Hen eating feathers?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by thehappynunu, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. thehappynunu

    thehappynunu Out Of The Brooder

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    Recently, I have seen my New Hampshire hen eating the feathers off the ground of my run and even pecking at my easter egger and welsummer to eat their feathers. Why is she doing this and is there anything I can do to stop it?

    THanks
     
  2. cows and chickens

    cows and chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Generally feather eating is a sing of low protein. What % protein is your feed?
     
  3. lahowardjr

    lahowardjr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree that they need more protein in their diet. My hens will often eat the plumage feathers that are floating around but don't pull feathers off of other chickens. Feathers are a non-digestible form of protein and some cheaper brands of feed will add ground feathers into their feed to up the protein % on the bag. Increase your layer feed to 18%+ and this may fix the problem.
     
  4. BunkyB

    BunkyB Chillin' With My Peeps

    Diet is the main issue with the feather eating. In my experience it is partially due to the lack of zinc in the diet. Harmless if eaten off the floor but can be a pain if the flock start pecking each others down feathers from the soft spots. One thing can lead to another... Here is an article I found and it may help out in the understanding of feather eating..

    High ambient temperatures compromise performance and productivity through reducing feed intake and decreasing nutrient utilization, growth rate, egg production, egg quality, and feed efficiency, which lead to economic losses in poultry. Environmental stress also leads to oxidative stress associated with a reduced antioxidant status in the bird in vivo, as reflected by increased oxidative damage and lowered plasma concentrations of antioxidant vitamins (e.g., vitamins E, A, and C) and minerals (e.g., Zn). Zinc has an important role in numerous biological processes in avian and mammalian species. For instance, Zn is an essential component of many enzymes, and it has both structural and catalytic functions in metalloenzymes. Furthermore, dietary Zn is required for normal immune function as well as proper skeletal development and maintenance. One of the most important functions of Zn is related to its antioxidant role and its participation in the antioxidant defense system. This work compiles past and present information about the role of Zn in heat-stressed poultry health.

    Hope this helps a bit Steve
     
  5. thehappynunu

    thehappynunu Out Of The Brooder

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  6. Chicken Master1

    Chicken Master1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i can never find anything lower than 20%. Have you tried a tractor supply if you have one?
     

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