can you feed cat food to chickens?

can you feed cat food to chickens?

while it’s technically possible to give chickens tiny amounts of cat food on occasion as a treat, it shouldn’t be a frequent part of their diet. Because cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need a diet high in animal protein, cat food is specifically designed to meet their nutritional demands. Although they are omnivores and can eat meat, chickens have different nutritional needs than cats.

Regularly feeding hens cat food can cause nutritional imbalances and other health problems. In addition to having higher protein and fat content than chickens require, cat chow sometimes lacks important elements like calcium. Moreover, taurine—an element that is important for cats but not for chickens—is frequently found in cat food.

It’s crucial to feed chickens a balanced diet designed specifically for poultry, which often consists of grains, seeds, vegetables, and certain protein sources like mealworms or insects. It’s okay to give them treats like tiny amounts of cat food once in a while, but it shouldn’t account for a large percentage of their diet. Make sure your hens are always nourished with a balanced diet that meets their needs and has access to clean water.

Can I Feed Cat Food to My Chickens?

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

It can be advantageous to supplement your hens’ diet with high-protein treats during the autumn 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 advice 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 feed chick feed throughout the molting season. Chick 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 hens 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 you feed cat food to chickens?

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 autumn molt.

Healthy Sources of Protein for Molting Chickens


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 Thanksgiving turkey can also be given to your flock.


You can feed your chickens 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, cooked, or fresh—is an excellent source of nutrition. Give them the entire fish, including the bones, intestines, and head.

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


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 not salted, 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.

Recall that treats should make up no more than 10% of your birds’ overall diet. 1 Tablespoon or so per hen.)

can you feed cat food to chickens?

Can Chickens Eat Cat Food? (A High Protein Food)

Sharing your cat’s food with your flock could seem like a smart idea if you’re low on chicken feed and searching for alternatives. However, hens and cats have extremely different nutritional needs.

Can you feed hens cat food? In moderation, chickens can indeed consume cat food. It’s detrimental to chicks in the long run because cats require a lot more protein in their meals. Nonetheless, a quick protein increase can aid in molting and egg production.

How Is Cat Food Different from Chicken Feed

Cats have intricate dietary needs, and both wet and dry food are designed with their needs in mind.
This also holds for chicken feed.

The primary distinction is that, depending on their age and life stage, hens need a diet that contains anywhere from 14% to 20% protein.

On the other hand, cats can need anything from 30% to 45%, depending on their health and age. That’s a significant difference that hens cannot put up with over time.

Sometimes hens need an extra protein supplement. For example, during their molting process or when you’re attempting to encourage or facilitate normal egg-laying.

In these cases, it’s acceptable to supplement your cat’s diet with a small amount of food to increase their protein intake. Giving them cat food in place of their feed is not an option.

Can Chickens Eat Cat Food?

Yes, as I mentioned earlier, hens are capable of consuming modest amounts of cat chow. In certain cases, it might even be advantageous.

Dry cat food often has more fat and protein. Wet food will typically include 10%–15% protein and dry food will often contain 28%–26% protein.

Choose kibble and combine it with their diet if you’re purposefully giving them cat food because of its high protein level.

What Can Chickens Not Eat List:

List of Foods That Chickens Cannot Eat: Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of feeding your chicken cat food. Nonetheless, some things should never be given to hens since they may be dangerous.
The following are some of the most popular foods that are known to be toxic:
Chocolate: Since I love chocolate so much and don’t like to share, I’m good with this one.
More seriously, theobromine and caffeine are two substances found in chocolate that are poisonous to hens.

Coffee Grounds: Before adding my used coffee grounds to my garden’s compost pile, I decided to see whether or not they would hurt my hens or any other creatures that might come into contact with them.
It should come as no surprise that coffee grounds are poisonous to chicks, as coffee also includes theobromine and caffeine.
Avocado Pit and Skin: I believe the majority of backyard flock owners think about sharing fruit and vegetable peels and skins with their flock to avoid wasting them.

Avoid doing this with the avocado’s skin! Persin, a toxin found in the skin, can cause unpleasant health issues in birds.
Foods that have gone bad and begun to grow mold pose a health danger to chickens. These foods are known as moldy foods. Don’t take a chance on expired food or leave their meals out in wet weather.
One of the most poisonous items a chicken is likely to ingest is raw beans. Raw beans contain a toxic molecule called lectin if they are not cooked correctly.

Lectin poisoning can cause anything from death to stomach distress, including vomiting and diarrhea.

can you feed cat food to chickens?

Foods Chickens Can Eat List:

For them to remain in excellent health and continue providing eggs for you, hens need a balanced diet.

Their feed should account for at least 90% of their diet. This gives you some leeway to provide them with additional meals. Here are a few meals that chickens adore:

Grains: Chickens adore grains since they are healthy and provide them with something to nibble on. Thus, rice, quinoa, wheat, and oats.

Cooked Foods: You can share some of your cooked pasta, grains, lentils, meat, etc. with your flock the next time you prepare some.

Herbs: I use and share a lot of the herbs I grow in the garden with my chickens. Choose a herb that has particular health benefits, or simply observe what your flock prefers.

