They eat feathers?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by VelvettFog, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. VelvettFog

    VelvettFog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 7, 2011
    Yakima, WA
    I have watched my chickens purposefully eat feathers. Is this anything to be concerned about?


    Dave
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    SW Arkansas
    Only if it becomes a habit and they start plucking feathers off their coop mates to eat. Then it could be pointing to a protein deficiency. If it's just an occasional feather on the ground that they find and eat, I wouldn't worry too much.
     
  3. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    Mine eat the downy feathers they occasionally drop while preening, now. Saw one grab one out of the air once. Cute! They used to eat more of the regular feathers before we started them on different feed. I think the last feed was lacking something. Most likely protein.
     
  4. Taylor

    Taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    my youngster's peck the feathers oot of each-others tails and they are bald back there, i'd say thats it, a protein deficiency! guess i need to up the chick crumbles
     
  5. EmpressNoId

    EmpressNoId Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2011
    I've got one little pullet going on 6 weeks old who is aggressively chasing, pulling feathers from and eating them from the other larger and older hens. Well, older by a week.
    None of the others are doing this and they are being fed a commercial 19% protein chick food product.
    She is the smallest of the flock and by far the most aggressive. Would keeping her separated from the others for a couple of days be appropriate? feeding and watering her by herself? She is not mine. I am chick sitting until my friend gets her coop built. I have her five, all purchased within a week of my 10.
    I've seen them all eat the odd feather on the ground but this one really goes after the others.[​IMG]
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    SW Arkansas
    Quote:A chick seperated would likely drive you batty with its carrying on and peeping. If you must seperate, pick a friend to go with her to save your sanity.

    Is she a he by any chance?
     
  7. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apple Hill
    Feather-picking is a nasty habit generally due to deficiency in protein and/or fiber. Separating the offender is never a good idea. I read on here often about putting one in a "time-out", but that's just plain ridiculous. It only compounds drama to tinker with the flock's social order like that, especially when the culprit - dietary issue - is not addressed.

    You might take a look at using UltraKibble and/or ForageCakes (search here on BYC and see foragecakes.com). Something similar rectified this issue for me, but I can't go recommending my solutions as I am not in the nutrition business and my own R&D is consantly ongoing/evolving. Commercial, vegetarian feeds are woefully inadequate to say the least.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  8. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    Quote:I picked up the forage cakes with the UltraKibble a few days ago at Agway, and they love it. For me it is an easy way to get animal protein into the chickens' diet. The only issue I have with it is it is not an organic product, and since they are on organic feed it may kind of defeat the purpose. I can reconcile the fact somewhat by realizing that the scraps we sometimes feed them are not always organic either.

    Like you said, my R&D is a constantly ongoing/evolving one too. Until totally organic can catch up with delivering full nutrition it just makes sense to supplement with a high quality animal protein product.
     
  9. EmpressNoId

    EmpressNoId Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2011
    I made some seed cakes like I make for the bird feeders. Lard or suet, peanut butter, sesame and rolled oats with high protein cereal mix. I also diced up some hard boiled egg white. The feather picker seemed very interested in the egg whites, none of the others gave it more than a taste. We think this little picker might be a roo. Its an Aracuna (sp?) the smallest chick in the flock and by far the orneriest.[​IMG]
     

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