Date of this Version



© 1984, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This NebGuide discusses reasons why cannibalism occurs in poultry, and provides management procedures for preventing it, including three methods of beak trimming.

Chickens, turkeys, pheasants and quail will literally pick each other to death at times. This problem can be very expensive for the producer and can make life for the flock very uncomfortable. Once cannibalism starts, it readily becomes a habit that must be stopped.

For our purposes, cannibalism includes feather pulling, toe pecking and head, wing, and tail picking. Prevention is much easier for man and bird than is treatment.