pile of feathers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by McGoo, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    This morning I noticed that there was a pile of feathers in the coop. I did not notice anyone looking bare, but I have two suspects from whom they may have come. (They both are supposedly finishing up a molt) One in particular is at the bottom of the pecking order.

    I looked closely at the feathers and noticed a lot of little white flakes. Looked really closely and didn't see anything moving... just looked like dry or peeled feather shafts.

    Is this cause for alarm?

    Is there a list somewhere that tells me what to look for?

    Looking for advice. Thanks

    ps. when cleaning up the coop one of the hens was eating the feathers - is this normal or am I now getting paranoid?
  2. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator

    Sep 25, 2007
    I'm no expert on the molt/white flakes issue, but I can speak to the feather eating. Mine eat each others feathers....not constantly, but every now and then. I've read that this could mean they need more protein; I've offered them dry cat food when I see feather eating, and they turn their beaks up at it. So, I think (for mine) it's just something to do!
  3. hypnofrogstevie

    hypnofrogstevie chick magnet

    Jul 12, 2007
    Newton NJ
    I think something is missing in their diet if they are eating feathers.

    The white stuff could be mites but I really dont know. You say they are not moving.
  4. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Not sure on the white spots but, try some black oil sunflower seeds for them eating feathers. It contains Methione (an amino acid containing sulfur required for feather growth. Black oil sunflower seeds also contain 30% protein. This should help. I mix some in with my scratch so they get it all the time and it stopped the feather eating. [​IMG]
  5. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    They have access to their food and oyster shells at all times, and I give them sunflower chips daily to ensure that they have enough protein, so it might be something else or nothing at all. hmmmmmmmmmm [​IMG]

    If it's mites or lice or whatever, I guess I should look on their bodies? And what are the meds to use to combat it?

    Anyone have any ideas? Or should I just wait and see.
  6. pollysmum

    pollysmum In the Brooder

    Dec 24, 2007
    The white flakey stuff your seeing is the feather shaft, when birds molt they grow new feathers... these pop out covered in this feather shaft.. the bird then peck and it and pulls it apart allowing the feather to emerge

    Nothing to worry about

    All birds eat feathers... especially nice little ones... its a rich source of protein for them
  7. hypnofrogstevie

    hypnofrogstevie chick magnet

    Jul 12, 2007
    Newton NJ
    Quote:Thats the word I was looking for! "feather shaft". I was going to say feather quills lol or feather dandruff!
  8. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    The white flakes stem from molting, no worries.
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I agree with pollysmum; I have some in particular who eat feathers off the ground and only certain hens. They all have the same very high quality feed, 22% layer pellets with animal protein, plus what little scratch they get is an 11-grain 13% protein scratch. Mine are missing nothing, certainly not protein! And yes, the white flakes are "chickie dandruff" from the feather shafts.
  10. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Thanks all for the advice. I'll continue to monitor, but feel a big sigh of relief. Guess I'm just a worry wart - what can I say. [​IMG]

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