Can Chickens Eat Meat and Raw Meat?

One of the good things about raising backyard chickens is that they are not too picky about their food. This means you can give them table scraps and leftovers from your dinner last night, beside their normal chicken feed. But can chickens eat meat and raw meat?

Well, that is what we are going to discuss on this page.

can chickens eat meat and raw meat

Can Chickens Eat Meat?

Yes, chickens can eat meat. They actually love it and nothing to be surprised here. So don’t throw out the meat!

That means that chickens will eat meat if you give them. You probably wouldn’t want to cut it out of from their diet (more about this soon).

Some people believe that chickens should not eat meat, simply because they are birds. But, chickens by nature are not vegetarians, chickens are omnivores after all, right?

Meat is a great source of protein and important nutrients. Protein will help your chickens to grow eggs (it is a vital component during this process), and during the chicken molting process.

During the molting process the chickens need an astonishing amount of protein in their diet so that they can continue to grow feathers and so they, ultimately, can end the molting process as soon as they possibly can.

Feeding your chickens with meat, especially in the winter period, is very important, since there are no bugs and warms outside in that period of the year, for them to find.

Some people are saying, when they are feeding their chickens with meat, especially in the winter months, they have noticed that their feathers are nice and that they lay very good eggs.

Can chickens eat meat?

Yes, chickens are omnivores, which means they can consume a variety of foods, including meat and insects, in addition to their usual plant-based diet. In the wild, chickens naturally forage for insects, worms, and small creatures as part of their diet. Domesticated chickens also have the capacity to eat meat, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind.

How Much Meat Should Your Chickens Eat?

Do bear in mind that you shouldn’t be feeding your chickens that much meat each day. Let say, if you have a flock of 6 chickens, you can give them 2 tablespoons of meat chunks each day.

What you need to do before feeding your chickens with meat is to cut the meat in small chunks. So the chickens can eat that easily.

It is worth noting that there are many commercially available meat based chicken feed. However, if you own a dog or a cat, it is not a problem for chickens to eat dog food or cat food.

As an advice, some supermarkets do get rid of their meat scraps and they allow for people to take those (some may charge you a small fee).

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Can Chickens Eat Raw Meat?

can chickens eat meat and raw meat
Can Chickens Eat Raw Meat

Yes, chickens can eat raw meat. They are not vegetarian or vegan, they will love it.

However do bare in mind to check that the meat is not rotted. It is simply because the rotted meat can contain bacteria which can be toxic for your chickens.

As with most things that you are feeding your chickens, you will want to clean up after them the same day. While meat doesn’t rot anywhere near as fast as some vegetables or fruits, it is going to be rotting eventually. You will want to clean it out to ensure that it is not attracting pests!

Can chickens have meat?

Can Chickens Eat Chicken Meat?

There is a long-running debate within the backyard chicken community surrounding whether it’s safe or advisable to feed chickens meat from their same species. Specifically, can chickens eat chicken meat and products like eggs? Some claim benefits such as high nutrition and natural behaviors. However, scientific and ethical concerns remain. Let’s shed light on this controversial practice.

Nutritional Value of Feeding Poultry Products to Chickens

Chicken meat and organs, as well as eggs, are highly nutritious components of a chicken’s natural diet. Benefits of incorporating these animal products include:

  • High Protein – Chicken meat is approximately 20% protein and provides all the essential dietary amino acids chickens require. Eggs too are a complete protein source. This may promote growth, muscle maintenance, and egg production.
  • Added Calcium – Eggshells are rich in bioavailable calcium carbonate for strong bones and shells. Eggs provide vitamin D3 to aid calcium absorption.
  • Micronutrients – Chicken products supply a full range of vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, potassium, iron and selenium. The bioavailability of animal-based nutrients is very high.
  • Concentrated Nutrition – Just small amounts of organ meats like liver or heart provide a dense source of nutrition. This could reduce overall feed volumes.
  • Hunter Satisfaction – Chickens evolved as foragers and may experience a sense of fulfillment catching their own prey.

Without question, moderate amounts of chicken in the diet supply high-quality nutrition with optimal protein and micronutrient content. But risks still remain which raises ethical questions.

Potential Health Risks of Feeding Poultry to Poultry

While chicken products offer complete nutrition, ethics and health concerns are still valid considerations:

  • Disease Transmission – Chicken meat from unverified sources could transmit serious illnesses to live flocks. Avian influenza and other contagious conditions could devastate home flocks.
  • Prion Exposure – Any brain or central nervous system tissues risk exposing chickens to prion proteins associated with transmissible spongiform encephalitis (TSE). These prions cause untreatable, fatal neurodegenerative disease.
  • Cannibalism – The taste for eggs or flesh could spark aggressive cannibalism behaviors leading to injury and mortality. Soy-based proteins lower this tendency.
  • Beak and Gut Damage – Consuming bio-hazardous raw meat and bones long term may damage delicate digestive and skeletal structures. Raw eggs destroy B12 and biotin absorption.
  • Infertility – Some substances like endocrine-disrupting hormones present in animal products could theoretically impair fertility and chick viability over generations.

Until science definitively proves otherwise, these potential risks to bird health and ethics deserve careful consideration.

Alternatives That Simulate Natural Diet

To get the best of both worlds, nutrition and ethics, alternatives like these simulate a natural omnivorous diet:

  • Insect protein feeds – Dried mealworms, crickets, grubs and black soldier fly larvae offer natural protein sources chickens evolved eating.
  • Live insects – Provide chickens opportunities to forage for insects as supplemental feed.
  • Free range grazing – Pastured hens naturally seek seeds, vegetation and small organisms in the soil and foliage.
  • Whole scrambled eggs – Cooked eggs in moderation avoid the same biotin concerns as raw eggs.
  • Clean bones/skeletons – Reputable ethically sourced bones let chickens fulfill their marrow cravings.
  • Oyster shell – Provides highly bioavailable calcium and minerals from a natural source.

With smart substitutions, we can nourish chickens’ evolutionary diet without the same ethical quandaries commercial poultry products present.

Final Thoughts on the Controversy

In the end, each backyard flock owner must weigh the evidence themselves and determine what sits right with their personal philosophy. Some feel comfortable taking meticulous precautions feeding limited poultry. Others prefer playing it safe avoiding species-specific meat altogether.

Suffice to say, reputable commercial layer feeds provide all the balanced nutrition chickens need without these gray areas. But for those wishing to supplement with more “natural” components, alternatives like insects, greens and supplemental calcium often garner broader approval.

As with all aspects of chicken-keeping, we can aim for an approach that showcases compassion and thoughtful intentions at all times. Simple backyard bounty and the foraging life suits most chickens just fine.

Do chickens eat meat?


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. But, you will want to adjust other protein sources accordingly. Too much protein in their diet is not going to be a good thing!

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