Applying chemical stimuli on feathers to reduce feather pecking in laying hens

Harlander-Matauschek, A.; Rodenburg, T.B. (2011). Applying chemical stimuli on feathers to reduce feather pecking in laying hens. Applied animal behaviour science, 132(3-4), pp. 146-151. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.04.004

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Recent studies have shown that spraying a distasteful substance (quinine) on a bird's feather cover reduced short-term feather pecking. The present experiment evaluated if other substances offer similar or better protection against feather pecking.;One hundred and twenty birds were divided into 12 groups of 10 birds each. Over a period of 10 days the birds' response to 10 feathers coated with one of the 11 distasteful substances was observed and recorded. Feathers were soaked in a 1% garlic solution, 1% almond oil, 1% clove oil, 1% clove solution, quinine sulphate solution in four concentrations (0.1%, 1%, 2%, 4%), 0.6 mol magnesium chloride solution, anti-peck spray or an angostura solution. The control group received uncoated feathers. The number of feathers plucked, rejected or eaten was counted 60 min after presenting the feathers. All substances reduced feather plucking (p < 0.0001) and consumption (p < 0.0001) significantly, compared to uncoated feathers. Quinine concentrations of 2% and 4% were most effective. This study was the first to investigate the aversive potential of different substances to deter feather peckers from the feathers of other birds. The findings may be useful in the development of spraying devices to prevent feather pecking when other management tools fail. (c) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Harlander, Alexandra








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:32

Last Modified:

21 Jan 2014 15:05

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URI: (FactScience: 218610)

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