My hens eat insulation. Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CoupDePoop, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. CoupDePoop

    CoupDePoop In the Brooder

    Dec 25, 2010
    Hi all. I sure would like your thoughts on this - just to see if you see any major issue.

    When I built my coop (this past June) I insulated the interior walls with that blue foam type insulation that is easy to handle, cut, and tack up.

    The chickens moved in in August, and I noticed that a couple of the birds were pecking at the foam on the walls - seemed like a nervous habit a few of them undertook around bedtime, but before the whole flock settled in/settled down.

    Then I notice the birds out in the yard one day, gathered around a discarded piece of this insulation - tearing it to shreds like it was some savory delicacy. I took it away from them.

    And now - ALL the chickens are EATING the blue foam walls inside their coop. And at first I thought they were just ripping it up for the entertainment value, but I have seen the birds tearing off big chucks (dime sized) and swallowing them down.

    Now here's the thing. The stuff is pretty much inert. It should pass right through. But I have yet to detect a single speck of "blue" in their poop.

    What say you all to my dilemma? Do I need to rip it all out and take the birds to the vet?
  2. chicnfarmer

    chicnfarmer Songster

    May 21, 2010
    they shouldn't have a problem staying warm this winter.
  3. CoupDePoop

    CoupDePoop In the Brooder

    Dec 25, 2010
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  4. lil'turkeymama

    lil'turkeymama Songster

    May 14, 2010
    Mine will eat any kind of styro foam.I have seen them eat entire coolers.I don't think it is harmful,as I have not lost any birds other than the ones the neighbors dog got.[​IMG]I keep wondering if I'll get some styro foam eggs.LOL:rolleyes:
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Could you put some cheap paneling over the insulation so they can't get to it?
  6. codymax2

    codymax2 Songster

    Jul 7, 2010
    Liverpool, NY
    Mine will eat it too!!! Stupid birds! Or they know something we don't?haha Doesn't seem to bug them though but if they eat ALOT I'm sure it can't be good?! Maybe rip it out and try something new in the spring. My girls have been sleeping outside and I'm in cny! Cold here and they seem fine so they won't freeze.
  7. Tdub4chiks

    Tdub4chiks Songster

    Jul 8, 2010
    Constantia, NY
    Cover it with something so they can't eat anymore. I think even cardboard would work, chicken wire, thin plywood etc.
  8. CoupDePoop

    CoupDePoop In the Brooder

    Dec 25, 2010
    Impossible to cover it. Too much woodwork (roosts and diagonal beams & such) over it. No way to cut to fit & no clearance to slip in a covering.

    At least others have noted similar behavior w/ no obvious harm. Maybe they are just grinding it up and passing it through?

    It's curious tho - why they like it. Must be a texture thing.
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I wouldn't think you'd have to cover it all, I'd just cover around the ground level. I'd be thinking I paid good money for that stuff, they can't just eat it!
  10. woodmort

    woodmort Crowing

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Quote:Yup while I don't think it would necessarily hurt them it may fill their stomachs to the point where they stop eating real food. On the other hand, if you're lucky, maybe they will lay eggs already packaged in styrofoam egg boxes.

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