What exactly are they doing when they preen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Lunachick, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. Lunachick

    Lunachick Chicken Slave

    Mar 19, 2007
    Brick, NJ
    Are they nibbling sand out of their feathers? Or little bugs? Or cleaning their feathers/shafts? What goes on when they're doing that?

    I have two birds that were debeaked, (not by me [​IMG]) and two more that have their natural beaks, but they all preen the same way. Just wondering...
     
  2. Nemo

    Nemo Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. hcammack

    hcammack Overrun With Chickens

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    most birds preen to re zip their feathers if you have ever looked closly feathers had indvidual parts that zip together. Also before and after rain there is extra preening to get oil into there feathers to water proof more. also they remove dead feathers and the casing of pin feathers. Preening is really important for the health of the feathers.

    Henry
     
  4. Lunachick

    Lunachick Chicken Slave

    Mar 19, 2007
    Brick, NJ
    Wow, thank you Nemo and Henry!! That answered my questions!! Thanks so much - great info on that site. I love to watch them preen. [​IMG]
     
  5. turtleblossom

    turtleblossom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good question Lunachick! I have a little cross beaked Ameraucana bantie roo, and I was wondering if there is something I can do about his ragged feathers. His beak is so crossed that the upper and lower parts are aligned very little. While I am able to give him a deep feeder so he can eat, I worry that he is unable to preen effectively. Can thi effect his quality of life? Should I baith him? Will one of my hens take pity on him and groom him?
     
  6. Pullet Pimp

    Pullet Pimp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:That is a very good question I had never thought of. I have one with a really crooked beak also that is otherwise healthy, but being unable to preen hadn't occurred to me. She looks like the others her same age, so I am guessing she has help from the others. I have seen other birds preen each other. I'll be anxious to see what the replies are.
     
  7. turtleblossom

    turtleblossom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Come on people! I'm dying to know!
     
  8. Pullet Pimp

    Pullet Pimp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I have been watching my hen with the crooked beak (named her Derr because when she looks at you that is the expression on her face) and she seems to preen herself pretty well. She kind of scrapes her feathers with her bottom beak much like a cat licking themselves. She is not looking ragged at all and looks much the same as the others. She eats and drinks just fine and is far from the smallest of the 24 her same age. I think she thrives quite well despite her physical challenge. Now, I just hope she doesn't lay crooked eggs when the time comes [​IMG].
     
  9. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2007
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    Great info, everyone!

    My little roo starts preening as soon as I pick him up. He seems to "wait" for me to pick him up to start preening. Because he's so close, I can watch what he's doing when he preens, and basically, little bits of feather shaft and dead-skin-looking things fall down while he preens. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2008

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