Why Do Chickens Eat Their Own Feathers? 6 Clear Reasons

Many people ask the question, why do chickens eat their own feathers? If you want to own chickens, then you must know the complete information about this pet. Many people also own this for business purposes.

Why do chickens eat their own feathers? It can be due to many reasons, like when they try to remove feathers quickly, they may eat their feathers. When there is an attack of parasites like ticks and fleas, then due to allergic reaction, they may pull out their feathers.

In this article, we will discuss why chickens have feathers, how to stop feather eating in chickens, and many other things. Let’s dive into the details of why do chickens eat their own feathers.

Why do chickens eat their own feathers
Why Do Chickens Eat Their Own Feathers At Home?


Why Do Chickens Pull Out Their Own Feathers?

They may pull out their feathers for many reasons, like when they have some parasites on their skin, they may start pulling out their feathers. You will see that your chicken is going to be bald. Stress can be an important reason for this. The Following are the reasons that are important if you want to know why chickens eat their own feathers.



It can be due to parasites like mites and lice. Why do chickens eat their own feathers? When this type of parasite is attached to the skin of birds, it irritates, and it also leads to the feather weakening that may result in feather fall out. That is why it is important to remove the parasites that cause skin irritation.

Chicken pecking her own feathers due to parasites attachment on skin. Feather-eating chickens can be due to parasites.


Aggressive Mating

Why do chickens eat their own feathers? Many people ask the question of why their chicken has bald space, and that is the reason. When there is aggressive mating in them, it may result in the pulling out of feathers and result in bald skin. Male partners can be aggressive during mating while gripping. They may pull out the feathers of the female partner and look bald.


Pecking Order And Bullying

Pecking is seen in many chickens, and it is present naturally in them. Why do chickens eat their own feathers? When they bite each other, it may pull feathers, and they may live in hairless skin. When they attack another partner, then they may pull out the feather.


Seasonal Molting

Molting is a process in which the new one replaces the previous fur, and this happens in many birds that do so because of the upcoming winter seasons. This is a natural adaptation for them. The chicken loses the older feathers and develops new ones.


Why Are My Chickens Eating Their Feathers?

Why do chickens eat their own feathers? Many reasons to eat their own feathers with chicken. Some vets say that they may do this type of behavior to boost protein uptake. They need high protein content in their diet, which is why they do this type of thing.

They cannot synthesize on their own; there are about nine amino acids that make up the protein molecule. They need protein in their diet. That is why the simplest and easiest way to get protein is by eating their own feathers.

Feather contains good protein for chickens. Feathers of chicken contain about seventy percent of the amino acids that are needed. And this feather also contains eighty-five percent crude proteins. It also contains a significant amount of various growth factors, vitamins, and other nutrients. But it doesn’t mean you feed them with a feather.

Many chickens that are fed on organic animal feed may show this behavior because they are used to eating the feathers of the chicken. And then they started pulling out and eating their own feathers.


Why Do Chickens Pull Each Other’s Feathers Out?

There is a natural habit in chicken which is known as pecking. When there is a high level of stress in them, they may start biting or pecking others’ chicken feathers and start hurting others.

Why do chickens eat their own feathers
Why Do Chickens Eat Their Own Feathers And Keep Pecking?


Why Do Chickens Peck Out Their Own Feather?

If the chicken develops the taste of feathers, then they may start eating their feathers. Why do chickens eat their own feathers? You can see this type of behavior when they are in a flock. They may eat the feather to fulfill the requirements of chicken. Several other reasons can be there, like when they have parasites attack and stress, which may lead to the pecking in birds.

They are not good fussy eaters, and they need a variety of things to eat. That is why they get many nutrients from these things and grow rapidly. It would be best to give them feed full of the minerals and nutrients because it is needed. Poultry feed is very effective in this regard. And this is also a staple diet for chicken. The poultry feed is made up of organic things, and it will increase the growth rate of chicken.


Is It Normal For Chickens To Eat Feathers?

No, it is not normal for chickens to eat feathers. Chickens eating feathers off the ground can be when they like the taste of feathers. It can be seen in only those birds that like the taste of the feathers of the chicken. The normal or healthy chicken doesn’t want to eat feathers at all.

In some feed, there are feathers of other birds. That is why some chickens like to eat because of the familiar taste familiarity. If chickens eat or pull out their own feathers, then you may diagnose the cause of pulling or eating feathers.


