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hen eating roo's feathers!

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by Marianne25, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. Marianne25

    Marianne25 In the Brooder

    anyone have a chicken that actually eats another 's feathers? i'm not talking about squabbling or fighting. I mean actually picking out and ingesting another's feathers. One of my RIR's will sometimes follow our rooster around and do this. And the funniest thing is that he lets her! Sometimes she really yanks them out, HARD. (They are usually very
    small feathers from his side) Only one of my hens does this; my rooster is a very bossy guy so it amazes me that he sits there
    and takes it!
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016

  2. Adalida

    Adalida Songster

    Nov 21, 2015
    From what I've read on here, eating feathers is likely a sign of protein deficiency. What kind of feed do your chickens have?
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I'd suggest that it is most likely to be an environmental issue, not protein deficiency. When chickens are kept in an environment that does not allow them to perform their "natural" behaviours, it can result in displacement behaviour - vigorous feather pecking is a good example. My advice would be to read up on chicken behaviours and try to ensure that your set-up facilitates as much of their natural behaviour as possible.

    Here's a link to a course on chickens - it includes the relevant info

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  4. gonehencrazy

    gonehencrazy Songster

    Jul 6, 2016
    Idk. I see my chickens eat feather. They have a huge run and don't lack anything. Maybe it's similar to my dog obsessively eating grass for no reason
  5. Feather picking as said above is generally an environmental stress indicator like insufficient room/space in the coop and run, insufficient design/layout of coop and run, pure boredom or something else in or outside the coop and run causing stress like a predator and/or an indicator of insufficient protein in their diet...

    You should address each one of those one at a time making changes and observing if the issue gets better or worse when changes are made until you find the issue...
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
  6. Marianne25

    Marianne25 In the Brooder

    thanks but i dont think it can be any of those issues. Their run is 10x18 for seven birds and they are out to free range three or four times per day. diet is Purina Layena with Oyster Shells along with veggie treats from garden...and other fruit and veggie scraps
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016

  7. Just because you 'feel' it's not any of those things does not mean it's not any of those things, what I describe probably covers 99% of the reasons chickens pluck and eat feathers...

    Your run size appears to be sufficient size, but does said run have anything inside to stimulate the birds and give them something to do so boredom doesn't set in? What about coop size, layout and design? What about other potential stress factors in and around the yard?

    Try a slightly higher protien feed, like an 18% all flock and make sure that veggie treats and fruit treats are cut to a minimum or even totally cut until you narrow down the cause of the problem as fruits and vegetables will dilute the overall protein intake...

  8. Marianne25

    Marianne25 In the Brooder

    thanks i will try those suggestions and see what happens; i suppose it strikes me odd that none of the others seem to be doing this behavior.
  9. Marianne25

    Marianne25 In the Brooder

    also, what types of "boredom busters" would you recommend?? thanks!

  10. Swings, perches at multiple heights and different directions that they can hop between, chairs, tables, tubes, cinder blocks, shelves, rotting logs, pile of leaves, some lawn clippings, tossing a hand full of scratch out every day, works better if you toss it into the grass or say into a pile of lawn clipping or leaves so they have to dig for it... Hanging a head of cabbage, broccoli or similar vegetables from strings... Pumpkins are cheap right now, cut one in half and toss it in the coop, when pumpkins are out of season other squash and gourds work, in hot weather you can freeze them prior to giving it to the birds...
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
    1 person likes this.

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