Is feather-eating ever ok? Like a mutual grooming thing?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AussieChook, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. AussieChook

    AussieChook Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2011
    Is feather eating ever just a normal part of bonding/grooming among hens? My dominant chook, Leslie, seems to be plucking feathers off another chook's head (there are three chooks in all) The chook who's getting plucked, Roxie, just seems to put up with it. Other times, when Leslie pecks Roxie, it's definitely a 'get out of my way' thing and Roxie sqwarks and gets out of the way. To be fair, Roxie's a Polish with lot's of feathers in her eyes, and seems to have a poor handle on personal space so she's often getting in Leslie's way. so, when Leslie does it, and there's no reaction, does it mean Roxie's ok with it. I've seen it happening while they are dust bathing, so I though it was a communal preening bonding thing (like getting massages and facials together!). Any ideas?
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The reasons for feather plucking/eating given on BYC as a standard are protein deficiency, need for more space, and boredom. In any thread I've read where this is occurring, one or more of these appears to be present. It seems to me that if it were normal grooming, there would be numerous reports or claims that this is the case, and I've never read of it being claimed that it is part of grooming. In 3 years I have never seen mine do it. Admittedly, though, I've never had any Polish.
  3. BWKatz

    BWKatz Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2010
    One of my Polish likes to cuddle up with my Leghorn in a dustbath in the sun and they do mutual grooming.This didn't start til the weather cooled down so it may have started to keep each other warm too.Each of my Polish has a big buddy to roost with at night too.

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