Pullets eating feathers

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rooster-red, Jul 15, 2007.

  1. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Two of my barred rock pullets are picking up feathers in the run and eating them!

    Is this just something they're prone to do, or are they missing something in their diet?

    I feed them laying pellets, scratch feed and BOSS, and treats like grapes, left over biscuits, etc...

    This behavior seems to be limited to just these two, so I kind of doubt its a dietary problem, but why would they do this?[​IMG]
  2. bayouchica

    bayouchica Songster

    Jan 23, 2007
    N.E. Louisiana
    Hi, they could be needing more protein.Try to give some dry catfood.
    Do they have enough space? Sometimes if chickens are crowded they'll pick each other.Or bored?? I don't know exactly how much space is needed, my chickens free range.Maybe someone can let ya know that one.
    I can't think of what else it might could be.
  3. Rooster01

    Rooster01 Songster

    Feb 25, 2007
    Southern WV
    They could need more protein. Try giving them some milk and scrap meat. Catfood also has alot of protein in it and its good for them when their molting. If their bored, get some dried corn cobs and hang them up. They will peck at the corn, but since its hanging, it will be harder to peck and will occupy their time.
  4. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    I've been giving them the dry cat food that my cats leave overnight.

    Believe me, they have plenty of space.

    They aren't picking feathers out of other chickens, or themselves.

    They are picking the feathers up of the ground and eating them.
  5. eggcetra_farms

    eggcetra_farms Songster

    Jun 26, 2007
    San Antonio, TX
    Hey rooster,

    ALL my chickens do this very thing. They are only enclosed at night, free range all day. If they come across any feathers on the ground, they eat them. I've NEVER seen them peck out anyone's feathers though. My chickens have access to their food and water 24/7 and get plenty of snacks during the day (tomatoes, grapes, etc.) so I know they're eating. I've just always thought it was normal because I've seen them all do it. Who knows? I know I'm not worried about it.
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Maybe it's just some vitamin in the feathers they need and we know nothing about. I see my youngsters do it all the time and they are on high protein feed. I doubt in this case, it's a protein deficiency.
  7. Southern28Chick

    Southern28Chick Flew The Coop

    Apr 16, 2007
    I have 23 girls and they ALL do it, except my blind one. I have to think it's normal for all of mine to do it.
  8. Jsto

    Jsto Songster

    Apr 30, 2007
    North Carolina
    I think it's a mix of curiosity and just regular behaviour. Mine don't go like feather crazy, searching for loose feathers or picking each other, just do it randomly if they happen across a feather. It's a little strange to see, but you'd think if it was a protein deficiency, they'd be picking themselves and/or others rather than occassionally picking up a stray and eating it.

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