Discussion created on 03/10/2012

Vent pecking in poultry

Forum: Vent pecking in Broilers

Vent pecking is seen in 30 day old broiler birds in the farm refer as Cannibalism. Cannibalistic behavior performed by poultry is the pecking, tearing and consuming of skin, tissues, the case i met with birds have started pecking cloaca l region in some case intestine it is to harsh that intestinal loop drop outside through wound. However, this problem has been a consistent problem in layers but can also be encountered in broilers as i do. The I.B.D has been ruled out by P.M examination here and the bird are medicated with a salt solution as Cannibalism has been linked to deficiencies in protein, sodium and phosphorus, with increase in number of drinkers and feeders also supplied with Vit C as a stress reliever as the high temperature might be a cause of problem.

Please throw light on this topic so that it is efficiently deal with.

Dr. Rahul Hardas
Veterinary Doctor
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S. M. A. Halim S. M. A. Halim
Deputy General Manager of City Feed Products Limited, City Group, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
April 28, 2012
Vent pecking is a common problem in poultry sector. To control the vent pecking to follow management stickly, insure adequte light, insure good quality feed, insure essential amino acid and sodium and chloride level.

S. M. A. Halim
DGM, City Group of Industries Ltd
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Nadir Alloui Nadir Alloui
Veterinary Doctor
April 28, 2012
We also see this problem in summer during high temperatures. We direct the poultry farmers in water to add salt, acetic acid and vitamin c

Pr Nadir Alloui
Abideen Busari Abideen Busari
Poultry farmer
June 13, 2012

I experienced similar problem with my broiler stocks.I lost number of chicken from that.I quite agreed with other contributors,poor pen management might be attributed to this.I do reckon,too much salt in birds'ration might be another cause.I saw my workers mixing the feeds with high quantity of salt with no measure.Thank you for the enlightment.

Dr.Anjum  Munir Dr.Anjum Munir
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
April 14, 2013

To cure Vent pecking problem..
Salts in feed should be in correct quantity....
Red (cloth pieces, plastic pieces, etc) or any shining objects should be used to divet the bird's attention....

Sushil Chandra Sushil Chandra
Master in Poultry Nutrition 1975
April 15, 2013

Points to be taken into account: 

1. Avoid over crowding
2. Do not keep the house in dark during night hours
3. Check NaCl -sodium chloride level in the feed
4. Distract chicks in the house by spreading green and red paper tinny cuttings on the floor
5. Isolate injured birds urgently
6. Apply neem oil

Try as above to minimise vent pecking

Dr Sushil Chandra

Dr. Joveniah Dr. Joveniah
Veterinary Doctor
September 10, 2013

It happened in my farm 2 months ago. I managed to control it by : 

1. Distracting the birds by giving napier grass.
2. Partitioning the barn (minimize flock size)
3. Giving them paracetamol/aspirin+vitamin c
4. Having workers that walk in the barn frequently.
5. Isolating injured chicken (will lead to cannibalism if not removed) and spray with herbal wound spray.

Maheswar Rath Maheswar Rath
BVSc &AH,MVSc &AH,poultry science, Ph.D. Poultry science
September 11, 2013
dear author, you have given nice photographs on vent pecking conditions of broilers.

corrective measures:
1-any flock showing such signs need to be de-beaked on priority.although we do not practice debeaking for broiler chicks in commercial flocks as such pecking are rarely seen in broiler.

2-provide optimum ventilation to brooding and rearing shed and with optimum feeding and watering space with floor space.Control light intensity too. Broiler or any brooding house need to be well ventilated with brooding provisions.

3-Nutition need to be balanced.and formula of feed need verification.

4-rest injury management is not a commercial objective but it has to be made as per situation.

thank you for inviting such subjects for comments .

m rath
Antimon Ilyas Antimon Ilyas
Specialist in Animal Nutrition
September 11, 2013
cannibals in chickens
Canibalism generally occurs due to a lack of minerals in the diet, especially P and Ca Na, amino acid balance also bring about the chicken into cannibals. ratio of arginine to lysine is mainly caused cannibal chickens. in the tropics or during summer chicken requires more Ca P and Na in the feed, should be the sum of the mineral is added to the hot weather
 Dr. Gregus Zoltan Dr. Gregus Zoltan
Animal Nutritionist
September 26, 2013
Dear all
Vent Pecking is not far from Feather pecking. If they are some disorders (above many are mensioned) birds are starting to peack each other. One of the reasons is allso the insuficiente fibre content in feed.
There are trials where folowing was observed:
-Significant increased amount of feathers in the gizzard from animals in herds with cannibalism
- Animals ingest the feathers to cover the fibre deficiency
- Feathers have the same effect on peristalsis as insoluble fibre
Cannibalism is a sign of deficiency in insoluble fibre

