Chickens Are Eating Feathers

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Ilovefarming, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. Ilovefarming

    Ilovefarming Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there!
    Why are my chickens eating feathers? I have been noticing this for about a week. Yesterday, my lead hen started pecking my pullet Sweetie Pie and chasing her around the coop. She tore off a big ball of feathers, and then left Sweetie Pie alone. She put them down, and then started eating them, one by one. She ate every one of them. I have seen her do this several times with other hens in the flock when she pecks them and feathers come off. Is this normal? I know it can't be good for them...

    Thank you!
    Ilovefarming
     
  2. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maybe they need some extra protein. You could feed them some cooked beans, dry catfood, or scrambled eggs. Or you could mix some game bird feed half and half with their regular feed. It has a little more protein than layer. My chickens were eating feathers. After I checked for mites and didn't find any I gave extra protein and they stopped with the feathers.
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Protein.
    Feathers are 90% protein. When several members of a flock are actively eating them, their diet is likely deficient.
    Laying hens, not molting, should be getting about 16-17% total crude protein. Additionally, it needs to be made up of a complete array of amino acids since chickens have about 14 amino acids that are essential in their diet.
    What makes up their diet?
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Eggs won't help, even though they're a nutritious food containing animal protein, they're only 13% protein so would further lower overall protein.
    Beans are high in protein but being a vegetable protein are missing several essential amino acids.
    While you're temporarily upping the protein, eliminate non-protein treats. Cut out the scratch and anything under 16% protein.
    Once their needs are satisfied you can go back to primarily their complete chicken feed which should be about 90% of their intake.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
  5. Ilovefarming

    Ilovefarming Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They eat flock raiser and are free range the whole day or half a day, depending on my schedule.
     
  6. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Although Purina Flock Raise is 20% protein it lacks Animal Proteins and free ranging will only deplete proteins unless there are lots of insects, bugs, etc. around.

    The most common reasons for feather eating is lack of protein, lack of animal proteins, and lice/mites.

    If it was me I would dust them with a good poultry dust and add some animal proteins to there diet, a good game bird feed that contains animal proteins, or even a good meat based dog food like Bil-Jac should help out a lot.
     
  7. Ilovefarming

    Ilovefarming Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, I will do that. Thank you!
     

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