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ACK!! My 5 week olds are chewing feathers!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chickerdoodle, May 27, 2010.

  1. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Songster

    Aug 21, 2009
    I noticed a few of our gals who are 5 1/2 weeks old had a few of their tail feathers looking a little raggedy Tuesday morning, hmmm. Last night I noticed 3 feathers in the pen! [​IMG] Only 3 have the issue--Beatrice the BR and Pearl and Poppy the Speckled Sussex girls--which means Hyacinth the BLRW or Agnes our EE (or both?) might be the culprit. They have plenty of room (16 Sq. feet in their brooder), lots of shavings to scratch in, different things to fly on and off and get 99% medicated chick stater (1% treats). What could be the reason? They always have food, they get occasional treats such as organic yogurt and a tiny bit of Cheerios and rolled oats (training treats) and are very comfortable off the heat lamp (our house is maintained at 68 degrees). I decided against moving them outdoors until next week due to the crummy weather. They are our first chicks.

    Taking my own advice that I gave someone else a few months ago (I researched chickens a year before we got them) I thought maybe its time to get a little more protein in their diet. Well off to Petsmart I went and brought the little buggers home. I left them out in a small plastic pet bowl so they'd wake up a little to make them more appealing (ewwww) [​IMG] .

    Next was to let the gals get a look and see how long it took for a brave soul to grab one. Literally just one second after showing them the worms Beatrice, aka "I'll grab now and see what to do with it later, " did the deed. Off they went when they saw the mealworm dangling from her beak! It was toooo funny! Then Poppy, who likes food (like her surrogate mom) grabbed one. Poppy, Pearl, Agnes and Beatrice went after them like they were the best thing they ever ate in their little lives! It was mayhem with all the running and grabbing and eating. Beatrice, as usual got most of them and poor Hyacinth got none. Hyacinth is the BLRW with the scissor beak and the shyest of the lot (although the biggest). She eyeballed them in the other's mouth but wouldn't grab one from the bowl. DARN! I really wanted her to get a few in case she is the feather chewing culprit! She does have a gorgeous tail. So I decided to add another feeding station in their pen as well to see if that helps but they all always have full crops at bedtime. Any other ideas or thoughts??
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  2. acid_chipmunk

    acid_chipmunk Polish Silkies d'Uccles O my!

    Mar 29, 2010
    If you found feathers in the pen, then they aren't eating them. Those are probably from the junior molt they go through. And, what do you mean be the tail feathers are looking raggedy? Depending on where they are roosting, the pen could be breaking the ends of the tails off (if that is the problem)
  3. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Songster

    Aug 21, 2009
    Quote:I found complete, fine looking feathers in the pen--so you're right--they must not be eating them. Do they have a junior molt at 5 1/2 weeks of age? I know there is still downy fuzz coming off. This morning I found a feather from our BLRW! [​IMG]

    By ragged I mean it looks like someone chewed on the end of two of Poppy's tail feathers and maybe her sister's. Maybe she did it herself? They do have plenty of room by the roost so I don't think that is it. Otherwise they look fine and act fine.

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