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My chickens are eating feathers! Yikes!

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 

To me this seems yuk!   I have noticed the chickens eating feathers.  Why would they be doing this?  I make sure their feeder never runs out and they have fresh water 2 times a day.  I hope it doesn't hurt them.  I would think it could be like a cat with a hair ball.

post #2 of 44

I've read that it could be a lack of protein.   Try giving them crushed up boiled eggs as a treat.  There are also things you can add to feed but not sure whats best there.  I'm sure someone else will have other suggestions.   Good Luck

post #3 of 44

I agree it's probably lack of protein and it can lead to pecking problems.  Try feeding Black Oil Sunflower Seeds (BOSS).  Good source of protein.

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post #4 of 44
Thread Starter 

I will probably have to try the sunflower seeds since I can't seem to peel hard boiled eggs without tearing the eggs to shreads.    I have tried everything to make hard boiled eggs,  I've put salt in the water then cool them off fast in ice water but they are near impossible to peel.

Do I need to get the shelled sunflower seeds?

Thanks smile

post #5 of 44

The bag should read Black Oil Sunflower Seeds and they are the black shelled ones.  Just feed them whole with the shells.

Another thing you can do is scramble the eggs (and their crushed shells) and feed those to your birds.  You could do the same with the boiled eggs too- crush them with their shells and feed them.


Edited by Buster - 2/15/09 at 7:29am
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post #6 of 44

I know this sounds weird, but it works beautifully - boil the water first and then put the eggs in (lower them in gently with a ladle or slotted spoon.)  Boil chicken eggs for roughly 14 minutes and then drain and add cold water (you can use ice but cold tap water works fine for me).  Keep draining and adding cold water until the eggs are cool.  No need to add salt or anything to the water and the shells come right off.  Learned it on another thread posted here somewhere and you can take an egg right out of the nest, boil it, and peel it using this method.

To feed them to the chickens though, don't bother peeling.  Just crush everything up and let them have at it.  Feathers are all protein and when chicks are young or moulting, feathers are a delicacy.  If they are plucking from the others and eating, I agree it is a deficiency.  Dry cat/kitten food is high in protein and they love it.

16 chickens & 17 spoiled rotten Indian runner ducks!
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16 chickens & 17 spoiled rotten Indian runner ducks!
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post #7 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buster 

The bag should read Black Oil Sunflower Seeds and they are the black shelled ones.  Just feed them whole with the shells.

Another thing you can do is scramble the eggs (and their crushed shells) and feed those to your birds.  You could do the same with the boiled eggs too- crush them with their shells and feed them.


That would make it easier then they would not need to be peeled!   Great idea!  Thanks!

post #8 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LilRalphieRoosmama 

I know this sounds weird, but it works beautifully - boil the water first and then put the eggs in (lower them in gently with a ladle or slotted spoon.)  Boil chicken eggs for roughly 14 minutes and then drain and add cold water (you can use ice but cold tap water works fine for me).  Keep draining and adding cold water until the eggs are cool.  No need to add salt or anything to the water and the shells come right off.  Learned it on another thread posted here somewhere and you can take an egg right out of the nest, boil it, and peel it using this method.

To feed them to the chickens though, don't bother peeling.  Just crush everything up and let them have at it.  Feathers are all protein and when chicks are young or moulting, feathers are a delicacy.  If they are plucking from the others and eating, I agree it is a deficiency.  Dry cat/kitten food is high in protein and they love it.


I will try it.   We love pickled eggs but I have had so much trouble peeling them and with a refrigerater full of eggs, I'm not about to buy store bought eggs just so they peel easier.   Thanks for the tip!

post #9 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by LilRalphieRoosmama 

I know this sounds weird, but it works beautifully - boil the water first and then put the eggs in (lower them in gently with a ladle or slotted spoon.)  Boil chicken eggs for roughly 14 minutes and then drain and add cold water (you can use ice but cold tap water works fine for me).  Keep draining and adding cold water until the eggs are cool.  No need to add salt or anything to the water and the shells come right off.  Learned it on another thread posted here somewhere and you can take an egg right out of the nest, boil it, and peel it using this method.

To feed them to the chickens though, don't bother peeling.  Just crush everything up and let them have at it.  Feathers are all protein and when chicks are young or moulting, feathers are a delicacy.  If they are plucking from the others and eating, I agree it is a deficiency.  Dry cat/kitten food is high in protein and they love it.


I use this method of boiling too and have almost no problems. smile

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post #10 of 44

I make pickled quail eggs all the time, 100's at a time.  If I hadn't read about this method, there's no way I could do it.  You'll end up with some cracking when you put them in but they are usually ok and I use them anyway.  I pull the eggs out of the fridge 15 minutes to a half hour before I boil them, if I remember.

16 chickens & 17 spoiled rotten Indian runner ducks!
** www.NorthCoastCandleCompany.com - check out our new rooster & duck plant hangers!! **
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16 chickens & 17 spoiled rotten Indian runner ducks!
** www.NorthCoastCandleCompany.com - check out our new rooster & duck plant hangers!! **
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