Can somebody help me determine why my chickens are eating each others feathers?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by maggienchamp, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. maggienchamp

    maggienchamp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 22, 2011
    Hi everyone,

    This whole feather eating thing has been an ongoing problem for a while now. I've tried a lot of different thing - changing their diet, increasing the coop size, etc. - but so far, none of these things have helped.

    Currently, I mix my own chicken feed. This is what I put into the mix: organic layer grain, BOSS, cracked corn, diatomaceous earth, a calcium supplement, and flax seeds. They also get daily kitchen scraps, and grit + oyster shell free choice. I also put electrolytes/vitamin powder in their water.

    As for the coop setup, I have my six girls (two of which are bantams), and 3 boys all in an 8' x 8' coop + an attached 8' x 16' run. The three boys are from my last hatch. They have not fully matured, therefore there are not any aggression problems as of yet. Unfortunately, I can't keep any roosters due to where I live, so come spring time I will be re-homing them [​IMG] I would love to keep one of the boys to help my flock establish a pecking order, because as of right now I'm not really sure there is one (which I know is a potential cause of the feather eating issue), however, I noticed my original flock of just the six girls had the same problem of eating each other's feathers, even though there was a definite pecking order.

    So, with that being said, I am open to any suggestions or advice that anyone has to offer me! I'd really like to solve this problem & not just ignore it. Even though at this point it's fairly minor, I know it can turn into something a lot worse.

    Thank you :)
  2. Is the oyster shell the right size that they can all eat it?
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Boredom, crowded conditions and lack of animal protein are often the culprits.
  5. maggienchamp

    maggienchamp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 22, 2011
    That's a good point! I normally buy the Manna Pro brand, but maybe I should try switching, as the shell is quite coarse. It never even crossed my mind that it would be too coarse for them to eat...thank you [​IMG]
  6. It may be that the bantams are having trouble getting it into their beaks :) No problem! [​IMG][​IMG]

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