Why do chickens eat feathers?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dkosh, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. dkosh

    dkosh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a chicken with an impacted crop. I opened the crop up to remove the blockage. She was full of feathers and pebbles. What would posess her to do that?
     
  2. daoustaj

    daoustaj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feathers have protein?
     
  3. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What are they currently eating? eating pebbles seems like they might grit. Are they eating the feathers because they are pulling them out? bullying? mites? or eating them because nutrition is lacking and they are trying to find what they need (protein) ?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  4. dkosh

    dkosh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I guess so but they have plenty of grain, black oil sun flower seeds, oyster shells. It almost seems like a weird habit. I've seen them eating them over the years but this hen had so many feathers in her crop it was plugged up. Chickens are not the smartest creatures. lol
     
  5. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is it feed or just grain? If it is just grain then they are eating feathers because they are lacking protein.
     
  6. dkosh

    dkosh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are given layer pellets that have protein in them.
     
  7. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm. That should be fine then. Perhaps she is just odd? lol. Chickens can be very strange. I hope they don't keep blocking up her crop.
     
  8. dkosh

    dkosh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I lost count after 50 feathers in her crop! It was incredible. I've seen impacted crops before with a feather here and there in the impaction. But I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. She must have a feather fedish.
     
  9. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow!! That is really impressive. So weird. I did my first crop surgery at the beginning of the year and it is crazy how much stuff they can cram in there. It just keep coming and coming - all grass though, no feathers. Were they her own feathers or is she stealing everyones? lol
     
  10. dkosh

    dkosh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She had multiple color feathers. So I think she was steeling them. I have some hens that went into a late molt. She must have eaten most of the dropped feathers. Stupid bird! She is doing fine now. She is on feather free mush for a few days. If she is obsessed with feather eating, it will probably happen again with her. Yuck![​IMG]
     

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