Cat Food, Cross Species Eating, Wet/Canned Food

Can Chickens Eat Wet Cat Food? 3 Reasons Cat Food Is Good For Chickens

Can Chickens Eat Wet Cat Food

Chickens can technically eat wet cat food, but it should not be a regular part of their diet. Wet cat food is high in protein and fat, which can be beneficial in small amounts, especially for chickens that need extra nutrition. However, cat food is formulated for feline dietary needs and can lead to imbalances and health issues in chickens if fed excessively.

Chickens Eat Wet Cat Food

What about Dry Cat Food?

Chickens can consume dry cat food in small quantities, but it is not ideal for their diet. Dry cat food is high in protein and designed for carnivores, which could lead to nutritional imbalances for omnivorous chickens if it becomes a significant part of their diet. It’s best to stick to feeds specifically formulated for chickens.

What do Chickens usually Eat?

Chickens are omnivores and have a varied diet that typically includes grains like corn and wheat, seeds, insects, and small animals like worms and snails. They also eat various plants and kitchen scraps. Commercially prepared, nutritionally balanced chicken feed is commonly provided to domestic chickens. It often includes a mix of grains, protein sources, vitamins, and minerals to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients.

What do Chickens usually Eat

How Much Cat Food is Safe for Chickens?

There is no established percentage of cat food that is considered safe for chickens, as cat food is not designed to meet their nutritional requirements. If cat food is given at all, it should be a very minimal part of their diet — no more than 1-2% of their total food intake. The bulk of a chicken’s diet should be a balanced poultry feed suited to their species-specific needs.

Regularly providing treats not formulated for chickens can lead to health issues. Always ensure that the primary diet is appropriate for the chicken’s age and breed, and if you’re in doubt, consult with a veterinarian or an avian nutrition specialist.

When is Cat Food good for Chickens?


During molting, chickens shed their old feathers to make way for new ones, a process that requires additional protein. Cat food, being high in protein, might help in providing the extra nutrients needed for feather regrowth. However, it should be given sparingly and as a supplement to a diet rich in high-quality protein sources better suited for chickens, like mealworms or a specialized feather regrowth feed.

Laying Eggs

When hens are laying eggs, their need for protein and calcium increases significantly. While cat food could offer a protein boost, it lacks the necessary calcium levels for shell formation. Therefore, it’s important to provide a laying hen’s diet that includes a proper balance of protein, calcium, and other nutrients specifically formulated for egg production, rather than relying on cat food.

After Illness

Recovering from illness often means chickens need an easily digestible, high-protein diet to regain strength. In this context, a small amount of wet cat food can serve as a temporary protein-rich supplement to help in recovery. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to transition back to a balanced avian diet as soon as possible and follow a veterinarian’s guidance to address any specific nutritional needs based on the chicken’s health condition.

When is Cat Food good for Chickens

Difference Between Cat Food and Chicken Feed


  • Cat Food: High in animal-based proteins as cats are obligate carnivores, typically ranging from 30% to 40% protein content.
  • Chicken Feed: Contains moderate levels of protein, about 16% to 20% for layers and 20% to 24% for broilers, derived from both plant and animal sources.



  • Cat Food: Higher in fats, around 10% to 20%, as fats are a cat’s primary energy source.
  • Chicken Feed: Generally lower in fats, about 2% to 5%, as chickens also derive energy from carbohydrates.


  • Cat Food: Lower in carbohydrates because cats cannot digest them, usually less than 10%.
  • Chicken Feed: Higher in carbohydrates, often up to 50% to 60%, primarily from grains and cereals.


Vitamins and Minerals

  • Cat Food: Enriched with vitamins A, D, E, and taurine, an essential amino acid for cats.
  • Chicken Feed: Contains a balance of vitamins and minerals suitable for chickens, including calcium, necessary for eggshell formation

Guide for Multi-Pet Households: Can Ducks Eat Cat Food?

Protein-Rich Foods for Chickens

  • Mealworms
  • Cooked eggs
  • Fish meal
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Meat scraps
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cottage cheese

Protein-Rich Foods for Chickens

Foods Chicken must not Eat

  • Avocado (especially the pit and skin)
  • Chocolate
  • Raw beans
  • Green potato skins
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Citrus fruits
  • Candy or sugary foods
  • Salty foods
  • Raw rice or pasta

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I feed cat food to young chickens?

Feeding young chickens cat food is not recommended, as their dietary needs are quite specific, and cat food is too high in protein and other nutrients not balanced for them, potentially leading to growth and health issues.

Is too much protein bad for chickens?

Too much protein can harm chickens, leading to kidney damage and other health problems, especially if the dietary balance of other nutrients like calcium is compromised.

Can chickens eat dog food?

Chickens can eat dog food in small amounts on an occasional basis, but it should not be a regular part of their diet. Dog food is formulated for canines and does not provide the correct balance of nutrients for chickens.

How much protein do chickens need?

The amount of protein chickens need varies: laying hens require about 16-18% protein in their diet, whereas broiler chickens (raised for meat) require about 20-24% protein. Young chicks require even higher levels, up to 22-24%, to support their rapid growth.

Can chickens eat goat feed?

Yes, chickens can eat goat feed, but it should not be their primary diet. Goat feed usually contains grains and seeds, which are safe for chickens. However, it might lack essential nutrients chickens need, so it’s important to supplement it with poultry-specific feed and a varied diet.

Can birds eat cat food?

Birds can eat cat food, particularly in situations where high-protein food is beneficial, like during nesting or in colder months. However, it should only be a supplementary food source and not replace their natural diet, as cat food doesn’t provide all the nutrients birds need.

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