one chicken pull feathers out of another and eating them???!?!??!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JANAE, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. JANAE

    JANAE Out Of The Brooder

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    ok......thank you BYC for all the help you have given me in the past.......this is such a wonderful forum to be a part of.......

    now for my current issue......I have about 14 hens in the back yard....they are free range and vary in age....I have 2 americauna's 2 plymoth rock....2 black sexlink....one buff orfington.....5 RIR and 2 that I dont know what they are...they were hatched off by my buff orf that went broody earlier this year......

    well here is my question.....one of the balck sexlinks is pulling feathers out of the RIR and eating them?!?!?!??! I have not seen anything here on the forum about that and I am concerned....they have all the food and water they could eat or drink and we have gravity fed feeders taht provide both laying pellets and scratch grains......they are getting some rice and other scraps from the kitchen and they have more then enough room to run around.......

    After I saw this yesterday I ran to the shed and made an additional tray of scratch grains and oyster shell.....is there anything you all can tell me to do also....or why this is happening...? (i am only concerned because it seems so canabalistic first of all...and secondly I noticed that someone ate an egg yesterday which hasnt happened around here for almost a yr)

    any help you all can give me would be great.....
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Too much scratch.
    Scratch is like eating candy and should be no more than 10% of the diet. Some say 2-3%.

    Eating feathers is normally associated with a need for more protein.
    Grower is 18-24% protein, Layer is usually 16 or 17% protein.
    Scratch grains are usually 8-14%.

    I'd cut the scratch completely for a while and mix in some high protein grower or give some yogurt or black oil sunflower seed (both high in protein)

    Feathers and eggs are mostly protein so that points to the same thing. Egg eating has to be stopped immediately.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  3. JANAE

    JANAE Out Of The Brooder

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    ha thats so interesting....thank you!!!
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Sometimes they will do this for no apparent reason -- as an occasional thing. But when you see a pattern, it's usually either too little space or too little protein. I'm afraid you've gotten caught in a fairly common trap. In giving them lots of variety in their diet, it sounds like you have in effect reduced their total protein intake. Often the prime culprit is scratch grains, which are usually (scratch formulas vary) much loser in protein than regular feed; ours is around 8%, with feed at 14% - 16%. The added scratch grains and oyster shell would further reduce protein. And of course the egg adds protein.

    If you have lots of eggs, the simplest solution might be to scramble a bunch and feed them back. Any meat or meat scraps, including chicken, would help. Once in a while I buy a can of canned mackerel and give them that. Chickens are lactose intolerant, and more than a small amount of cat food can be harmful, BTW.
     
  5. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

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    Quote:X-2....... [​IMG]
     
  6. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    Quote:X10 Animals have the inherent ability to know what their bodies/systems lack as far as nutrition, and will then find and eat the needed nutrient. Feeding can be such a simple task, and all to often complicated by folks who decide that the scientific formulas in livestock feed needs to be supplemented with chicken junk food LOL. It's sorta like the person who has a just hatched week old chick and ask can she feed it treats already, you just have to be patient and feed what is best not what we want.
     
  7. JANAE

    JANAE Out Of The Brooder

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    seriously feed them chicken........???? that sounds so very crazy to me.....but if you say it works them I will do it........
     
  8. RoosterRidge

    RoosterRidge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:DH tells me all the time that I am so wrong feeding them chicken but it works.... Actually there is nothing they like better... [​IMG]
     
  9. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    Quote:DH tells me all the time that I am so wrong feeding them chicken but it works.... Actually there is nothing they like better... [​IMG]

    Sure they can and love it too, just another case that just because we as humans don't eat other humans, ( well most of us anyway ), that chickens can't eat chicken, many commercial feeds include animal protien as opposed to plant protein and they do so much better on animal protein.
     
  10. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Just watch what happens when you put the Thanksgiving turkey (or hen) carcass out for them....
     

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