A question often posed is whether chickens are omnivores or not? In fact, a lot of people often ask whether chickens can be herbivores or carnivores too.
Well, we have all the answers right here on this page!
Are Chickens Omnivores?
Yes, chickens are omnivores. This means that they can eat both plants and animals. In fact, they will regularly do this.
One of the great things about chickens is that they tend not to be too picky about what they are eating.
This is why so many people find that they are easy to raise when they have backyard chickens. If you give a chicken something in small enough chunks, then 9/10 they are going to be eating it.
Chickens should not be raised purely on a vegetarian diet. Some people will do this, but it is very difficult to do. If you are raising chickens on a purely vegetarian diet, then you are going to be struggling to get enough calcium and protein into their diet.
This is something which is going to be incredibly important if you want your chickens to produce eggs, or at least become meat later on.
Of course, the bulk of a chicken’s diet is probably going to swing towards plant matter. This means fruit and vegetables. It is how they are going to be getting the vast majority of the nutrients that they need.
However, this is something that is going to be applying to humans too, so chickens are not particularly unique in this regard. When a chicken eats meat (and they will eat all kinds of meat), it is more to get a touch of protein into their diet as opposed to giving them any sort of long-term nutrition.
Are Chickens Herbivores? – They Do Not Have Teeth
No, chickens are not herbivores even though a lot of people will say that chickens are herbivores simply because they do not have teeth. Obviously, it is true that they do not have teeth, but they can still eat meat. Which means chickens are omnivores!
You see; chickens can’t chew their food at all. They may be able to peck it down into smaller pieces, but this is about as far as things can go on that front.
When a chicken eats food (meat or otherwise), it is going to be taken in through their mouth and go into a place known as the gizzard. It is here, the food will be ground up.
The food will often be ground up by oyster shells (or other forms of grit) that the chicken will have swallowed. This will enable the chicken to digest their food easily. Chickens will be able to digest all types of meat because of this.
The gizzard is quite efficient at grinding up the food. However, it is imperative that you give the chicken food in small chunks to make it easier for them.
Are Chickens Carnivores? – They Eat Meat
No, chickens are not carnivores even though a lot of people think they are, simply because they eat meat. A carnivore is a meat eater, right? But a carnivore’s diet is consist mainly of meat.
Yes, chickens eat meat and raw meat, however as said earlier they have ability to eat and survive on both plant and meat. Which again, means chickens are omnivores!
So, this is something that we can’t stress enough. Chickens are not herbivores. They are not carnivores. They are omnivores .
Chickens are Omnivores – What Should You Be Feeding Them?
Honestly, chickens can eat just about anything. They will even eat chicken if you gave it to them. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should give them everything.
Chickens can’t be found in the wild. Related birds can, but not chickens. They have been bred especially for the purpose of being farmed. This means that there isn’t a ‘wild’ diet that they have. They have been bred to get most of their nutrition from chicken feed. This will ensure that they get the vast majority of the nutrients that they need in order to thrive.
You can also play into the chicken’s omnivore tendencies and give them some meat on occasion. However, for the most part, we wouldn’t recommend that you give them much else other than mealworms.
Yes. Chickens are omnivores, but this doesn’t mean that they need to eat a whopping amount of meat. They only have small stomachs, and if you give them too much protein, they will fill themselves up much to the detriment of the actual nutrients that they need to thrive.
That being said, most backyard chickens are going to be eating chicken feed. This includes bonemeal and oyster shells. It helps them to digest their food a little bit better. It is also likely that the chickens are going to start picking up bugs and the like from the ground of their coop.
This means that they are going to be getting a bit more protein this way.