Causes of pecking and cannibalism
Cannibalism is a prevalent problem in chicken and game bird flocks. It usually begins as simple pecking among the birds and escalates until it is out of control. There are many conditions that increase the likelihood that it will become a serious problem. The problem usually begins by innocent pecking during the establishment of a social order or by pulling of the feathers in certain cases. Some of the reasons for cannibalism are:
- Crowding birds - Correct by increasing the amount of space available for each bird.
- Provide plenty of feed and water - All birds should have access to feed and water at all times.
- Keep light intensity low - Bright lighting increases bird activity and cannibalism.
- Keep the house temperature comfortable - Hot house temperatures aggrivate birds and make them more irritable.
- Provide all dietary nutrients at recommended levels - Deficiencies of nutrients like methionine and salt will increase a craving for feathers and blood.
- Regularly treat birds for external parasites - Pests can stimulate birds to peck and injure the skin, resulting in cannibalistic frenzies.
- Remove all sick, weak, small, or odd colored chicks - Birds will attack and kill these chicks as a survival instinct, resulting in widespread cannibalism throughout the flock.
If the pecking and cannibalism problem can not be controlled by the recommended management practices, the last resort is debeaking. Many producers commonly remove portions of both the upper and lower beaks of chicks soon after hatching. This prevents future pecking problems. The debeaking procedure is accomplished by using a hot debeaking blade that cauterizes while cutting the beak. In young chicks, the beak is so soft that touching the beak to a hot metal blade usually removes enough beak to prevent cannibalism. Mature birds may need to have their beaks "trimmed" periodically to prevent cannibalism in older flocks.
Backyard chicken flocks continue to grow in popularity as Mississippians embrace the ability to produce some of their own food and enjoy the quirky personalities of the birds.Tom Tabler, poultry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said those considering starting a backyard flock need to make clear-headed plans before bringing home darling little chicks.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Each February marks the occasion for producers to share their research and programming needs with Mississippi State University agricultural specialists in person.
To comply with COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, the opportunity will be extended virtually this year.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Despite multiple challenges in 2020, Mississippi’s poultry industry retained its first-place position among the state’s agricultural commodities. It topped the list with an estimated total production value of $2.16 billion.
That figure is down 16.1% from 2019. Final figures will be available in April.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will accept applications for assistance from agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19.Sign-up for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 -- CFAP 2 -- begins Sept. 21 and runs through Dec. 11, 2020. The program is open to producers of row crops, livestock, aquaculture, dairy and specialty crop commodities.
Poultry producers across the Southeast have plenty of experience cleaning up after storm damage to broiler and breeder houses, but they now have new guidelines for hurricane preparedness and recovery.