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Poultry behaviour and welfare

Feather pecking, i.e. when one bird pecks or pulls feathers from another, and cannibalism are serious animal welfare issues that can result in economic problems. Feather pecking is often considered to be re-directed behaviour (from ground pecking or dustbathing), as captive birds often have few foraging opportunities. 

Sudden changes in environment, overcrowding, excessive light are causes of stress which may further aggravate the problem. 

The challenge of feather pecking

If the feathers are actually removed, this is not only painful for the bird, but subsequent bleeding or skin trauma can lead to cannibalism or death. 

The birds are often triggered by the red colour, meaning that bleeding wounds will increase pecking behaviour. 

Left untreated, the pecking behaviour will eventually extend from individual birds to the entire flock, meaning early intervention is crucial to avoid economic losses through decreased performance and mortality. 

The solution

The level of serotonin can be reduced in birds showing adverse behaviour. Supplementation with tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin, can help compensate serotonin deficiency. Methionine deficiency can also result in feather pecking and eating. Methionine is needed for maintenance of the plumage and is the first limiting amino acid in poultry.  

Magnesium is known to have a calming effect. It modulates synaptic signal strength and supports muscle relaxation, while vitamin E and selenium reduce oxygen radicals and peroxides that are formed upon stress. 

Thanks to decades of experience in the poultry sector, Kaesler Nutrition has developed the Lovit range of drinking water applications for targeted, fast-acting support for numerous indications, such as cannibalism and feather pecking. Use Lovit to promote calmness in the flock and support feather growth and skin integrity of the birds.

Our products for poultry behaviour and welfare
  • Drinking Water Applications

    For short-term, targeted supplementation with selected nutrients to maintain poultry health.

    Find out more

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