Eating Feathers

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by 18chicks, Aug 30, 2008.

  1. 18chicks

    18chicks New Egg

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    May 15, 2008
    Massachusetts
    Just wondering, is it normal for hens to be eating other hens feathers? or does it mean they are missing something in their diet? They are not pulling each others feathers out (well sometimes) but just eating the ones laying around the run. We feed them layer pellets, with ocasional free range, and treats
    Thanks!
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    It is a form of protein. You can give then a handful of kitty kibble or let them share a small can of wet cat food once a week or so.

    When my broody came off the nest she eat tons of stray feathers. I started giving her a high potein gamebird feed and wet cat food to give her the boost she needed.
     
  3. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    I assumed it was natural process of "cleaning up" the hen yard. Our girls get plenty of insects, worms and I do feed cooked meat scraps . They are free range with plenty of fresh grass and clover.
    To go out, I never seem to find many feathers laying about. I have actually never seen them eat feathers yet with none left behind, they go somewhere.

    Now, wouldn't a fish, chicken, beef, dairy protein be better then a processed 2nd grade animal feed such as cat food?
     
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    These days most chicken feed is 2nd or 3rd grade animal feed. You can feed them any animal protein you want but some hard kitty kibble to peck at won't hurt them and it it will keep them entertained. My chickens are not pets. They are well care for lievstock. I save the fish, pork, beef and other protein to feed my family. With about 100 chickens (200+ when the meaties arrive) offering more expensive cuts of meat to them would be counter productive and not at all cost effective.
     
  5. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Absolutely, I do understand what you are saying!
    Its interesting on the grades of foods. I have a 5 layers, 3 bantams and the 6 meatbirds are gone. Mine are pets and can respect the amount of feed you go through.

    Now, do you sell eggs? Birds? (Just nosey)
     
  6. simba49450

    simba49450 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2008
    Michigan
    mine eat the small fluffy feathers sometimes and its normal there is nothing lacking in thier diet at all. they do that i think they love the taste of them the one does anyway shes a little sweetie but can be a eye picker (so thats what i named her) all 3 girls are buff orps. cant ait for mine to start laying they are 5mon old now YAY! mine are pets and they are very spoiled so wether you have them as pets or otherwise they do that, my last flock did
     
  7. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Quote:I give away more eggs than I sell by way of bartering with other families trying to homestead.

    I will have blue orp hatching eggs for sale in spring.

    At times I do have some bbs orps for sale but not often.
     
  8. chickenlady

    chickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2007
    Stillwater, NJ
    I have also heard the feather picking/eating is a result of a mineral deficiency. I suppliment with avia charge 2000 and have never had a problem.
     
  9. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Now stupid question, when your birds moult, do they leave feathers in their yards/area?
    I know when I had 22 Canaries for breeding, the livingroom looked like something else. When the glass sliding door was opened, the feathers would roll acrossed the floor!
    It was saddly comical and before we vacuumed every other day, we would let the birds out to graze the seeds!
     

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