PICKME stones are a clean and safe way of enabling the pullet or hen to express natural pecking behaviour. PICKME stones are compressed mineral blocks and are gently abrasive, so have a blunting effect on the beak.
PICKME stones have unique ‘Activity Tubes’ - 9 holes in each stone which provide a larger surface area for the birds to peck and can be filled with grain, feed or lucerne.
The STARTER stones are durable but not so hard as to discourage the bird from pecking. The GRITO stones are harder, will last around 3 months and can be used until the flock is depleted.
As well as the Activity Tubes to keep the hens entertained, they can peck away at the pieces of limestone grit that give the GRITO stones their name.
PICKME stones were designed by a Dutch farmer and are used widely in The Netherlands and Germany, where beak trimming is prohibited. They have been shown to be very effective at reducing aggressive behaviour, injuries and feather loss.
Another positive effect of using PICKME stones is higher productivity. Less feed is wasted and better welfare means healthier and more productive hens.
HOW TO USE PICKME PECKING STONES
Fill the Activity Tubes with grain or feed, this attracts the pullets & young hens, teaching them positive foraging behaviour.
1) On rearing farms the PICKME STARTER stones should be introduced as early as possible. The stones should be broken into smaller pieces and introduced from day 1 then given as whole stones from 4-6 weeks of age. The harder GRITO stones can also be introduced to the pullets if necessary, depending on the activity of the flock.
If introducing the stones on the layer farm it is also a good idea to begin with the STARTER stones, particularly if the beaks are trimmed. Allowing 2-3 stones per 1000 birds, they should last around 4 weeks. If the flock has full beaks and /or the birds are particularly active it might be necessary to introduce the GRITO stones sooner.
2) PICKME GRITO should be introduced after the STARTER stones, allowing 2-3 stones per 1000 birds depending on the activity of the flock. The GRITO stones are more durable and should last around 4 months.
WHAT DO PICKME STONES CONTAIN?
PICKME stones only contain natural minerals, no salt or other additives.
They are made from a finely ground silicate rock powder, formed in a specialised press and cured in a kiln. PICKME stones do not contain any binders and do not come in plastic trays.
The main components are silica, calcium and magnesium carbonate, as well as various trace elements such as iron, zinc and manganese.
PICKME stones are not consumed by the birds so their use is not regulated or restricted.