaut and Lange (1977) showed differences between strains of White Leghorn hens. When birds selected under cage systems are raised on floors due to a change in consumer demand from cage-produced eggs to eggs from birds on floor production systems, as is the case in Denmark, there is increased cannibalism and feather pecking. Sorensen and Christensen (1997) discuss how this situation may have been the result of selection for egg production in fowls kept in cages which in turn may have resulted in a loss of genes for social interaction. Birds from a low feather pecking genetic line may show greater sociality (motivation to be near companions) and a passive 'coping' style although social transmission of gentle but not severe pecking can occur when lines with opposite feather pecking tendencies are housed together (Hocking et al, 2004). Gentle feather pecking and open-field behaviour may be used in selection against feather pecking (Rodenburg et al., 2003). Birds from high and low feather pecking lines that show differences in feather pecking have also been shown to differ in other behavioural and physiological characteristics and this may reflect line differences in coping strategy (Rodenburg et al., 2004a).