Nobody wants to see one of their hens pecking, but you can make a few changes to block this from happening. Nobody can be sure what goes on in the mind of a chicken, so it’s not like they can tell us humans why they peck other chickens or do certain things. With that said, many backyard flock owners often wonder what they can do to stop their hen or hens from pecking at one another, and you’ve come to the right place because we’re going to address this problem.
Backyard flock owners are somewhat of chicken whispers. They have to learn the behaviors of chickens and figure out what they are trying to tell them. Understanding chickens is crucial to stopping them from pecking each other.
Chickens spend a lot of time cooped up in the fall and winter, so they can succumb to boredom and start pecking each other. Sometimes they peck because it helps them explore their surroundings, which includes other hens that are cooped up with them. Pecking is natural, but usually this happens more often when the birds have to spend more time indoors.
The key is to understand the difference between curious pecking and pecking aggressively. The truth is that not all pecking is created equal, which means some pecking is not actually bad and sometimes it is just gentle. With that said, we have put together a few steps to help you get a step closer to getting your hens to stop pecking one another. Afterwards, you can implement this information and see if it will work for you.
1. Find Our Why They Are Pecking- The first step is to find out if there’s something that is causing the birds to peck in an aggressive manner. Create a list of questions, such as if the hens are too crowded or if they run out of water and food, as well as whether they are too cold or hot and things of that nature. Basically, you want to find out if there’s something that is stressing them out.
Once you have identified the cause of the stress, the next thing to do is to remove the problem and see if the behavior changes. Generally speaking, you want to provide your birds with at least 10 square feet of outdoor space per bird you own, as well as 4 square feet indoors. Make sure you have a adequate food and water for your chickens.
If you have added a new hen to the coop, then the other chickens may feel uneasy. Sometimes dominance is shown in order to show what the pecking order is. In most cases, there’s one or two hens who are the boss and they are the rulers of the coop. After the pecking order has been determined, the birds will usually stop pecking one another and they will live together in harmony.
2. They Take Baths Too- Keep your birds clean if you want to prevent pecking. Chickens do take baths, but probably not the kind of bath you are thinking of. They cover themselves in dirt after they dig a hole in the ground.
This is called a dust bath and it helps them keep clean, so find a container and mix a bit of wood ash, sand and natural soil. Make sure the container is at least a foot deep and two-feet long and a little over 15 inches wide. After you do this, your birds will get into it and start bathing.
Dust baths can keep mites, lice and other external parasites away. If these parasites are a problem, then use some diatomaceous earth to supplement the hens’ dust bath. Just make sure you don’t use large amounts and mix it very well because it can be harmful if your hens inhale it in large amounts. The more your hens bath, they may be less inclined to peck one another.
3. Offer An Alternative- Give your birds an alternative. The key is to keep your chickens’ minds busy. Give them some new toys that they will love.
Interactive objects can come in handy and they can make the coop a more exciting place. Add things such as chicken swings or sturdy branches. These types of toys entertain hens and are great for chickens on the lower end of the pecking order.
You can bust boredom with a block. A block will keep hens entertained and they will likely peck at it instead of pecking one another. A block is a simply way to busy boredom, especially when they are spending more time indoors than outdoors.
A block will bring out hens’ natural pecking instincts. Not only that, but many blocks contain various nutrients that are good for the hens. Get a flock block today and find out if it will work for you.