Can I Feed My Chickens Cat Food

Can I Feed My Chickens Cat Food?

Greetings from the responsible chicken-owning world! For your chickens to be healthy overall, you must make sure their feed is nutritionally balanced. We’ll talk about a typical question in this article: “Can I feed my chickens cat food?” To provide you with the knowledge you need to make wise decisions for your feathery companions, let’s get into the specifics.

Poultry aficionados are often curious as to whether cat food is a good choice for their hens. We’ll discuss the advantages and possible drawbacks of feeding cat chow to your chicken in this section.

Nutritional Requirements of Chickens

Before contemplating substitute food sources, it is vital to comprehend the distinct dietary requirements of hens. Let’s dissect the essential nutrients that support your flock’s vitality and overall wellness.

Impact of Chickens Cat Food on Health

Cat food may seem like a practical choice, but you should consider how it can affect your chicken’s health. Learn about the effects—both good and bad—to help you make wise choices.

Best Practices for Chickens Cat Food Feeding

It takes more than just picking the correct food to give your hens a healthy diet. Find out about the finest practices that support your feathery friends’ general well-being and health.

Alternatives to Chickens Cat Food

Look into safe and wholesome cat food substitutes to make sure your hens are fed a varied and wholesome diet. Find options that meet their nutritional needs.

Signs of Poor Nutrition in Chickens

Early detection of malnutrition is essential for proactive management of chickens. This section offers advice on spotting warning signs and acting quickly to address them.

Can I Feed Cat Food to My Chickens?

Can I Feed My Chickens Cat Food?

While giving your hens a small amount of protein can be beneficial, avoid giving them chicken cat food that has been canned.

It can be advantageous to supplement your hens’ diet with high-protein treats during the fall molting season. Given that protein makes up the majority of feathers, the additional boost may facilitate a more seamless molt.

Can I Feed Cat Food to My Chickens?

Generally, when hens are out and about in the yard, they will discover bugs, worms, snails, grasshoppers, snakes, lizards, and frogs to eat, adding to their diet to meet their protein needs. For chickens, weeds and grasses are excellent sources of protein.

They benefit greatly from the additional protein as they grow into their new feathers.

What Should I Feed My Chickens While They’re Molting?

You may be wondering if there’s anything extra you should be doing for your flock during the molting season. Anything unique that you ought to feed them. And the choice is all yours.

Although some advise switching to a higher protein growth feed or even a game bird feed during the molting season, I maintain my chickens on layer feed all year round. However, I frequently have spring chicks that are just starting to lay, so I want to make sure they are receiving the right nourishment to produce eggs.

But if you don’t have any youngish chickens, you can provide chick feed throughout the molting season. Chicken cat food feed is stronger in protein than chicken layer feed and is typically given to baby chicks during their first eight weeks of life.

Offering your molting hens a partial bag of leftover chick or grower feed from your young chicks in addition to their regular meal is an excellent method to get rid of it, though I wouldn’t entirely replace it with the feed for adult hens.

A little starter or grower feed is sufficient; since chickens don’t lay eggs until they’re fully molting, they don’t require the extra calcium that layer feed supplies at this time of year.

Can I Feed Cat Food to My Chickens?

People frequently ask me if I advise giving molting chickens cat food, either dry or canned, since it contains a lot of protein.

I don’t advise taking that action. Cats are the intended users of cat food, not chickens. It’s strengthened with items that your hens may not require.

If your hens need fish for protein, you’ll be far better off simply purchasing canned sardines, mackerel, or other fish. It will probably also be less expensive!

Many vegetables that are rich in protein can also be provided as treats throughout the year, but they are particularly helpful during the fall molt.

Healthy Sources of Protein for Molting Chickens

Can I Feed My Chickens Cat Food?


Chickens adore cooked eggs, which are also incredibly high in protein. You can also give your hens raw eggs, but there’s a chance that this could encourage ‘unauthorized’ egg consumption, so just be cautious, hard boil or scramble the eggs.

Not to worry, though, feeding your hens will not cause them to begin eating the eggs after they lay them.


Turkey or cooked chicken—yes, chicken—is an excellent source of protein. Give your birds the entire carcass to nibble on.

As opposed to dogs or cats, there is no risk of them choking on broken bones. The small package of organ meats that is included with your Holiday turkey can also be given to your flock.


You can feed your chickens cat food bones and leftovers from beef, lamb, or pork in addition to if you have it, organ meats. You can cook or eat raw meat. Ultimately, your hens may consume tiny birds and mice that they manage to catch.

