Feather eating

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by suburbansilkies, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. suburbansilkies

    suburbansilkies Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 16, 2016
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    I have noticed that my chickens do this. Is it because they need more protein? What can I give them that would solve this that is a commonly around the house?
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Welcome to BYC! It's great to have you.

    There are several common causes of feather picking; protein deficiency is one, but so are crowding and stress. If your flock eats a typical 16% layer ration and their diet is not more than 10-15% treats and scraps, they shouldn't really have any issues with protein. However, to increase protein, you can either switch to a 18-20% protein grower ration supplemented with oyster shell, or change most of their treats to high protein foodstuffs, like ground beef or mealworms.

    As for crowding, are you sure they have enough space? It's recommended each bird has at least 10 sf run space and 4 sf coop space (though coop space rules can sometimes be bent).

    Stress can cause feather picking as well, and stress itself can be caused by factors such as nearby predators, movements within the environment or flock, or changes in the pecking order.
     
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