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.
Tornadoes and damaging storms that swept through the state Easter Sunday afternoon and evening, killing 11 Mississippians also caused devastating losses to growers in the poultry industry.
The strict biosecurity measures already practiced in Mississippi’s $2.7 billion poultry industry allow this “essential critical infrastructure workforce” to continue business as usual during the COVID-19 pandemic.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Necessary restrictions on travel and gatherings are affecting how the Mississippi State University Extension Service operates, but its ability to respond to the needs of its clients, the public and state agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic continues uninterrupted.
Extension’s roles during crises are many: emergency management, local level assistance, support for the state’s agricultural industry, and dissemination of public information and education.
In 2019, Mississippi’s agricultural industry faced the prospect of dipping below $7 billion for the first time in eight years, but federal payments pushed its value up enough to post a slight gain over 2018.
The estimated value of Mississippi agriculture in 2019 is $7.39 billion, a 0.2% gain from last year’s $7.37 billion. Included in the total is an estimated $628 million in government payments, the largest amount of federal assistance Mississippi producers have seen since 2006