Once they have gutted a deer or other wildlife, I am aware that many hunters will offer the “trimmings” to their flock.

Additionally, your hens will like you if you fish! For molting chickens, fish of all kinds—whether canned, boiled, or fresh—is an excellent source of protein. Give them the entire fish, including the bones, intestines, and head.

You can feed your hens raw or cooked shrimp shells, lobster shells and innards, raw or cooked lobster meat, and more.


Dried mealworms, sometimes known as grubs, are highly nutritious protein sources that hens adore! If you have the desire, you can even cultivate (raise?) your very own live mealworms.

Nuts and Seeds

One excellent source of protein is seeds. Sunflower seeds, whether shelled or unshelled, and pumpkin seeds, both fresh and dried, are excellent options.

Chopped nuts such as peanuts, almonds, and walnuts can be served as a treat. Make sure they are unsalted, please.


Another beloved delicacy that’s high in protein is sprouted beans and lentils. Lentils, peas, and mung beans are all excellent options. It’s simple to grow sprouts and a great method to get extra protein.

That’s it, then. Some protein-rich foods your molting hens can eat. Therefore, don’t panic the next fall when you notice that your cat has feathers everywhere, and resist the urge to buy a case of canned cat food. Simply get to work incorporating additional, healthier protein sources into your hens’ diet.

can chickens eat cat food?

Have you been considering giving your hens some chickens cat food chow recently? It has a high protein content. And you presumably believe that the high protein content will be of great use to your birds. Can hens consume cat food then? They certainly can!

In addition to the regular chicken feed, your birds will benefit greatly from having cat chow added to their main diet! especially while they are attempting to survive the winter, molting, or laying eggs.

However, you don’t want to give your hens a regular diet of this kind. For this reason, giving your bird’s cat food on occasion is acceptable and even advantageous.

If you do that regularly, your birds may experience problems.

What nutrients do chickens require for healthy growth?

Can I Feed My Chickens Cat Food?

Chickens need specific amounts of essential nutrients, just like any other animal, to grow into the kind of animal you desire.

These consist of vitamins, minerals like calcium, cobalt, sodium, zinc, and potassium, and carbohydrates, amino acids, and fatty acids.

Of course, each bird may have different needs when it comes to these nutrients. Therefore, feeds for grower birds or broilers may differ from those for layers.

can chickens benefit nutritionally from Chickens cat food?

Whatever form it takes, cat chow is designed to particularly satisfy the dietary requirements of your cat(s), not your hens.

Therefore, when consumed frequently and in high quantities, it might contain amounts of nutrients that aren’t healthy for your hens.

However, when consumed in excess by your birds, these vital nutrients can provide incredible outcomes.


Protein is an essential part of a chicken’s diet. This vitamin is necessary for the proper development and growth of muscles and tissues.

Typically, the protein content of chicken feed ranges from 16 to 20%. It could be a little high or low, depending on the kind of bird for which they were designed.

Therefore, a layer should have 16% of its protein from food, broiler finishers might be fed 15%, and a pullet starter could need up to 22% of its protein.

It is not always necessary to add more protein to your birds’ diet. But, it is probably going to be advantageous during molts.

Ultimately, feathers are primarily composed of protein. Giving your birds cat food during their molting season will facilitate the process.

Calcium and phosphorus

Phosphorous and calcium are two nutrients that growing birds need for the development of a strong skeleton.

More significantly, these minerals are necessary for layers to produce hard-shelled eggs.

Growth may be slowed by the lack of other minerals, such as cobalt. A deficiency of zinc could lead to the formation of short bones. If your chickens aren’t fed an iodine-rich diet, goiter may also ensue.

If your hens eat cat food, which contains these essential minerals, they will benefit.

Fatty acids

These fatty acids are crucial for the overall metabolism of chickens, which enhances immunological response, promotes fertility, and enhances growth performance.

Additionally, these fatty acids generally help to raise the quality of your birds’ meat and eggs.


Your chickens can benefit from fat-soluble vitamins found in cat food, such as A, D, E, and K.

For example, vitamin A increases egg production; if it is deficient, your birds may become weaker. Your birds’ growth will be halted if they don’t get enough vitamin D.

The expansion of hocks may result from a lack of vitamin E.

