This site describes a four year project (2008-2012) supported by the Tubney Charitable Trust. It contains resources which farmers, vets and advisers can use to assess injurious pecking (IP) in free-range flocks. IP is a widespread problem found in most (80%) flocks with a substantial cost in terms of productivity, health and welfare. Feather pecking is the most widely recognised type of IP but the term also includes vent pecking and cannibalism.
The aims have been to identify strategies for reducing the risk of injurious pecking and test their effectiveness in commercial flocks of free-range hens. It is therefore an extension (or knowledge transfer) project rather than a scientific trial.
The most practical and affordable management strategies were selected, with the help of stakeholders, from a short-list derived from a critical review of the scientific literature. Each of 56 ‘treatment’ flocks trialled a selection of interventions tailored to the farm circumstances. Forty five ‘control’ flocks were similarly monitored with visits at 20, 30 and 40 weeks of age but undertook no management changes.