chickens eating feathers

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mygroomshop, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. mygroomshop

    mygroomshop Out Of The Brooder

    16
    0
    22
    Jul 21, 2009
    my chickens are pecking at each others backs, above their tails. I have seen them actually eat the feathers. That is weird, what are they lacking? Any sugestions?
     
  2. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,429
    50
    173
    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    Usually feather eating seems to be related to not enough protein in the diet. However, feather plucking/picking is most often a behavioral manifestation of boredom and/or an inadequate amount of space for the number of hens you have. There's also the possibility that you could have a little of both going on. You might want to consider a higher protein feed or add in some high protein treats as well as re-evaluating how many hens you can house in your coop/run. Remember, minimums are just that, bare minimums, and unless your hens are getting a lot of free range time the minimum recommended amount of space is usually not really enough. Rehoming a few birds, adding more square footage to your run, and providing enrichment (such as a flock block, throwing some dry leaves or a pile of straw in the run for them to dig through, hanging suet feeders with treats such as fresh greens on the sides of the run, etc) or a combination of one or more of the three will probably help.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by