Vegetables: When it comes to nutrients, they are hard to top. The majority of vegetables are safe, but exercise caution while handling nightshade plants. Instead, feed your flock carrots, sweet potatoes, peels, cabbage, etc.

Fruits: The majority of fruits are healthy for hens and are another fantastic source of nutrients. I adore grapes, pineapple, apples, and berries of all types.

Can Chickens Eat Cat Food?

Cats require a lot of animal protein in their diets since they are obligate carnivores. Conversely, chickens are omnivores. Thus, they require the proper balance of plant and animal materials to survive. So, is it possible for hens to consume cat food? Let’s investigate.

Can chickens eat cat food?

Chickens can eat cat food.However the benefits of cat chow consumption for chickens are limited to short bursts of time. The higher protein content in cat chow can be detrimental to hens over time.

You must be asking why and how hens should not consume high amounts of protein over extended periods. We go over all of that and much more in the next sections of this post.

Can Chickens Eat Cat Food?

Cat food can be briefly consumed by chickens. However, giving hens cat food for prolonged periods might be bad for their health.

Depending on their age, productivity level, and the time of year, chickens only require 14–20% protein in their diet. On the other hand, cats require 1.5–2 times the amount of protein than chickens do, depending on their age.

For hens, brief spikes in protein intake from cat food are OK. There are certain times of the year when hens need a lot more protein. It makes sense to give them cat chow, which is quite strong in protein, during these situations.

However, consistently feeding your hens cat food is unhealthy. A chicken’s body has a limited capacity to utilize the protein. Therefore, any surplus is either eliminated or turned into fat.

What Excess Protein Can Do to Chickens

Overweight hens are unhealthy, while moderately obese chickens are acceptable. Apart from that, protein waste might be hazardous. The ammonia stench that proteinous wastes usually emit can harm hens’ health if they are exposed to it for an extended period. Respiratory distress and eye inflammation are a couple of these problems.

Additionally, too much protein might damage a chicken’s kidney and liver.

On the other hand, ingesting higher protein amounts will make you thirstier. There’s a greater likelihood of hens wetting their bedding when they consume more water than usual.

Wet bedding will promote the growth of microbes, which may be harmful to chickens.

Apart from that, when chickens eat more protein than they need, their urine will have a higher nitrogen level. Therefore, there is a greater likelihood of nitrogen compounds scorching the feet if hens urinate on their bedding.

When Cat Food Is Okay for Chickens

In summary, make sure your hens always eat real chicken food and never substitute cat food for it. When your chicken cat is molting or laying eggs, you can feed it. It is advantageous and sensible to provide them with cat food during these periods because their protein needs are increased. When they don’t require additional protein, give them their regular chicken meal.

Can Chickens Eat Wet Cat Food?

Wet cat food can be fed to chickens. However, should wet cat food be fed to hens? Well, that depends.

You can feed wet cat food to chickens when needed because it often contains higher levels of protein and fat than dry cat food.

As we previously discussed, hens require extra protein whether they are molting or laying eggs. Therefore, when fed for a brief length of time in such circumstances, wet cat food can be beneficial.

You run the risk of giving hens too much protein if you feed them wet cat food for extended periods or when they don’t require it.

Be aware that occasionally wet cat food contains less protein than dry cat food. Therefore, constantly check the protein content to make sure you’re not feeding your bird way too much protein.

Can Chickens Eat Dry Cat Food?

Dry cat food can be fed to chickens. But are hens supposed to consume dry cat food?

For laying chickens or molting cats, dry cat chow is fine. But for the reasons we mentioned before, it should never take center stage in their diet.

can you feed cat food to chickens?

What kind of food is best for my hens?

Feeding chicken feed containing grains, seeds, vegetables, and certain protein sources like mealworms or insects will provide your hens with a well-balanced diet. Make sure kids always have access to clean water.

Can you feed hens cat food?

Although tiny amounts of cat food can be given to hens as treats on occasion, it is not advised to include it in their diet regularly. Because cat chow is made for cats, it might not give hens the nutrition they require.

What is the ideal amount of food to feed my hens?

Your hens’ size, breed, and age are just a few of the variables that affect how much food they eat. Adult hens typically consume 1/4 to 1/3 of a pound of feed each day. Adapt the serving size to their condition and level of appetite.

Do hens consume leftovers from tables?

A variety of table scraps, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and even cooked meats, can be fed to hens. But, stay away from giving them anything poisonous to hens, including chocolate, avocado, or rancid food.

Do hens require grit?

Indeed, grit is necessary for chickens to properly digest their diet, particularly if they eat a lot of whole grains or other gritty foods. In order to aid with digestion, grit helps chickens crush their food in their gizzard.


Cat food can be given to hens sometimes as a treat, but it is not advised to include it in their diet regularly. A balanced poultry feed specially prepared to meet the dietary demands of chickens is the best way to meet their requirements. Ensuring their health and well-being can be achieved by providing them with an adequate diet, clean water, a tidy living space, and the right kind of attention. Never be afraid to ask professionals, such as veterinarians or seasoned poultry keepers, for guidance if you have any more queries or worries regarding keeping hens.

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