Why,,, eating feathers

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by florida lee, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. florida lee

    florida lee Songster

    Apr 6, 2011
    My favorite chick (13 wks) is eating feathers. Not the big ones, but small fluffy 1" long ones. Why is she doing this? Is there something lacking in her food. She is the only one ( out of 8) that I've seen doing this. She is also the only one with an enlarged crop. its not hard, but squishy.. about the size of a golf ball. I have tried veggie oil (her only) and apple vinegar w/mother in their water.
    She seems ok, eats, drinks, runs around and likes to be held. All chicks have been raised so far on Purina Start and Grow and I plan on keeping on this until the first egg and then switching to a layer feed.
    The feathers in her crop may be the reason for the enlargement. It is the same in the morning as it is the night before.
    Tonight I gave them speggetti, one at a time, each came over for their treat, but she had one and went back to her feathers....don't know how many she eats in a day.

    Anyone else have chicks that eat feathers?
    She is an Easter Egger.
  2. Grand-hen-ma

    Grand-hen-ma Songster

    Apr 25, 2010
    Hudson Florida
    I have an EE that has done this. But I saw her doing this a couple times. At first I thought it was a moth then I saw it was a feather. I'll keep checking to see what others have to say about this. Thanks for posting.
  3. tysonandperdue

    tysonandperdue In the Brooder

    Mar 25, 2007
    New Jersey
    I've had chickens for years and yes some of my chickens eat their feathers too from time to time. I've seen my chicks eat their feathers as well. As far as the enlarged crop on your chicks. I wouldn't worry about her crop being the size of a golf ball. As long as she is acting normal and running around and her crop is soft, she is most likely fine. She's just a good eater.
  4. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Songster

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    I've read that there is protein in feathers. I've read that they do it out of boredom. I find it puzzling as well, especially when they don't all do it. Mine are over a year old. They (or one of them) has plucked all the feathers out of my Barred Rock's neck. I put stuff on her, it wears off, they do it some more. I don't even catch them at it anymore. Who knows.
    Anyway...with regard to your chick's enlarged crop and the feather eating, you may want to make sure they have some grit to "chew" up those feathers (if you haven't already).
  5. Buff-Island-Australorp

    Buff-Island-Australorp Songster

    Apr 1, 2011
    Bixby, OK
    I have some that eat "fluff feathers". I think they do it because they float through the air, resembling some sort of flying moth or butterfly. I've never seen them pick them up off the ground....only when they are floating.

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