Is it normal for chickens to eat feathers?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nittanyxi, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. nittanyxi

    nittanyxi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have seen some of my chickens eat feathers. is this normal or is something wrong? they are 4 months old.
     
  2. ductmate

    ductmate Out Of The Brooder

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    mine are 14 weeks old and all 5 of them eat the smaller feathers i think its pretty normal
     
  3. Cinderellasnickers08

    Cinderellasnickers08 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mine are 4 months old, they also eat small feathers. I wondered too, but figure it was something
    that would work for them. Like a kid who eats dirt just to bug their parents now & then when they
    are little. The doctors say it's cause they get something out of it, mineral wize.
     
  4. FrizzlesRule

    FrizzlesRule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sometime mine do when they preen. I would rather they didn't eat them but it doesn't seem to hurt them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  5. jetz

    jetz New Egg

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    Mine have been mowing them down like treats!
     
  6. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    If they are pick feathers and eating them, No it's not normal. Your chickens may be lacking enough protein.
     
  7. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feather picking is often caused by over crowding or boredom, but feather eating is usually caused by lack of protien. What are you feeding them, how many birds do you have and how big is their coop and run?
     
  8. nittanyxi

    nittanyxi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't ever see them picking feathers. there is a pecking order but for the most part they really don't pick on each other a lot. no one is visibley missing feathers. I have 17 standard and 4 silkie. 4X8 house that they are in and out of a few at a time during the day. The only time they are all in at the same time is at night and they all roost. the run is 8x10 and 6 feet high with roosting space as well. They all seem to get along and no one seems stressed.
     
  9. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Rule of thumb is 4 square feet of coop space + 10 square feet of run per LF and 1/2 of that for bantams. There's some wiggle room depending on how well your birds stand confinement and whether or not they spend a lot of time freeranging, but even so I'd say you have too many birds for your setup. At four months old yours are just starting to really grow up and I suspect you'll have more problems as they mature and spend more time in the coop as we go into Winter. If you can expand your run and cover at least part of it so that they can use it even in crummy weather it would probably help a lot.
     
  10. austinhart123

    austinhart123 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    lack of protein and overcrowding may be problems in your flock
     

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