Why is my hen eating feathers?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Cariel, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. Cariel

    Cariel New Egg

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    Jun 29, 2011
    I was just wondering if I should be concerned about my chickens eating loose feathers on the ground?
     
  2. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2011
    Upstate New York
    Mine do it too. In fact, they'll fight each other for them. I've read here that it indicates a protein deficiency, but I consulted with an ornithologist who said it was nothing to be concerned about.
     
  3. DancingHen

    DancingHen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 11, 2011
    Central Oregon Coast
    I think sometimes they just poeck at and eat stuff out of curiosity. It is probably nothing. However, if she is eating a lot of feathers she may be trying to get more protein in her diet, as feathers contain a lot of protein. Maybe try offering her some boiled eggs or some cat food for a few days and see if she stops? Otherwise, I am sure she is just being a chicken. [​IMG]
     
  4. CCourson05

    CCourson05 Popping like kettle corn...

    Jan 5, 2011
    Hickory Flat, MS
    They eat feathers because they are laying there. If they pluck the feathers out of another chicken, then that is a deficiency.
     
  5. abejita

    abejita Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You know, I've seen feeding cat food as a recommendation for getting in more protein, so I googled a couple of good brands of cat food to look at the nutritional content. Everyone that I looked at had 11% or less of protein. All chicken feed that I've seen has more protein than that.

    Just an observation.
     
  6. CCourson05

    CCourson05 Popping like kettle corn...

    Jan 5, 2011
    Hickory Flat, MS
    Quote:You know, I've seen feeding cat food as a recommendation for getting in more protein, so I googled a couple of good brands of cat food to look at the nutritional content. Everyone that I looked at had 11% or less of protein. All chicken feed that I've seen has more protein than that.

    Just an observation.

    There is a reason for this... Chicken feed is completely dry. Cat food is generally moist. You have to look at the moisture in the cat food. Say a can of cat food says it is 10% protein with a moisture content of 78%. You subtract: 100-78 (to discover what percent is actual food and not water) Then say .1/.22

    This gives that can of cat food a protein content of 45%.
     
  7. abejita

    abejita Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 3, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    Thanks! Makes much more sense now!
     
  8. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2011
    My theory: it flutters, it moves, and they can catch them. That's why I think my chickens eat feathers. The big girls seem to have grown out of it but the babies are still munching on feathers.
     
  9. mikensara

    mikensara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 16, 2011
    New York
    I have seen mine pick up loose feathers off the ground but not eat them but now i know if i see them eatting feathers they need more protein good to know ty so much [​IMG]
     
  10. Cariel

    Cariel New Egg

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    Jun 29, 2011
    If I could figure out how to post a video I could show you guys. However I know its not from its movement. My hens seek out the feathers, eating them in particular. I know they have had trouble finding the layer pellets ( I have to keep the bowl in my other paddock or else goats and a horse would get into it) but I know they know where it it. I just treated them for lice, I need to treat them one more time. I think they are getting better at the food thing, and that will make a difference. They used to just hang out in my shady lean-to because its too hot out in the sun, and I never saw them eat, but now I see them wandering around more. I need to get a rooster to help them figure things out. This is the first batch to be out in my two paddocks (only about an acre total) without a rooster, and they need some guidance. I'll check tomorrow to see if they are still eating feathers, and I'll put out some oyster shell as well. My Muscovies could use it anyway. Lol they lay better than my barred rocks!
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011

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