If you own a farm, likely you have chickens, and there are various issues associated with owning chickens. Some of the responsibilities of owning chickens are feeding them, collecting eggs, and even monitoring the chicken relationships. That may sound silly, but if you have chickens that have issues with bullying or pecking each other, that is something you may want to fix. Fortunately there are ways to deal with your chickens pecking each other, and it just takes a little vinegar!
Vinegar definitely seems to be a universal solution for just about everything from clothes stains to training your dog to not chew the furniture, so it shouldn't be surprising that you can use vinegar to stop your chickens from pecking each other. The taste of the vinegar isn't pleasant and probably works as a deterrent to pecking other birds because the taste could be renewed. However, this technique is kind of a shaky one, because your pecking problem may be more serious. Pecking can be a sign of impending chicken cannibalism.
When birds peck each other, it is often an attempt at dominance, or establishing a social order. If not checked and controlled, the pecking could escalate to serious injuring and damage of your birds. Here are a few techniques you should use in managing your chickens:
- Crowding birds: the more crowded the birds, the more likely they are to peck each other
- Feed and water: make sure that there's enough for every chicken to have a decent and fair share of food. Pecking can ensue if there's a competition for food and water
- Light intensity: keep the lighting relatively low, because bright lights can irritate and aggravate chickens' behavior, increasing pecking
- House temperature: make sure the temperature inside the bird house is a comfortable one. If you keep the temperature too high, it could aggravate the birds' behavior.
- Dietary nutrients: make sure that your chickens are getting all the nutrients they needs and in the proper proportions
- Parasitic control: maintain the health of your chickens and watch out for unwanted parasites. Parasites can increase the irritability of chickens, thus increasing the chance and risk of pecking.
- Weed out the unhealthy chicks: remove the sick, weak, or discolored chicks from the coop. If there is a noticeably weaker animal, it will be a likely target for abuse.
If these tricks still don't solve the problem, your last result is de-beaking. While a pain, both time-wise and financially, de-beaking could be your only option for this problem. It's easiest to de-beak birds when they are chicks because their beaks are softer.
So, if your chickens pecking each other is a serious problem in your coop, take the necessary measures to stop it and solve the problem. By solving this seemingly small problem, you will have succeeded in solving a slew of other problems.
Comments for this tip:
jan 17 Dec 2014, 21:13
isolate her before they kill her, let her heal and refeather, use vinegar when reintroducing her to the flock and when you isolate put one of the others that doesn't peck her to become her comrade. Works even better with two others. Then when you reintroduce them into the flock do it at night in the dark. Put them on the roost after the others have roosted for the night. Pay close attention after reintroduction and if there is one or two in particular that are insigators/bullies then isolate them and when they go back into the coop 2-4 weeks later they are on the bottom of the pecking order and won't be the aggressive hens they were. hope this helps
Cora 08 Nov 2014, 11:26
I was reading about the whole cannibalism thing, and my chickens are getting seriously hurt! The one being bullied is not getting any food due to the other chickens not letting her eat. They peck at her head and rip feathers off of her body all the time. She gets weaker every day and I don't know what to do!
Ron 19 Oct 2014, 20:40
New comment on older topics. I love to use natural products and what I have found to work on my "Easter Egg" chickens is oregano essential oil mixed with coconut oil and rubbing it on the back of the affected chicken; all the chickens leave it alone because oregano is very powerful and a dab on the end of a toothpick will burn a human mouth something awful, therefore, it works wonders on chickens and will not harm or burn them if rubben on the outside feathers. Also some confusion exists on vinegar and what kind to use. I use organic apple cider vinegar because it's great for many ailments in humans and safe to use. I use about 1 tbl spoon per gal of water with many beneficial results on chickens. We use white vinegar in the medical field to kill bad bacteria/germs on medical equipment and apple cider vinegar works as good. It has been noted elsewhere that styrofoam in the coop helps eliminate pecking, I have used it but it is messy, so your best bet is to use oregano essential oil and coconut or avocado oil as they are thicker in nature.
Sally 06 Sep 2014, 20:05
DEBEAKING IS CRUEL AND I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT AT ALL!!! pLEASE DO NOT DEBEAK YOUR BIRDS
Tiffany 29 Aug 2014, 09:55
So, I want to use the vinegar, do I spray it on my silkies puff where they are being pecked??
Jeremy 24 May 2014, 21:02
Debeaking is cruel, look it up. DO NOT DEBEAK YOUR CHICKENS! It's not fair to them, it's cruel and useless. Sure, it might stop pecking, but they will not be able to peck normal things as easily, so it creates MORE STRESS which causes the pecking in the first place! Have some common sense people, how would you like to loose your lips or fingers because you simply were a bully? No, try a different method, people! It is very cruel and like I said, it creates more stress. Thanks for reading, and please take this into consideration and spread the word.
l bullard 15 Jan 2014, 12:06
Still have not answered the question on how to use the vinegar on the chickens. In the water, spray it on them or make a paste, Thanks
Glenda 29 Jun 2013, 21:06
I want to try the vinegar but don't no how. What do I do with it. I think its the mail doing it. these r 1/2 grown guineas. all the same size. Please let me no what to do with the vinegar.
R 02 Apr 2013, 23:10
Debeaking is stupid, cruel, and ridiculous. Look it up. Consult a real chicken keeping forum. Sometimes, if there isn't a rooster on the property, one hen will decide that she's the boss. Sometimes this resolves itself and sometimes it doesn't. The bully can be re-homed into a larger flock that has roosters and everyone is much happier. Would you like to lose the tips of your fingers? That's what debeaking is to a chicken. Again...consult real people who are experienced with raising friendly backyard flocks. We aren't factory farmers. We don't do things like they do things.
Nancy 23 Sep 2012, 03:09
Ok I want to try the vinegar idea. Just not sure about..do I put it on the chicken or in the water? If on the bird do you spray it on or use a cloth? I am a first time chicken person and loving having them. They were all purchased together this past spring.
W. Thompson 18 Jun 2012, 22:46
All of the above tips are being done. We are trying to combine two flocks. One flock is 4 months, the other is 11 months. One of the older chickens attacks one of younger ones, as soon as we put her in the coop, very visously. What can we do. I don't want to have to get rid of the older chickens.
Helen 25 Feb 2012, 22:46
Does the de-beaking require a special tool and/or Profesional person?
Helen 25 Feb 2012, 22:43
Thanks you. The information you gave me was very helpful.
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