Yup, it’s true, humans aren’t the only animals that experience stress. Chickens have a tender disposition and can get stressed-out easily – and when they do, it can affect not only their health, but their behavior as well.
Stress is a major contributor to poor health in chickens and can make them prone to a number of vices such as feather picking, egg eating and pecking. Stress is also a common reason for reduced egg production.
What causes stress in chickens?
There are many sources of stress in chickens; over handling, changes in their environment, bad weather, extreme cold or heat, overcrowding, lack of fresh food and clean water, and predators can all cause stress.
What can I do?
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to reduce stress on your birds. First, establish a routine and stick to it as best you can. Chickens are creatures of habit, so feeding, watering, and foraging should be as regular as possible. Don’t make major changes all at once – make them slowly so the birds can adjust one change at a time. And try not to over handle them, and when you must, do so calmly and gently.
By minimizing stress on your birds, they will be less prone to illness and bad habits, and will be happier, healthier and more productive.