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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by shawnj72, Aug 23, 2011.
Is it normal and is there any Nutritional value in birds eating the smaller feathers?
It is often done; there is supposed to be protein in feathers. As long as they are not picking each other and eating the feathers, it is probably OK. If it bothers you, perhaps increasing their protein intake would help them stop. You could give them fish, cooked eggs, meat. Increase forage time if you can.
Yep, it's normal. Wait till you see one eating a long feather.
I've heard it's a protein thing. I think it's that they'll eat just about anything.
I think tossing in some BOSS would help with upping the protein intake if that's a concern.
Dry cat food is another option.
Mine do this too! It's funny to watch
Thanks I thought they were just crazy..Birds.. they have 20% protein and they forrage from 10am till dark 7 days a week..
There are a few things that will cause poultry to eat feathers.
There feed is lacking in Protein/s, (Methionine, Arginine, Animal based Protein)
Mites or Lice,
Low mineral level in the diet,
Dust your birds and then try supplementing with some high protein game bird feed. One that is around 20% to 22% protein and that contains Animal Proteins in it.
Here is a quote from Dr Marinus van Krimpen of Wageningen University.
"Severe feather pecking has been reported in birds that were fed a too low mineral level in the diet, a too low protein level or a too low amino acid level (methionine, arginine).
There appears to be somewhat more more feather pecking with diets containing only vegetable proteins compared to those fed some protein of animal origin.
Feather pecking is also more associated with diets that were restricted, coarsely ground or fed as pellets."
Dr Marinus van Krimpen of Wageningen University
haven't seen this in my flock, but wondering if making some goat minerals available to them free choice would help? it's available in a sand-like form rather than in pressed blocks.
Quote:Goat mineral is much too high in Salt and Copper for poultry.
Quote:BOSS is 15% protein, so won't really "up" the protein of 16% layer.
X-2 on Chris's info and eating feathers is a signal of your birds wanting protein that could lead to other bad habits like taking those feathers from other hens and that can get ugly fast. My grandpa used to tell me that if you do not see feathers in the coop or blowing in the yard the chickens need more protein and over the years I have seen this to be true at least in our flocks. So if I notice this behavior or a lack of the normal amount of shed feathers around I adjust the diet accordingly....