Chicks eating feathers?

Jul 22, 2021
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I've got 6 chicks about 5 weeks old, this morning I noticed one of them walking around the coop eating a few stray feathers off the ground and one chick has a dot of blood where a feather was plucked. I'm curious if this is common? Could it be a sign of dietary issues? They're on medicated starter feed and this past week I've started giving them veggie scraps plus whatever bugs find their way in. I don't want them to pluck at each other if I can prevent it.
 

MysteryChicken

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I've got 6 chicks about 5 weeks old, this morning I noticed one of them walking around the coop eating a few stray feathers off the ground and one chick has a dot of blood where a feather was plucked. I'm curious if this is common? Could it be a sign of dietary issues? They're on medicated starter feed and this past week I've started giving them veggie scraps plus whatever bugs find their way in. I don't want them to pluck at each other if I can prevent it.
Up their protein abit. Offer some scrambled eggs, or mealworms?
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
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North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
^^^ both answers are correct. Feather plucking can be a sign of dietary protein needs. It can also be a sign of boredom.

What medicated starter feed are you offering them? (if its a name brand or a big mill, we are likely familiar with it. if its a local grind, we'd like to see the protein and fat % at minimum, or a link to their website so we can check that, and the ingredient list.

Chick's dietary need are pretty high, while their consumption is limited by small body size as they grow and feather rapidly - requires a higher protein diet than is strictly needed as adults.

Meanwhile, things to hop on, run around, hide under, and dig thru will keep them actively engaged (mostly) in doing something other than picking on one another out of boredom.
 
Jul 22, 2021
261
538
148
^^^ both answers are correct. Feather plucking can be a sign of dietary protein needs. It can also be a sign of boredom.

What medicated starter feed are you offering them? (if its a name brand or a big mill, we are likely familiar with it. if its a local grind, we'd like to see the protein and fat % at minimum, or a link to their website so we can check that, and the ingredient list.

Chick's dietary need are pretty high, while their consumption is limited by small body size as they grow and feather rapidly - requires a higher protein diet than is strictly needed as adults.

Meanwhile, things to hop on, run around, hide under, and dig thru will keep them actively engaged (mostly) in doing something other than picking on one another out of boredom.
It's the Purina brand starter feed, I don't like Purina in general but I wasn't there when my husband bought it, he was rushing and just grabbed whatever. He's headed to tractor supply after work for meal worms and he'd like to know if it matter whether meal worms are fresh or dried? Open to better feed options if you have any suggestions, just found out one chick is a cornish rock and I was told she'll need a higher protein diet than the rest. 4 speckled sussex (1 male 3 female) and a black/gray chick I haven't identified yet, I'll add a picture if anyone might know. A hawk just started nesting in a neighbors tree so I don't want to let them out until the run is finished.
20210722_103101.jpg
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
5,176
15,566
606
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
It's the Purina brand starter feed, I don't like Purina in general but I wasn't there when my husband bought it, he was rushing and just grabbed whatever. He's headed to tractor supply after work for meal worms and he'd like to know if it matter whether meal worms are fresh or dried? Open to better feed options if you have any suggestions, just found out one chick is a cornish rock and I was told she'll need a higher protein diet than the rest. 4 speckled sussex (1 male 3 female) and a black/gray chick I haven't identified yet, I'll add a picture if anyone might know. A hawk just started nesting in a neighbors tree so I don't want to let them out until the run is finished. View attachment 2769948

The Purina Start and Grow has enough Protein at 18%. Many, probably most, of us feed our birds bewtween 18 and 20% all their lives.

Most likely its a bit of boredom, and a bit of pecking order (which can't be avoided).

If you have a CX, its destined for the table quickly, so many feed them higher protein still, and let them free feed to fatten up ASAP. Which management practice you settle on is up to you.

Meal worms, etc will be dried. They are high protein and can be offered as treats, butkeep the quantity very small, they are also high fat.

Welcome to BYC, and good luck in your chicken keeping journey!
 

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