Behavioural disorders

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The majority of behavioural problems do not represent actual disease, but rather the expression of normal behaviours in what may be an altered or inappropriate place. This chapter covers feather destruction, vent pecking and cannibalism, head pecking, eating feathers or foreign bodies, cockerel crowing, peacock screaming, spur damage in cockerels, aggression, broodiness, egg damage and escape.

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19.1 (a) New feather growth behind the head. (b) Broken feathers on the dorsum above the tail. In both cases, the location is highly suggestive of feather plucking by other birds. (© J Chitty)
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19.3 Provision of a dust bath enables normal grooming and foraging behaviours. (© J Chitty)
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19.4 (a)Spurs of a male pheasant. These are of a size and sharpness that should be expected in poultry. (b) Spurs of a cockerel. Note that these are much longer and sharper than the spurs of the male pheasant in (a), which is why damage is more likely when the bird mates or fights. The spurs in this bird are by no means extreme for captive poultry. (c) Spur damage caused during mating. (d) Poultry ‘saddle’ to help reduce mating injuries. (© J Chitty)

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