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Why do rescued ex-layer hens peck my boots & bucket? | Sez the Vet

Ever wondered why your rehomed industry layer hens peck at your boots and buckets incessantly? Allow me to explain 🙂
…Spoiler alert, they’re not “chicken kisses” 🙁

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Note the opinions expressed are those of the authors, and this informative episode is not intended to replace individual advice given by a medical professional, for your specific case

Attributions and cited research:

Endeavour Audio by Ron Gelinas, retrieved rom https://youtu.be/Tg64Jk7uJHs.

Pecking behaviour of laying hens in single-tiered aviaries with and without outdoor area
T Shimmura 1, T Suzuki, S Hirahara, Y Eguchi, K Uetake, T Tanaka

Stereotypies and Other Abnormal Repetitive Behaviors: Potential Impact on Validity, Reliability, and Replicability of Scientific Outcomes 
Joseph P. Garner
ILAR Journal, Volume 46, Issue 2, 2005, Pages 106–117,

Colony cage footage shot in New Zealand 2012, attributed to SAFE. Retrieved from Colony cage footage shot in New Zealand 2012.

The real cost of caged eggs attributed to Animals Australia, retrieved from The real cost of caged eggs

Black Leopard Pacing and Purroaring attributed to Jonathan Robbins, retrieved from YouTube. Video was clipped.

Elephant Swaying Back and Forth attributed to https://ytmp3.cc/en17/. Retrieved from YouTube. Video was clipped.


Originally posted 2023-11-16 05:47:07.


  1. My chickens who came from a free range farm, love pecking my pant leg or boot. It seems to be they are asking for food (aka treats in the form of extra scratch mix) even though they have never lacked for food either on their birth farm or my farm.

  2. I’ve rescued some battery hens and they’re my first time at keeping hens. One was taken by a fox which I was very saddened by and then on Friday my favourite hen was ill so I called the vet but they asked to call me back and unfortunately in the time I waited for their return call she died. I’m now angry with myself. I read ALL sorts of different possible causes and thought she could have been egg bound so made baths to soak her back end, she was a little livelier after but eventually she died. I took another hen to the vet over the weekend that I thought was ill too. The vet was very good and said the hen didn’t look too poorly so that was good news. He gave me some antibiotics to give the hens that I still have remaining and fingers crossed they will not have caught anything from the hen that died.

  3. Great content and presentation and good job on trying to educate the many who should have done some of this type of homework "before" buying a lifestyle block ! It's a bad day when we all don't learn something so even the old hands could benefit from some of your info, keep up the good work.
    One comment for you though, you really need to get spell checker to work on the subtitles.

  4. What a Beautiful vet..😊😍👍

  5. Hi Sez – great videos and content!!

    Do ex-battery hens generally have the same scratching and foraging behaviour when free ranging as non-rescue ones?

    I'm thinking about getting some and wondered if they'll enjoy getting worms and grubs in the garden as much given that their beak are cut when they're young?

    Also, would most vets in NZ/suburban Auckland be able to give them the contraceptive you mentioned in another video?

    Awesome format and conciseness too btw!
    Thanks 🙂

  6. So flipping sad. Thank you for doing this video, you are beautifully spoken x

  7. Thank you so much for shining a light on such a dark industry Sez, another outstanding video.

    We need to abolish these terrible industries for good, we are better then this.

  8. Will always have a soft spot for these little weirdos, haha.

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