why do chickens like to eat feathers?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Aug 30, 2009
Pine Ridge
:/Just wonderin why some of my chickens have the tendency to eat feathers, wether they are feathers that are already on the ground or some even will feather peck others chickens..they show no signs of cannibilism other than the fact a few eat feathers..its really been aggravating me..anybody got any ideas.
:)Thanks for the fast reply..I feed them lay pellets, scratch...mixed. What else should I feed them...Oh and sometimes rice as a treat..as I have read on here that they like...They do not free range.
You might switch from pellets to crumbles. According to Gail Damerow in Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens Chickens eat the pellets too fast and then are left with nothing to do but get in trouble. I also give mine a little alfalfa hay each day. They spend hours pecking through it and eating the leaves.
To get extra protein you need to feed high protein foods such as scrambled cooked eggs, washed cottage cheese, meal worms, sunflower seeds, small amount of cat food or shredded cheese (be careful due to the salt content). You could also switch them to a starter or game bird feed, but be sure they have plenty of oyster shell for calcium, as well as grit. If they are pecking each other there may also be some overcrowding or boredom. If that is the case, you could do a search for "chicken toys" or "bored chickens". Do they get to free-range at all? Also, we're assuming these chickens are not new to each other--been together for longer than a month.
thanks for all the great info...most have been together since they were chicks..the others are some that I got from sumone that was overrrun with chickens and was wantin to thin there flock..they were already layin whch was a plus for me..
also I heard they waste more crumble than pellets..but it will be worth a try..I Will get some next time I go back to feed store to buy more feed...as far as overcrowding...they are in a 40 x40 pen...28 birds total..is that enuff room? Me and hubby are learnin as we go...only been raisin chickens since March.
Oh edited to add that No they do not free range..thanks
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