Some of my chickens are eating feathers. What does this mean?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by KCA farms, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. KCA farms

    KCA farms Out Of The Brooder

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    I've been noticing that when a rooster mounts a hen (and in the struggle to get on she loses some feathers) , some of the other birds rush in to eat the lost plumage. Even the owner of the feathers will eat them, but the roosters generally don't. Please help.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    What type of feed are you giving them? Eating feathers can be a sign that your birds aren't getting enough protein. Feed for laying hens should have at least 16% protein, and birds sometimes need more protein when they are molting or under stress.
     
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  3. KCA farms

    KCA farms Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you very much! I am giving them 16% laying pellets. Maybe they are molting? I haven't seen many feathers on the ground, though.
    Maybe they are eating them! :)
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    16% is the average minimum needed for layers to maintain production. If your birds are eating feathers, they're telling you they need more protein, probably animal sources. Try whatever protein you've got--meat, eggs, cooked beans, etc for a few days and see if that helps.
     
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  5. KCA farms

    KCA farms Out Of The Brooder

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    I will try that and see if it helps.
     

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