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Why are my chickens feather pecking?

Feather pecking is mainly down to 2 reasons, boredom and lack of space. Make sure you select hens that are compatible, you can use our breed compatibility page for more help on this.

Boredom is the main issue we see along with lack of space, if your hens are in too small a space they become crowded and will take out their frustrations on each other, sadly, once pecking starts it is hard to stop as it becomes habitual and if the pecking draws blood chickens do get a taste for the blood and will then start pecking to draw blood. Enrich your area well and ensure you have enough room: For larger rangy breeds we recommend no less than 2-2.5mtr sq per bird and for bantams 1-1.5mtr sq per bird as a bare minimum.

Stress can also cause feather pecking, the main culprits for stress are again, not enough space, breed incompatibility and overcrowding. Sometimes hens will pluck their own feathers due to stress, but also due to being broody, broody hens will pluck feathers from their breast area to line their nest and to enable them to control the temperature when incubating their eggs with skin on egg contact.

Mites can be a catalyst for over grooming and feather pecking, make sure you check your hens thoroughly if you have any sudden feather loss or scratching followed by pecking.

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