Vitamins that dissolve in water, such as niacin, are crucial for proper leg development. A biotin deficiency can result in dermatitis around the eyes and beak, and folic acid is essential for healthy feathering.

can chickens eat cat food? When does it become harmful?

Giving cat chow to hens can have a lot of positive effects. Furthermore, because they are omnivores and can eat almost anything, hens might develop a strong preference for cat food.

However, at what point does giving cat food to hens become unhealthy? Just like everything else, when done excessively.

Because cats need a lot more protein than dogs do, cat food has a high protein content.

For adult cats to be properly maintained, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) advises that cat food include a minimum of 26% crude protein, on a dry matter basis. Fats shouldn’t comprise less than 9% of a cat’s diet, nevertheless, at the same time.

The takeaway from this is that even while cat food might be good for your birds, giving them too much of it too frequently might not be in their best interests.

Your birds already get all the nutrition they need from their normal diet. Additionally, if they forage, they can add insects, worms, lizards, seeds, and other foods to augment their diet. Therefore, if you’re considering making cat food a regular meal for them, it might be overkill.

Even though extra protein is beneficial during molts, cats may become overly sensitive to it in cat food, particularly if they are already receiving it from their primary diet. If your birds consume more protein than they need, it might have disastrous consequences. And you don’t want that to take place.

What kind of cat food should I feed my chicken?

Because they are omnivores, chickens can eat almost anything, in any shape. They can consume raw meat, fish, fruits, snails, insects, and more.

Cat food is usually available in two varieties: moist, like pieces with sauce, or dry, like kibble.

These two main types of cat food might range significantly in terms of their nutrient profile in addition to their variances in texture, taste, and flavor.

Protein content in wet cat food is typically between 10% and 15%, and protein content in dry cat fat can reach up to 28%.

You can feed your birds any type of cat food that you like. Because dry cat food is more affordable, lasts longer, and has more protein, some owners prefer it.

Some believe that wet cat food’s moisture content will make them more hydrated than dry cat food ever could. Once more, it’s a decision.

Your hens may end up liking one, both, or none of them. More significant is the amount of cat food you give them in servings.

For example, given the protein level of dry cat food, it will be best to provide your hens with fewer servings compared to wet cat food.

Through what means should I feed my chickens and cat food?

You may use cat food to feed your hens straight.

You can combine dry cat food, in particular, with the birds’ primary diet. The pellets have to be sufficiently small for your birds to handle. However, you might want to cut them up into smaller pieces before mixing them with chicken feed if they’re unusually large.

You can also mix it into a powder to feed your chickens.

How much cat food should I feed my chickens?

Your hens’ main source of nutrition should continue to be chicken feed rather than cat food. Cat food should thus only be used as a treat.

In the chicken community, it’s generally accepted that well-balanced chicken feed should account for 90% of a chicken’s diet. Treats, leftover table scraps, and scratch grains can be added to the remaining 10%.

Cat food is included in this group. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t feed your hens more than two teaspoons of cat food each day.

How often should I give my chickens cat food?

Cat food should be fed sparingly or in moderation, much like other treats. Naturally, feeding your hens cat food daily could make sense if you’re following the 90/10 rule mentioned above.

There’s little danger that your hens will be overfed with too much protein if you’re not going over 10%.

Nonetheless, when your hens are molting is the ideal time to feed them cat food. About 80–85% of the protein in feathers is protein.

They will therefore require more protein during this time to aid in the regrowth of new feathers. Additionally, by feeding your bird’s cat food high in protein, you can streamline the process for them.

As it would just serve as an addition to their primary diet, you shouldn’t feed them with a daily consumption of cat chow exceeding four teaspoons.

Final thoughts

Our fondness for hens stems from their ease of feeding and caring for them. It’s game time if it’s tasty and they enjoy it! You get chicken with it.

But just because they can consume anything doesn’t mean it’s safe for them. Can birds therefore eat cat food? Of course! However, you don’t want it to take the place of their primary diet.

They will likely fall in love with it and then beg you for it. Giving them too much too soon is not what you want to do, though. Cat food’s high protein content could be harmful to them.

Observe the 90/10 rule. And during their molting period, you might step it up a notch. If you’re unsure about feeding your dog healthy substitute treats Find out here about your chickens.

Can I Feed My Chickens Cat Food?


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Helpful hints and recommendations for making sure your hens eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.


Make dietary decisions for your feathery companions with knowledge and concern for their health. You may take charge of your responsibilities as a good chicken owner by learning the subtleties of chicken nutrition.

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