Scarper Vice Buster

Scarper! is a powerful, strong-smelling, natural product which has been specially designed for use in controlling vices in poultry, pigs and other animals.

Feather-pecking in chickens and tail-biting in pigs can cause significant damage to the animals concerned. Once the habit starts it becomes a vice which is very difficult to break and spreads from the original culprit to other members of the flock who soon pick up on the idea! The outcome is not only distressing but has significant financial implications for the flock-owner as in severe cases it leads to loss of production and even death. A pecked chicken is not a happy chicken – and miserable chickens don’t lay eggs!

Use Scarper at the first sign of feather-pecking and it will quickly act as a deterrent both to the original culprit and any other members of the flock who see the pecked area and think they should investigate! Not only do they back off because of the persistent odour, but the spray actually acts to camouflage the featherless/bloodied area.

Feather-pecking can start in even the best-managed flocks but more often than not, poor husbandry is a significant contributing factor.

Scarper! is the most effective anti-feather peaking spray product available.

Do remember to use disposable gloves when spraying Scarper! and please check out our ‘Tips to Prevent/Cure Feather-Pecking in Chickens’. Any staining to light-coloured feathers due to the Scarper spray will soon grow out or wear off as re-feathering occurs.

Practical suggestions to prevent/cure feather pecking in poultry

Feather pecking is usually caused by either a management problem or a mineral deficiency – or both, but once the habit is formed it is difficult to break!

1. Stop feeding scraps or left-over food. Hens will happily fill up on scraps at the expense of a balanced diet.

2. Never feed pellets – always meal (mash) – at least 16-17% protein). Hens can eat pellets very quickly and, when they are full, become bored and look round for something else to do – feather pecking seems a handy option! Meal takes them much longer to eat so they have less time for vices – this is probably the single most important change you can make. Make sure you feed “ad-lib” – not twice a day.

3. Provide grit but make sure it contains both soluble (oyster shell) and insoluble grit. The soluble grit is used for mineral supply, important for producing egg shells and strong bone development, and the insoluble grit is a ‘grinding aid’ in the crop to help with digestion of food.

4. Mineral deficiency is often a problem in feather pecking chickens. When a bird has heavy demands for calcium, such as during the growing phase or during egg production a mineral deficiency can cause them to attempt to obtain sufficient calcium and other minerals by pecking feathers! As a temporary measure, add a calcium supplement to the diet or drinking water. This should not be long-term necessity.

5. Suspend a Nutri-Peck block in the run or poultry house. This provides added interest, occupation, distraction and has nutritional value as well – usually a very successful measure.

6. Suspend cabbage leaves or similar greenery, either by tying into a bunch or making a ‘basket’ out of chicken wire or similar and hang from the roof of the poultry run. Greens are the exception to the rule ‘Don’t feed scraps’!

7. Apply Scarper! urgently to all pecked chicken. The long-lasting powerful odour acts as a deterrent to the culprits as they cannot bear the smell any more than we can! Scarper! also camouflages the pecked areas so that they are less obvious and attract less attention. Scarper! helps to break the habit. Do use disposable gloves with Scarper! – or no-one will come near you either!

8. If at all possible, allow the birds to free-range at least until the habit is broken. It keeps them busy!

9. Cider Vinegar added to the drinking water is a good source of minerals – it helps prevent and cure worms and coccidiosis too. A soluble multivitamin powder may be needed to return your stock to full health.

10. If using artificial light, change to red bulbs – this minimises the visibility of any blood and so decreases the ‘target’ area.

Happy Clucking!

Practical suggestions to prevent/cure tail biting in pigs

Tail biting effects pigs of all agers and can be the result of a number of factors such as overcrowding, disease, malnutrition and boredom.

Here are some suggestions to combat the problem:

1. Apply Scarper! Sprayed on the tails of pigs Scarper Vice Buster provides a pungent smell and taste, this powerful mixture discourages the pigs from biting and breaks the habit reducing cannibalism. Scarper Clear works in a similar way providing a bitter dis-taste to deter the animals from biting but is odour and stain free, perfect for show animals.

2. Dietary imbalance is a major cause of tail biting – protein and calcium imbalances in particular can cause problems. Too much protein means that it needs to be excreted which places a strain on water and electrolyte balance, therefore, blood from the tail becomes an excellent source of electrolytes. If calcium levels are too high in conjunction with excess protein, renal dysfunction can occur which leads to further electrolyte imbalance and more tail biting as a result.

3. High fat diets and lipids in particular can provoke tail biting. When tail biting occurs, it is recommended to remove pure lipid sources as a first measure.

4. Increasing dietary electrolytes can help reduce tail biting, often because of the reasons highlighted above. There are many to choose from but it’s important to ensure that they are pure of contaminants as some may come from non- feed related industries.

5. Adding fibre to the diet can significantly reduce the tendency for tail biting as it also reduces hunger and therefore the animal is not tail biting to find nutrients. Pig diets should contain at least 3 to 5 percent dietary fibre. Fibre can be increased if tail biting doesn’t reduce on the above percentages.

6. Ensure that all pigs are receiving enough water. Test water pressure systems, check drinkers daily and adjust heights if necessary. If grouped pigs don’t consume enough non-saline water they can develop unconventional habits such as tail biting.

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