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

A. Harlander Matauschek, T.B. Rodenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


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%), 0.6mol 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 60min after presenting the feathers. All substances reduced feather plucking (p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-151
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • production systems
  • domestic chicks
  • taste
  • starlings
  • behavior
  • poultry
  • welfare
  • odor


Dive into the research topics of 'Applying chemical stimuli on feathers to reduce feather pecking in laying hens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this