What are they missing if they eat feathers???

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by dacdeihl, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. dacdeihl

    dacdeihl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What are chickens missing in their diet if they are plucking feathers off and eating them? I have three bully chickens plucking out feathers off of other chickens. I put up outdoor perches today and two hanging seut baskets also. They have pumpkins, scratch, pellets, and plently of water. Their run is plenty large. They have leaves to dig through as well. Their coop is kept warm. They don't sleep next to it though. They are laying ok. No light on a timer so egg production has gone down but that's ok. They also have oyster crumb to peck at.

    What is missing? Should I remove them from the flock? Should I add a rooster? HELP!!!! I ordered peepers but I'm afraid they will kill another one before they come. Any suggestions?
     
  2. noitulover

    noitulover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    exactly how much square footage per bird? if they have layer food, water, grit, oyster shells, and perches, it sounds like they are well cared for. i would have to assume it is the amount of space.

    also, are you positive that the ones fighting aren't roosters?

    i would try giving them less scratch. scratch grains contain less protein than layer pellets or crumbles. the layer feed has the correct amount of protein. if the feather plucking and fighting isn't from boredom or lack of room, it is from a lack of protein. they get protein from eating feathers.

    try taking the scratch away and see if that helps.

    if it doesn't, then i would throw in some table scraps each day or fresh greens to give them something ELSE to peck at rather than each other.
     
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feathers are made from protein, so ....

    You could consider supplementing the protein in their diets.

    But consider the other aspects mentioned, too. How much space do these chickens have (how many chickens in how many square feet)?
     
  4. dacdeihl

    dacdeihl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's what I thought. Protein. I made some seut blocks today with an egg binder. Protein. They have plenty of room. Their coop is 14' x 18' and their run is 50' x 50' and their are only 10 chickens. No they are positively not roosters. Though I have read some cases of hens changing sexs into roosters.

    The next step is taking them out of the run or putting on blinders.

    What about pine cones with peanut butter rolled in seeds. Entertaining yet protein.
     
  5. noitulover

    noitulover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sounds like a good idea! im sure they will be over this in no time!
     
  6. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Why not make life easier and just buy a layer that is better than 16% protien. Trying to add treat to increase protien is not the way to go. Purnina has Flock raiser that is 20% i would add that to your layer instead of what you are planning. Or look in your yellow pages for local feed store and feed mills and call around to see who has what in protien. You will do alot better and so will your flock.
     
  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're right, those dimensions are plenty big for 10 chickens. But what's in that space? Is it simply open, nothing to hide behind or run around? If so, you could consider putting things in there that the bullied chickens could use to hide behind when they're getting picked on. Even a bunch of old boxes might work, or a brush pile, things of that nature.
     
  8. msgenie516

    msgenie516 The Happy Hen

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    Hi,

    I agree with cybercat that you need more protein. I have purchased what they call "Egg Producer" pellets that are a whopping 21% protein. It is the highest percentage I could find, much more than ordinary laying pellets. I understand game bird food is also high in protein. Maybe you could cook some of their eggs and feed them back to them. That should add quite a bit of protein. If you decide to go that route, just don't feed them raw eggs--it may make egg eaters out of them! Good luck! [​IMG] Genie
     
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Some just develop the habit and are missing nothing. I have one hen who insists on plucking and eating the saddle feathers of whatever rooster she is with. She and the rest of the flock have plenty of protein in their diets.
     
  10. rstampa

    rstampa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I agree 100%. Mine don't pluck off feathers from the other birds but they do like to eat a down feather left around now and then. I don't know why but it doesn't seem to harm them. Maybe they just like to tickle their tonsil's. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2009

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