Insoluble fibre may improve the well-beeing of birds also because it can cause a feeling of satiation if it is needed, reduce litter moisture, etc
ISA and Lohmann (Pottgüter) are recomending insoluble fibre
Monoj Chowham Monoj Chowham
October 2, 2013
I managed to control it by checking Nutrition level, need to be balanced Such as protein, Energy & Ca, P, Na, mineral in the feed. Also used vitamin c & K in water.
Uwalaka Chinomso Uwalaka Chinomso
January 17, 2016
Thank you all for your wonderful contributions.This is exactly the problem I just noticed in my farm this afternoon for the very first time. I stronlgy suspect inadequate salt because this was the first time somebody else measured the salt used in the feed in my absence. Thank God it happened with the last feed from that batch, so I'll be milling a fresh batch tomorrow. Meanwhile, I had isolated the affected birds, added salt to their water and reduced light intensity. Let me see how the result goes tomorrow. Thank you.
Anil Phadke Anil Phadke
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
January 18, 2016
Apart from nutritional reasons,variation,stunting and runting syndrome is one of reason.Its observed in some brands they show distinct uneven growth in India.These runt birds will peck vent of good birds.These runt birds will sit on wall feeders,will waste feed.
January 22, 2016
Lovely suggestions from all..

The immediate treatment which was successful in field & more practical was to add 300-800 gram Salt in water. Low dose when low pecking and good feed consumption , and 800 gram when high pecking with low feed consumption of feed.

Dose to be increased or decreased in three consecutive days. depending on mortality ( Max 3 days), later the feed should take care.

immediate feed salt analysis, by tit-ration method ( with fresh stock solution of KOH at lab) , and making those changes in feed. and dispatch at farms.

Dr Oyeleye Azeez Olanrewaju Dr Oyeleye Azeez Olanrewaju
Food Science and Technology (Diploma) , Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)
January 22, 2016
@Dr Viabhav, 300-800grams in how many litters of water?
January 22, 2016

Dr. Oyeleye Sir, it is per day consumption of water ( 24 Hrs).

With step by step improvement in flock per day need to withdraw it or decrease dose, but Please check Feed Salt also as discussed. ( The enzyme phytase inaccurate dosage also results in pecking , as low phosphorus is available for the body)

Talaat Mostafa  El-Sheikh Talaat Mostafa El-Sheikh
T. M. El-Sheikh Prof. Dr. of Poultry Production, Head of Animal & Poultry Prod. Dept.
January 22, 2016
This is a good and importance point in broiler farms. This is may be as a resulted in:-
1- Lighting programe is not balance ( photoperiod, light intensity and weave length)
2- The wattage power has affect the canaplasim
3- Deficience of lysine and Methionine
4- high stocking density
5- increasing of sodium choride in the ration
Dr. Odede R.O. Dr. Odede R.O.
Animal Nutritionist
January 23, 2016
I once encountered a serious case of cannibalism in broilers attributable to:
1. Overcrowding
2. Overheating
3. Wet litter leading to high ammonia levels further compromising ventilation with elevated humidity increasing the thermal pressure.
Upon correction of these, the problem was resolved.
Kindly check into these.
Dr. Odede
January 25, 2016
Nowadays with a good management and new technologies this problem is under control. I have not seen such cases in the industrial farms for many years. The suggestions and advices of all those given above are valid.
Andrew Sivaram Andrew Sivaram
Animal Nutritionist
January 25, 2016
This can happen if the chickens are too nervous or stressed. Some usual causes are: (1) artificial lighting intensity too high, (2) heavy parasite (worms, ectoparasites and cocci) infections, (3) feed distribution too fast or not fairly distributed throughout house or insufficient feeder space, causing flock aggression from competition, and lastly (4) nutritional imbalance. It is better to check all 4 factors at once and correct any weaknesses and evaluate the response. From the photos, I would suspect more of nutritional imbalance as you can see the thinning feathering, bald patches and footpad lesions. So I would advise checking sodium, chloride, methionine-cysteine, zinc, vitamin A, niacin and biotin levels. If methionine is suspected, adding Liquid Methionine (Alimet AT88) in the drinking water at 1 : 1,000 dilution for a few days will usually resolve the problem.
January 25, 2016
Salt and lysine deficiency leads to cannibolism.
When mash is fed, large sized improperly ground maize led to pecking. By proper grinding the problem was solved.
Other causes are already mentioned.
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