Why would a hen eat the feathers that fell from an attacked hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Phyll'sFarmFamily, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. Phyll'sFarmFamily

    Phyll'sFarmFamily Chillin' With My Peeps

    48
    1
    89
    May 20, 2007
    Old Church, Virginia
    I have a hen that was attacked by a dog today (she is okay) As I was checking her over another hen started to eat the feathers that had fallen. Why would she do that?
     
  2. shaggy

    shaggy Chillin' With My Peeps

    594
    2
    141
    May 11, 2009
    Orange, Texas
    Phyll'sFarmFamily :

    I have a hen that was attacked by a dog today (she is okay) As I was checking her over another hen started to eat the feathers that had fallen. Why would she do that?

    protein​
     
  3. Phyll'sFarmFamily

    Phyll'sFarmFamily Chillin' With My Peeps

    48
    1
    89
    May 20, 2007
    Old Church, Virginia
    As I was looking my girl (Faith) over some of her feathers came off. Hope, the hen that she spends most of her time with that came over and ate 3 feathers. There were plenty of other feathers around but she just ate the ones that had just fallen off Faith. I have never seen her do this before and was wondering if it had anything to do with the dog attack
     
  4. asaxton

    asaxton Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    22
    Jun 1, 2009
    If they are eating the feathers, chances are fairly high that they need more protein. You can get a small tin and fill it will crushed oyster shells. They will eat this for the additional protein. Other options, boiled eggs. I shell them and cut them up before I throw them in. They could need the protein simply because they are laying. Check the normal feed that you are using and be sure that it is a higher protein content. Most feed stores have something labeled as Layer, which is normally 16% or higher protein.
     
  5. Phyll'sFarmFamily

    Phyll'sFarmFamily Chillin' With My Peeps

    48
    1
    89
    May 20, 2007
    Old Church, Virginia
    They are all getting Layer feed (Purina Organic Layer). I have a bowl of ground oyster shell and I scatter it throughout their yard.
    Maybe I am making more out of it because I've never seen them do something like this and it happened right after the attack. I thought that maybe it had something to do with safety or something.
     
  6. IAK

    IAK Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    Sep 19, 2009
    Quote:Dude...... You must be providing oyster shells as well as the oyster inside if you think it is supplementing them with protein.


    Phyll, I would probably just buy feed with higher protein and provide oyster shell in a bowl. No need to throw around oyster shell on the ground and waste it. I just started using Flockraiser (was previously feeding Layena).
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  7. kristen2678

    kristen2678 Chillin' With My Peeps

    383
    0
    129
    Apr 26, 2009
    North Berwick Maine
    Oyster shells are for calcium, not protein. Black Oil Sunflower Seeds are an easy way to add protein. Hardboiled egg, yogurt, or just changing feed.
     
  8. flakey chick

    flakey chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2007
    Florida
    Sounds like a little more protein wouldn't hurt, but it doesn't sound like they are desperate for it. The moving falling feather probably caught your hen's interest, so she sampled it. If they were truly hurting for protein, they would be scarfing down every stray feather, maybe even plucking each other. Also size can be a factor. I've never seen a chicken eat a flight feather.
     
  9. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yep, try adding to their protein, though sometimes it's just a thing that they do. This time of year, I usually have some molting, and they all seem to be getting ready for winter, so I usually get a bag of flock raiser to up their protein. They don't need it all winter, just for getting ready for it is what I think. I also give them some BOS (Black Oil Sunflower seeds as a treat. Lots of people have other ideas about salmon and fish for treats, but while it's good for them, it's mighty expensive and the strongest ones always get the most of things like that, and the ones that need it the most get little, so it seems better to just up the protein in their main feed for a month or so.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by