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Why Do Chickens Peck Each Other?

Why do chickens peck each other is a question often asked by people who are new to the whole raising chickens scene. Even more experienced chicken farmers are often left scratching their heads as to why their birds are starting to peck one another. The truth is, there are various reasons that can cause chickens to peck the other birds in their flock. But one of those reasons is the most common problem. 

White Chicken in the Grass

Chickens peck each other due to establishing a pecking order, boredom, overcrowding, or nutritional deficiencies. This behavior is natural for hierarchy establishment but can lead to injury if excessive. Ensuring enough space, enrichment, and balanced diet can minimize pecking.

Since overcrowding is the most common cause of chickens pecking at one another, that should be the issue first addressed when trying to correct the problem. With that said, however, you cannot just go by the average square foot per chicken to determine how much space is needed.

Each chicken breed has its own specific requirements regarding how much space is needed. Silkie bantams, for example, don’t require much space and can be happy with a minimum of 2 square feet per bird. While Plymouth Rock and other large breeds need at least 4 square feet per bird.

Should You Stop Chickens From Pecking Each Other?

When you see one of your chickens pecking at another, you may wonder if you should stop the interaction or allow it to play out.

To maintain the health of your flock, you should stop the chickens from pecking each other as soon as possible. If you don’t intervene, then the pecking could go too far and the chicken being picked on could start to bleed. This can create a problem that leads to the rest of the flock joining in.

A bloody area on one of your chickens can create a new obsession that draws the attention of the other birds. They can then start pecking at that bloody area as well.

How To Stop Chickens From Pecking Each Other?

Confused Curly male in Denim and White Shirt

The first thing you should do to stop chickens from pecking each other is to find out why they are pecking in the first place. Not all pecking is something that needs to be stopped, and pecking can actually be a way for chickens to investigate things. Aggressive pecking, however, is a serious concern that will need to be addressed immediately.

To stop chickens from pecking on another, you will need to provide the right amount of coop space, as well as outdoor space. Overcrowding is the most common cause of aggressive pecking. You also need to ensure each bird in your flock is provided with adequate food and water.

Competing for resources will also lead to aggressive pecking. Additionally, provide your flock with a dust bath, coop toys to help keep them from getting bored when inside, and something for them to peck on, such as a peck block.

Why Do Chickens Peck Each Others Beaks?

Two chicken facing each other

Seeing one chicken peck another chicken’s beak can be a bit worrisome. But is this behavior normal or something you should be concerned about?

Chickens use their beaks to explore their surroundings, and pecking is their way of checking things out. This sometimes includes the other chickens in their flock. Additionally, chickens will sometimes peck another chicken’s beak to establish they are higher in the flock.

While some pecking is natural and nothing to be concerned about, pecking can also be a sign of a potential problem with their flock, such as overcrowding or stress. 

Why Do Chickens Peck Each Other’s Feet?

Two chicken walking in the dirt

Pecking feet is not always something to be worried about. In fact, it can be a way for one chicken to get to know another chicken. 

Chickens will peck other chickens’ feet during an introductory stage. This typically occurs when a new chicken is introduced to the flock. If, however, the pecking is occurring in established flocks, it could be a sign that their diet doesn’t have enough fiber or the birds have too much energy.

Why Do Chickens Peak Each Other’s Eyes?

Seeing a chicken pecking another chicken’s eyes can be rather disturbing. Especially because the eyes are such a vulnerable spot on any animal. 

Pentagon Pet is the owner of this article that was first published on November 18, 2022.

It is not uncommon for chickens, especially chicks, to peck at each other’s eyes. In fact, you will probably notice the chicks with dark colored eyes often peck at chicks with lighter colored eyes. Researchers assume it is because the chicks think the eyes are bugs.

In most cases, this is something that the chicks will outgrow, though you may want to separate the ones doing the pecking so that they don’t harm the other chicks. This can be done by placing chicken wire in the middle of the brooder, and keeping the chicks that are being pecked at on one side of the chicken wire and the ones doing the pecking on the other side. This lets all the chickens still see each other, and thus be of the same flock, while still keeping them separated. 

Why Do Chickens Peck Each Other’s Necks?

Two Chickens Lying Next to each other in the Grass

No matter where the pecking is occurring, it is something that you shouldn’t take lightly. 

When a chicken pecks another chicken’s neck, it is either because the flock is bored, overcrowded, or stressed. Making sure the chickens have enough room in their coop and run, and enriching their home with toys and treats can help stop the pecking problem.

Why Do Chickens Peck Each Other’s Heads?

Two Chicken looking at each other outdoor

Pecking is a common occurrence for chickens, and doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something wrong. That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t monitor the behavior.  

Overcrowding isn’t the only issue that can cause chickens to peck each others heads. Stress and boredom can also lead to this potentially dangerous behavior. Thankfully, these issues are easy to overcome if you provide your flock with their basic needs.

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This article and its contents are owned by Pentagon Pets and was first published on November 18, 2022.

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