Aggressive Behavior Of Laying Hens Essay

1447 Words Nov 10th, 2016 6 Pages
Introduction Aggressive behaviour in laying hens may be problematic, especially when behaviours such as feather pecking and cannibalism occur (Hughes, 1997). One article states that, in small flocks of laying hens, aggressive behaviour is exhibited when unfamiliar birds are present (D’Eath, 2003). Chickens tend to form dominance hierarchies, which leads to fighting to establish dominance, which may also be called a pecking order (D’Eath, 2003). In smaller flocks, once dominance has been established, the laying hens remember the status of the chickens they have been associated with (Wood-Gush, 1971). In large flocks of laying hens, there are a few factors that cause aggressive behaviours, including:
• High stocking density (Dennis, 2011)
• Group size (Rodenburg, 2007)
• Constant social unfamiliarity because of large group size (D’Eath, 2003)

One final factor that may cause aggressive behaviours in laying hens is an increase in dopamine (Dennis, 2011). The effect of constant social unfamiliarity causes aggression to be constantly high and causes the hens to lose weight (D’Eath, 2003). There are a few simple steps that can be followed to decrease the amount and frequency of aggression within a flock of laying hens. These steps are:
• Having roosters present within the flock (Craig, 1978)
• Grouping laying hens in larger flocks (Estevez et al, 2002)
• Beak trimming reduces damage caused by pecking, however this practice is quite controversial with activists and…

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