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Elvis is eating his girls' feathers!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CalebtheChicken, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. CalebtheChicken

    CalebtheChicken Songster

    Jun 5, 2010
    Jeremiah, Ky.
    When I first saw it I thought he was just trying to mate them, but the other day I saw him run up to a hen, grab her neck feathers, rip them out, drop them and stare at them, then EAT them. He doesn't target a sertain girl, just random attacks. They free range alot, and when they don't they are in a 1/4 acre run, no one else does this.
    Bad habit? Problem roo? Tasty feathers?
    What's wrong with Elvis rooster and why is he doing this? Will the feathers affect his health?
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  2. rdport

    rdport In the Brooder

    Nov 27, 2009
    The only thing I have heard about chickens eating feathers is that they aren't getting enough protein. We have given them cat food with the hope that it would help...Are you feeding them a chicken feed, or just letting them range feed? Since he is eating the feathers, he must be missing something in his diet. Or just mean.
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Free Ranging Staff Member Premium Member 9 Years

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Yes, feather eating is a sign of not enough protein in his diet. Up his protein in some way: higher protein feed, cooked eggs, dry cat food (not all the time though, it's high in sodium).
  4. CalebtheChicken

    CalebtheChicken Songster

    Jun 5, 2010
    Jeremiah, Ky.
    Quote:But no one else is picking... just him and they eat my cat's food all the time.

    Quote:They free range and eat feed.
  5. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Songster

    Dec 2, 2009
    Sunny side up :)
    I gave my feather pickin hen black oil sunflower seeds. She had everyone's tail feathers picked bare in her group. Now they all have tailfeathers again and she doesn't do it anymore. I added the seeds to the scratch I give them in the evenings and mornings. It takes a month or so for it to work. I just noticed one day, 'Wow! She's not chasing the others anymore to eat thier feathers!'
    Sure enough, the others' feathers were all growing in again.
  6. CalebtheChicken

    CalebtheChicken Songster

    Jun 5, 2010
    Jeremiah, Ky.
    Quote:So replace the feathers with something tastier? I can do that.
  7. MakNugget

    MakNugget Songster

    May 31, 2010
    Portland, OR
    I have my alpha hen doing that right now and it's really irritating to see as she'll peck out a bunch of feathers from the other two girls. I don't really witness it happening inside the coop, but it's a regular occurrence in the run. Boy do the girls squawk after being pecked. She'll then eat it unless I'm able to grab it from her.

    They're all on developer feed specifically for preparing layers prior to laying. They get boss and scratch every day and haven't seen any change.

    I'm still not comfortable giving them cooked eggs:eek: and the idea of giving them cat food is just [​IMG]

    Maybe I can toss a bone from a steak as long as the dog isn't looking.

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