ALLTECH has launched a pecking block for laying hens designed to encourage natural behaviour and provide additional nutrition.

The Natu-Pek is an abrasive peck block that can be suspended from ceilings in poultry sheds or raised off the ground in a dry scratch area.

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Alltech said it encourages pecking, foraging and natural beak conditioning in commercial laying hen flocks and is enriched with both De-Odorase, an ammonia reduction supplement, and the prebiotic Actigen.

The block is designed to cater for up to 2,000 birds for five-to-eight weeks, the company added.

Natural behaviours

Adam Platt, regional poultry sales manager with Alltech U.K, said: “Promoting natural behaviours can help promote feather cover and health while diminishing aggression and injurious pecking, thus improving productivity and reducing medication use, interventions and mortality.”

Charles Mear, of Wood Farm Free-Range Eggs, has been trialling the Natu-Pek blocks on his family’s two 14,000-bird units in Bedfordshire since September and said he had seen positive results.

“The sweet-smelling blocks are big and sturdy enough to occupy several birds each side at one time, are lasting well and are easy to hang,” Mr Mear added.