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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Muhammad Farooq Muhammad Farooq
M Sc (hons) Animal Nutrition
January 25, 2016
i dnt agree its purely limited amino acid defficiency especialy due to methionine
Juvy Lago Juvy Lago
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
January 25, 2016
Very rare you can see vent pecking in broilers. it is more common on laying birds. If it occur in broilers it is mainly cause by crowding ang too much light intensity.
January 25, 2016
Pecking is rare in broilers. Salt deficiency and aminoacid deficiemcy can lead to pecking. When the feed is mash improper grinding leads to pecking. If the maize particles are too large selective feeding leads to imbalance leading to pecking. We had this problem in few flocks which got corrected after replacing the feed with properly ground feed. May be tried.
January 26, 2016
Overcrowded high temperature mineral deficiency
Georges Tenny Ngu Georges Tenny Ngu
B.Agric. Tech. (Animal Productions), MSc. in Animal Science (options in Monogastric Nutrition and Reproductive Physiology), PhD student
January 26, 2016
We experienced this phenomenon, in a batch of 2,000 birds kept in our farms. From the contributions so far i think our problem was light intensity and maybe insufficient feed. Thanks to all for their contributions. We will certainly use the advise to work to correct this anomaly.
January 26, 2016
Thanks for this topic. In my experience too bright light and inadequate salt in diet are the course for vent pecking from observation. It also happens in layers and fourteen days old cockerels.
Sai Mahesh Reddy Sai Mahesh Reddy
M.V.Sc & Ph.D.
July 7, 2018

We recently succeeded in preventing the menace by keeping neem tree tender stems and those of Moringa millata.
Along with important things like addition of salt and mineral mixture to feed or water.


July 17, 2018

To prevent picking.
1. Feed should be given which is low in protein.
2. Green leaves, legumes should be spread in house.
3. Salt is added to water.
4. Electrolytes application through water.
5. Red colour plastic or red coloured rubber balls should be spread in house to divert bird attention.
6. Prevent overcrowding.
7. Ventilate the birds.
8. Beak trimming or touching.
9. Application of neem oil on injured areas.

September 29, 2020

Dr zeeshan awan I agree with you, but differ in the aspect of reducing the protein content of the feed fed to them. Reducing the protein content will result in no uniformity in the growth of young birds and this could lead to shooters overriding the stunted birds by pecking them and other sorts of vices.

July 17, 2018

Vent picking in broilers is a rare happening. Besides the points given elsewhere, we found that improper grinding of grains initiated pecking in broilers. This can be reversed by replacing the feed with properly ground feed.

July 17, 2018

It's a common problem in layers especially with poorly cited nesting boxes and insufficient feed. In broilers, it happens to those with insufficient feed and overcrowded birds.

February 25, 2020
Hi , all
I like to thank all of you about sharing this topic , I work in a with more than million pullet sites and I often see this problem, among the causes but not all is the over crowd and high illumination. Once the pullet taste the blood , condition get worse. Salt deficiency of course play important role as well . Stress also play a major role specially at the time of 7 wks vaccination.
I see that all the time. Solving the problem completely depends upon decrease the number of bird per cage , salts adding specially sodium chloride. Pls try to control ectoparasites as well .
Best regards
Dr. Abe Dessouki

February 25, 2020

I came across a serious problem of vent picking in a broiler flock. We found it to be due to improper grinding of feed. Oversized maize was left in the feeders. Feed consumed got imbalanced. Replacing the feed with properly ground feed solved the problem.

June 5, 2020
I can say that the inadequate feeding and watering spaces are predisposing factor in case of vent picking behavior
June 5, 2020

I came across a problem due to improper grinding of feed. The feed was balanced but consumption was irregular. The problem was resolved after changing the feed lot with same formula but ground uniformly.

August 27, 2020
Hi salt deficiency
Sushil Chandra Sushil Chandra
Master in Poultry Nutrition 1975
September 12, 2020
As Previously suggested
Try as Under:-
1.Avoid over crowding
2.spread some red-coloured tiny 1 inch long grass sized papers on the littre to distract birds from pecking
3.Check salt content of the feed it is very low
4.Pecked and affected bird should be isolated as soon as seen in the shed and treated--apply neem oil on affected area

Above will certainely help to reduce the problem

Dr S Chandra
Pune India

Sushil Chandra Sushil Chandra
Master in Poultry Nutrition 1975
September 24, 2020
Same comments and advise try out and have your observations
Sushil Chandra Sushil Chandra
Master in Poultry Nutrition 1975
September 25, 2020
Theoretically every body’s point of view is ok
But practically apply implement my practical advise and see results ur self
Dr Chandra
Emad Elgazzar Emad Elgazzar
MASTER and PHD degree in microbiology
September 27, 2020
General causes of Vent pecking in BROILERS Vent pecking in Broilers is rare but could be happened in some circumstances such as
1-High and very high density at cubic meter in high density and high automated programmed as In U.S.A 45KGc.|m---BUT IN other countries less automated density reach 25-35kg|c.m i.e 20birds|m ---high crowded cause these
2-feed-rashan not balanced deficiency of protein or low quality proteins
3-feed deficiency of minerals and other ingredients as f.a etc
4-excessive noisy excessive lighting programs -(no darkness programs)
The solutions
1-decrease capacity 2- FEED be balanced with good quality ingredients 3-Add minerals mixtures 4- Darkness for 1-2 hours|days with decrease lux\of light
5- some times we colored the lambs with blue colored
September 28, 2020
Dr. Sushil Chandra,,

Cannibalism in poultry has been identified due to mineral nutritional deficiency/imbalance, it is required to check up Serum bioavailability of minerals what is fed to birds. We have done Serum Bioavailability studies with our Organic minerals which we are marketing consist of 77 – Organic minerals (v/s Inorganic and Inorganic Chelated which consists of only 7 – 8 minerals ). Serum profile is the highest with 77 – organic minerals v/s all other mineral forms tried in Calcium. Copper, Cobalt, Zinc, Iron.

77 Organic minerals in our formulation support & catalyze enzyme function, protein digestion, metabolism. It is important to choose high quality 100% bioavailable minerals for poultry performance.

We have not come across any case of vent pecking in Broilers/Layers fed with organic minerals. Please feed Organic minerals and your problem will be solved and you will get better growth, FCR and early maturity.

An additional cause of Vent pecking could be infected litter which could infect the cloacal opening, infection from litter may travel to GI tract by reverse peristalsis causes irritation - leading to redness of cloacal opening and birds may pick at the Vent.

Use Litter Conditioner at rate of 10 Kg per 1000 Sq.ft. and lower pH of litter to 4 - 4.5, control TVC, E.coli upto 100%.

Healthy litter controls infection to Cloaca leading to NIL vent pecking.

Ideal would be both 77 Organic Minerals in feed or drinking water and Litter Conditioner for healthy farms.

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