Why Do Chickens Eat Feathers?

Feather pecking and cannibalism can be seen in many chickens. In this condition, they may pull or eat their own feathers. It is important to know the causes behind the eating of the feathers of chicken on their own. Once you know the cause behind this, then you can stop them.



Why do chickens eat their own feathers? Too much hot temperature is not good for them. They feel uncomfortable, and this can result in pecking. You should know the ideal temperature for them. Many researchers say the optimum temperature for chicken is 70 F. You can set the temperature according to the outside weather conditions.

In the case of a baby or younger chickens, they need about 95 F temperatures. This is the temperature in case the chicken is only one week of age. Once the age is two weeks, then you can reduce the temperature to five degrees. Keep lowering this with the increase in age until it reaches the recommended temperature.



When there is a very high quantity of chicken in a small place, it results in overcrowding. Why do chickens eat their own feathers? They need space to move freely. That is why it is important to give them spacious space for proper movement. When there is overcrowding, then it increases competition. Dominant birds eat the feed, and then others will be scared and malnourished.


Excessive Light

When there is excessive light, it results in birds’ pecking, especially in the chickens. You need to provide them with sixteen hours of light in one day. When there is excess light, they may get stressed, leading to the eating of their own feathers or the feathers of other chickens. You can use the 40W bulb to provide the light.


Mixed Flocks

If you keep different ages, sizes, and breeds of chicken in the flock, there is a high chance of pecking. They may start dominating each other, and that leads to the pulling out feathers by other chickens. It is best to keep only those that have the same age and same breed nature. In this way, you can minimize this issue.


Dead And Injured Birds In Flock

They are very attractive to blood, so if there is any pecking or injury, they may respond to these and eat them. After eating chicken feathers or flesh, they develop the taste of these things. When they want to eat, it is the easiest way to eat their own feathers or attack other chickens then pull their feathers out.


Inadequate Housing

Why do chickens eat their own feathers? When there is no proper house or habitat for chicken, it may result in stress, leading to the eating of pulling feathers due to stress. It would help keep the nest dark because female partners feel safe to lay eggs compared to the egg in bright light.


How Do You Stop Chickens From Eating Feathers?

It is important to know how you can stop your chicken from eating feathers. Once you know the cause of eating feathers, then you can make them stop doing this thing. One of the best things is giving your favorite food in excess quantity is the best solution to minimize this issue. Following are the points that are important to know if you stop them from eating feathers.


Dietary Intervention

Protein for chickens to eat is important. One of the best solutions is that you should check and review that diet of chicken and check whether the diet has protein content. Many cases are there in which there is no proper protein in chicken food, which is why they may start eating their own feathers.

So keep in mind that the diet has protein content, you can buy the feed from a local market store. Before introducing any new diet to them, you should seek your vet to know whether it is good for them or not. Below are the important foods that have full of the protein content

  • Oats
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sprouted lentils
  • Mealworms
  • Fish


Overcoming Parasite

One of the most common causes of pulling feathers by chickens is parasites. When parasites attach to the skin of birds, then it irritates. It is best to consult with your vet. He will tell you how you can get rid of these parasites. You should not give medication without vet consultation.


Seek Vet

You can consult with your vet because he is an expert in diagnosing the cause behind the eating and pecking of feathers. He will tell you the cause and then tell you the treatment accordingly. If it is due to the stress, they will tell you how you can remove the stress from them.


Other Useful Strategies

Many things are also there that are good to stop them from eating feathers.

  • You can use a red bulb instead of an incandescent light bulb and white fluorescent. You should not provide lighting because this is important for laying eggs
  • It would be best if you allowed them to wander freely
  • You can use peppers and blinders for aggressive birds
  • Trimming of the beak is also good to solve this issue
  • Lowering the temperature of the coop is also helpful
  • Shiny items are attractive to them. You can detract the mind of a chicken
Why do chickens eat their own feathers
Why Do Chickens Eat Their Own Feathers In The Yard?


Final Verdict – Why Do Chickens Eat Their Own Feathers

Why do chickens eat their own feathers? Many reasons behind chicken-eating their own feathers include overheating, overcrowding, parasites, congested environment, seasonal molting, etc. you should diagnose the cause and then give treatment accordingly.

As a pet lover, make sure to learn about pet more and give your pet chicken a good and comfortable life!

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The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, food recommendation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or for pet food related questions.

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