Eating feathers

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by henney, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. henney

    henney Songster

    Aug 9, 2008
    Reno Nevada
    :(My RIR pullet ate her feather! They were eating their greens and I noticed a loose feather on her back. She saw it and turned and ate it, I thought she'd just pull it off. They eat a balanced diet, starter/grower, greens, corn on cob, watermelen, pasta, grapes and just introduced cottage cheese.
    Is this normal or is she lacking something?
  2. What a great question! Because I am wondering the same thing. My chickens find a loose feather and GOBBLE it up even fighting over it like it's a bug sometimes! And, what's more is they eat it so FAST!

    I was wondering too... is this ok? I assume it's normal on some level since you can't expect to keep feathers away from them, but seriously they eat those feathers like it's their last supper or something.

    So weird!
  3. henney

    henney Songster

    Aug 9, 2008
    Reno Nevada
    Yea, she swallowed it fast to. I thought she'd choke but she kept eating her greens like it was nothing!
  4. Quote:I wonder that also. Ive read it can come from not having enough protein, but im feeding mine 16-17% layer pellets.
  5. mylilchix

    mylilchix Songster

    I'd love an answer to this too. My girls and boys have been on Start & Grow since day 1, and I think that has 18% protein. For a while every time a feather would fall they'd jump on it at lightning speed. Now they're leaving all of the feathers alone. When and why do they eat their feathers?

  6. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Sometimes they just do that.

    I wouldn't worry unless she starts doing it alot.
  7. Quote:Chickens will eat their feathers to obtain more protein. If you are feeding a good protein rich diet you shouldn't see anything obsessive. They will occasionally eat one or two, just because they are chickens and have a brain the size of a pea.... but unless they are doing it compulsively, you shouldn't have a problem.
  8. ravenfeathers

    ravenfeathers Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Quote:i agree with this. too many people worry about odd or quirky behaviours, but as long as your husbandry program is good and your chickens aren't downright ill, almost everything is normal for pea brains. i particularly enjoy it when a little piece of baby fluff finally snaps off and goes floating through the hair while all the chicks scramble over each other to try to snap it out of the air. how disappointed they are to finally catch it and find it's only a feather and not a yummy, floaty bug.
  9. Tom Gant

    Tom Gant In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2008
    This is interesting. I do not agree with the above because of my problem. I feed 22% layer and I have noticed all my chickens eating feathers that are droping on the ground, which is no big deal. My problem is I have one hen that will pick the feathers off the other chickens. She is not peaking them she is plucken them. Most of my chickens will cackle and peak her off to defend them selves, but I have 2 that will sit there and let her do it. These two are getting very bare. I am going today to get some blue spray to pu on them to see if this helps.

    Also I let my chickens out everyday for about 3 hours and the eat grass and any bugs they can find. So I do not see this as a protien deficancy, but I do not know the reason for this.
  10. Quote:Baby fluff?.. no seriously, I'm talkin' full blown feathers here.. several inches long, very big.. baby fluff, no big deal.. but to see them fight over a great big feather... looks very different to me

    I'm not worried, I believe they'll do what theyre supposed to do, but new owners, such as myself who still arent' confidant that our husbandry program is sufficient or even good, still wonder about these quirky behaviors.

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