The prevention and control of feather pecking in laying hens: identifying the underlying principles

  title={The prevention and control of feather pecking in laying hens: identifying the underlying principles},
  author={T. Bas Rodenburg and Marinus M. van Krimpen and Ingrid C. de Jong and Elske N. de Haas and Marjolein S. Kops and Bernd Riedstra and Rebecca E Nordquist and J. P. Wagenaar and Monique Bestman and Christine Janet Nicol},
  journal={World's Poultry Science Journal},
  pages={361 - 374}
Feather pecking (FP) in laying hens remains an important economic and welfare issue. This paper reviews the literature on causes of FP in laying hens. With the ban on conventional cages in the EU from 2012 and the expected future ban on beak trimming in many European countries, addressing this welfare issue has become more pressing than ever. The aim of this review paper is to provide a detailed overview of underlying principles of FP. FP is affected by many different factors and any approach… 
Nutritional approaches to reduce or prevent feather pecking in laying hens: any potential to intervene during rearing?
Using nutritional strategies during the sensitive period during rearing could prevent ultimately the development of FP, by altering the pullets’ (gut) physiology and/or her time allocation.
Causes of feather pecking and subsequent welfare issues for the laying hen: a review
When feather-pecking behaviour by hens becomes repetitive, plumage damage often results for the recipient of the pecks. The forceful removal of feathers and vigorous pecks directed at the skin may
1 Are practice recommendations for the prevention of feather pecking in laying hens in non-cage systems in line with the results of experimental and epidemiological studies ?
In the reviewed 15 practice recommendations, almost all of these factors have been taken up, although no recommendation comprises all factors and most miss more than the half of them, which leaves ample room for improvement of the recommendations.
Strategies to reduce the risk of feather pecking in laying hens
The background of FP behaviour is outlined, the major strategies in laying hen breeding and in parent stock, rearing flock and laying flock management, to control FP are explained and strategies are needed to reduce the risk of FP in laying hens.
The prevention and control of feather pecking: application to commercial systems
The genetic basis of feather pecking is considered, and studies that suggest group selection techniques could produce birds with a reduced tendency to feather peck in commercial flocks are highlighted.
An Investigation of Feather Damage in Canadian Laying Hens
Investigation of feather damage in Canadian laying hen flocks housed in alternative systems suggests that factors most associated with FD include increased age, lack of foraging opportunity, brown feather colour, abnormal lighting cycle from midnight feeding, and poor air quality due to infrequent manure removal.
Effects of litter and additional enrichment elements on the occurrence of feather pecking in pullets and laying hens – A focused review
The positive effect of enrichment and litter substrate on SFP in a low‐complexity cage environment is evident, but consistent results have not been reported on the influence of additional enrichment material in housing systems with litter substrate, which represent the most common type of husbandry in Northwestern Europe.
Severe feather-pecking in non-cage laying hens and some associated and predisposing factors: a review
A review of some of the literature on the aforementioned causes of SFP in laying hens is provided.
Managing laying hen flocks with intact beaks
Worldwide, the majority of laying hens are beak trimmed to prevent injurious pecking. However, a ban on beak treatments has come into force in some countries, while others are discussing instituting


Impact of feeding management on feather pecking in laying hens
An overview of the relationships between the occurrence of feather pecking behaviour and nutritional factors, such as diet composition and feeding strategies in laying hens, is given.
Feather pecking in laying hens
Feather pecking (FP), pecking at and pulling out the feathers of conspecifics, is an unwelcome behaviour with both welfare and economic implications for the laying hen (Sedlackova et al., 2004). It
The development and causation of feather pecking in the domestic fowl.
The results supported the hypothesis that feather pecking evolves as redirected ground pecking, and the development and expected practical use of alternative systems for laying hens is also relevant with respect to feathers pecking.
Feather eating in layer pullets and its possible role in the aetiology of feather pecking damage
Role of loose feathers on the development of feather pecking in laying hens
It is suggested that loose feathers on the floor may play an important role in the development and severity of feather pecking behaviour in laying hens and support the hypothesis (McKeegan and Savory, 1999) that Feather pecking can be viewed as redirected foraging behaviour.
The effect of feather eating on feed passage in laying hens.
Results clearly show that feathers increase the speed of feed passage and, in this regard, show similar effects as insoluble fiber.
Changes in Substrate Access Did Not Affect Early Feather-Pecking Behavior in Two Strains of Laying Hen Chicks
Because moving chicks from peat moss to wire did not cause additional welfare problems, the study recommends that chicks be kept on a substrate when young as feather-pecking levels are lower and immediate welfare is improved compared with birds kept only on wire.