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Should my chickens be eating feathers?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by AKChickenGal, Jul 30, 2016.

  1. AKChickenGal

    AKChickenGal Out Of The Brooder

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    My hens and roosters are 19 weeks old and I noticed that they eat loose feathers all the time. Is this normal? I think they have a balanced diet: layer pellets, scratch grains, vegetable scraps, and oyster shells on the side. Should I worry or is this a normal chicken thing?
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    It can be a sign of protein deficiency. If you have optional oyster shell then you may wish to consider using grower / general flock feed as its higher in protein.

    Ct
     
  3. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Loose feathers are not a problem. They will often eat them. Some years you can track my grow out tractor's path around the place by the feathers they have shed. Other years the juveniles have eaten them and cleaned them up. They are mostly protein so they can boost the protein in their over all diet. Feathers, ground up, have been used to do just that in commercial feeds. I don't know if any companies are still doing it or not for chicken feed. If they are picking feathers off other chickens is when it becomes a problem. If so, as CTken says a boost in the protein might help.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I was just noticing a bunch of juvenile, and some adult, feathers all over and gathering in the corners of the coop and run....
    ....let's me know that they are getting enough animal protein....or those feathers would be gone.
     
  5. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I see my chickens eat small feathers off the ground occasionally. Not to worry, it's about 90 percent protein, it's good for them. GC.
     
  6. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Gosh, mine clean up downy feather right away, too. I just saw it again today - they had barely touched the ground somebody gobbled them up. The onky feathers I ever find lying around are the long smooth ones. My chicks get grower feed and extra mealworm treats. How much more protein do they need!?
     
  7. GC-Raptor

    GC-Raptor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As long as they have access to fresh feed from sun up to Sun down and the feed is flowing out smoothly, (I had to clean my hanging feeder last week because of powder build-up from 2 or 3 bags of feed restricting the flow) and there is enough feeders for them all to eat at the same time. I wouldn't worry.
    Chickens will eat all kinds of stuff,I've seen a couple of mine eat pine shavings daily. That bothered me so much that I switched to straw,and now they eat straw occasionally. Go figure. GC
     
  8. AKChickenGal

    AKChickenGal Out Of The Brooder

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    There are a bunch of feathers in the coop that they haven't eaten so they must not be too protein deficient. Thank you for the advice everyone!
     

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