Hen plucks her own chicks feathers and eats them

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gchaly, May 22, 2011.

  1. gchaly

    gchaly Hatching

    May 22, 2011
    I have a hen with four chicks, they are about 2 weeks old. She seems to be a good mother; she looks after her chicks and feeds them but every now and then she would grab one of her chicks by a wing and throw them around. I didn't know she was trying to pluck them until recently I saw her successfully plucking one of the feathers off the young chick's wing and ate it. Is this normal chicken behavior? What would cause a mother hen to behave this way. Is it because she is lacking nutrition? This hen is not locked up, she is free to roam the backyard with her chicks and there are plenty of food, bugs, and water for them to eat. Presently, I have separted the chicks from her until I can figure out what's going on. Has anyone ever experienced this before?
  2. TinyLittleFarm

    TinyLittleFarm Songster

    Mar 8, 2010
    I have very little experience with mama hens, but I've never seen anything like that before. It doesn't sound normal to me.
  3. ve

    ve Songster

    Jan 27, 2009
    Palmetto GA
    I had same problem with one broody. She kiled one babie. When she is broody she does not eat too much and luses vitamines after that she gives all the treats to her babies. Both times I let her hatch she did the same.I bough her pinlesspipers (sp) and she raised the chicks OK.
  4. axion_lotus

    axion_lotus Songster

    Jan 19, 2011
    Central NC
    I'm worried about these chicks, this hen sounds nutty. [​IMG] She may have a nutritional deficit right now, but if it gets worse, maybe you should move the chicks into a brooder and do the rest of the raising yourself, for their safety.
  5. Cricket0801

    Cricket0801 Hatching

    Feb 4, 2014
    OMG! I have the exact same problem with my hen and her chicks.. Did you ever get to find out why she is doing this, or how to resolve this??

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