Can Chickens Eat Dog Food? (or Cat Food?)

Can chickens eat dog food or cat food?

If you have chooks, dogs, and cats, then you may wonder if the chickens can eat dog or cat kibble?

It’s not a silly questions, and you’ve probably found already your chicken will happily peck at pet food?

Chickens are omnivorous birds and can eat a variety of foods, but the foods we feed them can have a significant impact on their health and wellbeing.

In fact, if you want them to produce quality eggs then you’ll want to feed them the right balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Dogs and cats have similar nutritional needs, but does that mean they can share food?

Here’s the answers to your questions:

Can Chickens Eat Dog Food?

It’s fair to say dog food is typically formulated for the nutritional needs of dogs, and dogs are different from chickens. But there are similarities, and most dog foods contain some ingredients suitable for chickens.

Dog food often contains animal proteins, such as beef, chicken, or fish, which are also a part of a chicken’s natural diet.

However, dog food may not provide all the essential nutrients that chickens require. For instance, chicken feed typically contains higher levels of calcium, which is necessary for the development of strong eggshells.

Moreover, dog food often contains additives, fillers, or preservatives which may harm your chickens.

Most dog food contains carbohydrates from grains or starches, and as these are not part of a chicken’s natural diet they may cause digestive issues.

Feeding chickens dog food also raises potential health risks. Dogs are known to carry bacteria such as Salmonella, which can be harmful to chickens. If chickens consume dog food from a bowl contaminated with Salmonella, they may develop an infection or become carriers of the bacteria. Although unlikely, this can spread to other chickens or even humans.

Can Chickens Eat Cat Food?

Cat food is also formulated for the nutritional needs of cats and may contain ingredients not suitable for chickens. While some ingredients in cat food, such as animal proteins, may be suitable for chickens, it is generally not recommended to feed cat food to them.

Cat food typically contains a higher percentage of protein than chicken feed. However, the type of protein in cat food, such as taurine, is not necessary for chickens. Additionally, cat food may not contain the necessary vitamins and minerals that chickens need to maintain optimum health and produce eggs.

Despite cats being carnivores, most of the time dry cat foods contain grains, fillers, and preservatives, and these can be harmful to your chickens.

Like dog food, there is a risk of Salmonella contamination if your chickens eat from the same bowl as your cat. Cats and dogs are very tolerant of Salmonella and other bacteria, but this may not be the case for your chickens.


In conclusion, there are similarities with the ingredients in cat and dog food compared to chicken food, and in moderation your chickens will likely be fine, but it is not recommended.

Chicken feed is formulated to meet the specific nutritional requirements of chickens and is the best choice to ensure their health and wellbeing. If you are considering feeding your chickens a non-chicken feed diet, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian or poultry expert to ensure their diet is balanced and does not pose any health risks.

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