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Since chickens are sociable, most of them enjoy interactions with other chickens. Nevertheless, this can also lead to them pecking each other. No farmer wants their chickens to regularly peck.
The most effective way to keep chickens from pecking each other is to identify why they do this and take appropriate actions. Reasons such as overcrowding and their diet may be blame for their behaviour.
Continue reading to learn why chickens peck each other and what you can do about it, and understand bullying among chickens.
- Why Do Chickens Peck Each Other
- How to Keep Chickens from Pecking Each Other
- Chicken Bullying
Why Do Chickens Peck Each Other
Here are the top reasons why chickens peck each other:
The most common reason why chickens peck at each other is overcrowding. They compete over the limited resources. Assertive chickens tend to peck the weaker chickens of the flock.
Too Much Light
When chickens are exposed to too much light, this can cause them to be aggressive towards each other. Therefore, it is recommended not to install many artificial lightings in their coop and allow them to follow natural light instead.
Overheating the chicken coop can also cause bullying. Chickens can feel uncomfortable at a very hot temperature. To relieve this feeling, they peck and bully other chickens.
This solar fan setup (Amazon link) would work nicely in circulating and cooling the air.
Another possible cause of pecking is the chickens not getting enough water and food. Chickens can pick feathers if they do not get the nutrients they need.
A chicken’s diet and even knowing how much to feed chickens is important for not only keeping your chickens from pecking each other but also their health, check out the article I wrote all about that.
Chicken bullying may happen for injured chickens. Pecking is natural for them, but it will be more significant if a chicken cannot react due to an injury. This needs to be addressed immediately because it can affect their behavior.
Size of the Flock
A flock with over 30 chickens can be hard to determine who the higher and lower chickens are. If this happens, chickens will feel anxious and stressed. This can make them aggressive, so pecking and bullying can happen.
A sudden change in their environments, such as re-arranging their waterer and feed, may cause them to bully.
Not Enough Nesting Boxes
Not having enough nesting boxes can cause chickens to peck at each other. This is more crucial for hens because they need a secure and comfy space to lay their eggs.
If you want to know more about how many nesting boxes per chicken then be sure to give that article a read.
How to Keep Chickens from Pecking Each Other
Suppose you want to stop your chickens from pecking each other. In that case, these tips might be helpful.
Assessing Behavior and Conditions of Your Chickens
Chickens feel frustrated or bored. When they show their emotions, they do this by pecking at weaker chickens. Therefore, what you need to do first on how to keep chickens from pecking each other is to examine their behavior and conditions inside and outside their coop.
You can observe these for a few days, such as the food they eat, their activities, and the areas they go to so that you can make the needed changes.
Making Sure That There is Enough Space
Chickens can feel frustrated when there is limited space in their coop which can cause pecking. You need to make sure that their coop follows the standard dimension of 2 to 4 square feet for each chicken. For the outdoor range, every chicken should have 8 to 10 square feet.
Isolating Chickens with Injuries
An injured chicken attracts other chickens because of these animals, like blood. One way on how to keep chickens from pecking each other and have a bloodbath is to check your chickens all the time and isolate the injured ones.
It is also recommended to maintain the coop’s condition and make sure that there are no sharp edges or other damages that can cause accidents and injuries to your chickens.
Restricting Exposure to Light
Chickens require not more than 16 hours of light exposure and 8 hours of darkness every day. When you expose them to too much light, it can cause stress which can make them violent. They also need to be out in winter, which has shorter daylight. This can help them adjust to the season and the sunlight.
If you use artificial lighting in their coop, it is better not to use white bulbs that have a power higher than 40 watts. You can use infra-red or red bulbs if you need something stronger in providing heat.
Properly Cooling and Ventilating Coops
Chickens do not tolerate a very high or low temperature well. If there is a significant change in the temperature within a day, it is also not good for them. Therefore, another way on how to keep chickens from pecking each other is to ensure that their coop has the right insulation.
You also need to match the needs of your chickens to the temperature. You need to check the season since there can be more issues with your chicken during the summer than winter.
I wrote an article on ventilating a chicken coop effectively – might be worth checking out if you feel you may need more ventilation.
Providing Chicken Toys
One effective method on how to avoid chickens from pecking each other is to keep them entertained with toys.
You can also make them on your own.
You can also have seed blocks (Amazon link) designed for chickens for them to peck. This block also has amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Not only do they get entertained from pecking, but they also get more nutrients.
Pecking order is the basic social hierarchy of chickens in which chickens with lower rank are pecked. Instead of retaliating, what they do is submit themselves to the pecking. Some factors that contribute to the ranking and filing of chicken are character, age, and breed, among many others.
When new chickens join, you can see your old chickens grouping together, flapping their wings, chasing, and picking the feathers of the newcomers. Nevertheless, once the new chickens are settled, this will stop. It also does not last for a long period.
Chicken bullying lasts for a long time. Not taking action can result in something fatal.
Finally, pecking among chickens is inevitable. It becomes stressful when you see that some of your chickens become hostile. Nevertheless, there are ways on how to keep chickens from pecking each other.
Since pecking order is naturally part of them, you need to take action. The reasons provided why they peck each other and solutions can help you prevent this problem.