NZ Lifestyle Block - - Cover Story -

Poul­try start work­ing out the peck­ing or­der in a flock on Day 3 of a chick’s life and it takes about 10-15 weeks to sort it­self out (males take longer). Chicks will jos­tle for po­si­tion, squawk and push over other chicks at feed­ing time, pro­gress­ing to feather peck­ing fights by Day 16. The peck­ing or­der is an in­stinc­tive be­hav­iour, mostly re­lated to feed but also wa­ter, nest boxes, perches and dust baths which is why it’s im­por­tant to al­ways have plenty of well-spaced feed­ers and wa­ter­ers, and an ad lib sup­ply of both food and wa­ter so birds lower in the peck­ing or­der don’t miss out. Big­ger chicks have an ad­van­tage, some in­di­vid­ual birds and breeds are more nat­u­rally ag­gres­sive than oth­ers, and if you have mixed breeds or birds of dif­fer­ent colours, you may find you have on­go­ing is­sues as poul­try can be ‘racist’.

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