Eating their own feathers?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by skatcatla, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. skatcatla

    skatcatla Songster

    Jun 26, 2007
    I notice my chickens will often slurp up the feathers of the other chickens as they come across them lying around the lawn or my deck. Is this normal?
  2. texaschickmama

    texaschickmama Songster

    Sep 19, 2007
    Poolville, TX
    Mine, too. They like fight over them. Mine are on starter pellets and 15 wks old. [​IMG]
  3. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Might be that they need more protien in their feed.
    Might consider tossing them a little dry cat food as a treat a couple of days a week.
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    My Ameraucanas in particular do this. In some cases, it's a protein deficiency, but not always. I think to an extent, it's a normal thing and there may be a nutrient in the feathers besides protein that they are supplying. Mine have a high protein breeder/layer pellet of 22% so a deficiency is not the problem in this case.
  5. skatcatla

    skatcatla Songster

    Jun 26, 2007
    Hmm..well they are mostly eating Quickgrow feed as well as whatever they find around the yard. I'll see if I can find some other protein sources though. Do you think they'd like tofu? [​IMG]
  6. homecatmom

    homecatmom Songster

    Mine do it too! Not only do they eat them, but they eat them fast! I threw some kibble cat food out for them today just to make sure, but my birds eat all kinds of protein, so I don't know...
  7. redwa

    redwa Songster

    Aug 9, 2007
    I started giving mine cat food to increase their protein in take and two developed crop problems. I contacted a local chicken specialist and she said to NOT give them cat food. She said it can mess with their digestive track thus causing a variey of problems, including crop problems. I now give them meal worms, black oil sunflower seeds (both in moderation) and a high protein layer pellet. I don't see them eating feathers.
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I still think it's to a degree a natural thing because between the 22% layer/breeder pellets, black oil sunflower seeds(even their scratch, almost corn-free, is 13% protein) I know they do not have a protein deficit.
    Cat food is higher in salt than chickens need so it should be a rare thing to toss them any, if at all, I think.
  9. SandraChick

    SandraChick Songster

    feather eating can be a sign of low protein....but it can also be a symptom of a lack of another nutrient (whose name has completely escaped my mind---starts with an M).

    Whole sunflower seeds with the hull have this nutrient.....

    I rescue chickens...and they almost always show up here eating every feather in sight....once here for a week or so they quit completely. I add extra protein to their diet and make sure they have access to sunflower seeds. I call it the one-two feather eating punch!

    Good luck


    PS- My chickens free range so they get everything free choice....they eat all the sunflower seeds that fall out of the bird feeder and also get scattered our for our wild pigeons.
  10. Wynette

    Wynette Crowing

    Sep 25, 2007
    I posted the same question about a month ago, and am glad to hear other folks' chickens do the same thing mine do! I was also told to throw out some dry cat food in case they need more protein, but they completely ignored the cat food. So, I think it must just be a chicken thing!

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