A few weeks ago I noticed one of my hens eating a feather that was laying on the ground. I thought she jus happened to see it and picked at it then jus ate it for no reason. Then 2 days ago I was in the coop with them when the rooster bred one of my black orps. and he pulled out like 6 or 7 feathers from her neck. Before the feathers could settle on the ground the other hens ran over and gobbled them up. My girls are not hungry. not for food anyway. they always have plenty of food and water and get treats like carrots lettuce and cabbage every day or 2. what could be making them act this way? am I leaving something out of their diet that they need? they eat dumar 16 % layer crumbles plus the treats I already named. any advice will help.
why do my hens eat feathers off the ground?
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The feathers have protein in them. It won't hurt them to eat them, but if you want to add protein to their diet, try giving them black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS). That will help them get the protein they need especially in the winter.
Yup its winter time and they will be wanting extra protein in their diet & 16% sounds a little low to me. Supplementing with a little cat food wouldn't hurt (not too much cause of sodium levels in cat food).
Feathers contain sulphur which is why eggs have that characteristic smell. You could try feeding them a little cooked scrambled egg and see if that helps.