Can chickens eat dog food? Yes, chickens can eat dog (or cat) food, so don’t worry if you find your flock eating leftover dog (or cat) food. It’s not perfect, and it costs a lot more than chicken feed. For hens to stay in good health, the chicken feed has to make up most of their diet.
Knowing Dog Food?
If you want to know if something is safe for your chickens to eat, you should always look at what it is made of and what nutrients it has. When it comes to dog food, this is a little tricky because the exact ingredients in each brand are different.
But, in general, dog food is made up of meats, meat by-products, grains, cereals, and vitamins and minerals that have been added. None of these things is bad for a chicken. Dog food is not dangerous, poisonous, or toxic in any way.
So, you don’t have to worry if your chickens have been eating your dog’s food. However, you shouldn’t feed your dog chicken feed. The problem is that dog food doesn’t have enough of the complex nutrients that hens, especially laying hens, need.
This shouldn’t surprise you. After all, it’s dog food, not chicken feed. So, if you feed your hens dog food for a long time, you run the risk of them not getting enough minerals.
Can Chickens Eat Ground-Up Dog Food?
Because of the things we just talked about, chickens will find it easier to digest dog food that has been ground up. If you have good dog food that has about the same amount of protein as what your chickens should be eating, there’s no reason not to give them a little bit.
There’s also the question of whether wet dog food or dry dog food is better. The main difference between dry and wet dog food is that wet dog food has a lot more water in it.
Many dogs also like wet food better. But from a nutritional point of view, it’s usually the same, so when I think about whether my chickens can eat it or not, I don’t look at it any differently.
What Chickens Love To Eat?
Like all other animals, chickens need to eat certain things to stay healthy.
They need just the right amount of protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. The balance of which changes as a chicken grows up and goes through different stages.
For example, young chicks need a starter feed with a lot of protein to help them grow and get strong in those first few weeks, which is very important.
As they get older and get their first set of feathers, the amount of protein in their bodies goes down. When hens start laying eggs at about 6 months, they need a special feed called “layer feed” that has more calcium and added minerals to make sure they can lay eggs that are healthy.
The “90/10 rule” is a general rule of thumb for how to feed chickens. This means that they should get 90% of their food from a good commercial feed made for their age, and 10% from treats and scraps from the table.
So, when it comes to dog food, that is definitely part of the 10 percent of what they eat. As long as you don’t do it too much, you shouldn’t have any problems.
What About Dry Dog Food?
If you watch and listen to dogs eat dry food, you can tell that the person who gave it to them is very strong. Chickens don’t have teeth, which you may have noticed. Even so, this doesn’t mean they can’t eat hard foods.
Some chicken food is pretty tough, and if you’ve ever given your chickens fruits with tough skins, you know they find a way to pick them apart and eat them.
To give a short explanation of how a chicken’s digestive system works, we can say that when chickens eat, they peck at their food but mostly swallow it whole.
The food then goes into their crops, which look like a big pouch on the front of their chests. When they are ready, usually the next day, the food moves through their digestive system and into an organ called a “gizzard.”
The gizzard is a large muscle that is kind of like a stomach. When grit or another hard substance is added, the muscle contracts and “chews” up hard foods.
So, you don’t have to worry that dry dog food will be too hard for chickens to eat. It will be broken down by their digestive system. The only problem would be with food pieces that are too big, so keep that in mind.
Related: CAN DOGS EAT TATER TOTS?
FAQs: Can Chickens Eat Dog Food?
What Can Chickens Not Eat?
Never give your chickens table scraps that are heavy in fat or salt, and never give them stale or rotting food. Hens should not be fed the following: raw potatoes, avocados, chocolate, onions, garlic, citrus fruits, uncooked rice, or beans.
Can Chickens Eat Salmon Dog Food?
Dog chow is safe for chickens to eat. Since it contains meat, it’s a favorite among them.
Can Chickens Eat Rice?
Chickens can also eat table scraps like cooked white and brown rice, simple pasta, bread, oats, and quinoa. Among their favorite foods are seeds and dried treats.
Parvaiz Yousuf is a senior SEO writer and editor with an experience of over 6 years, who also doubles up as a researcher. With an MSc zoology degree under his belt and possessing complete Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knowledge, he works as a science journalist for a US-based website and Asian Scientist (A Singapore-based magazine). He also works as Director of Wetland Research Centre, Wildlife Conservation Fund YPJK since 2018. Besides, he has several publications to his name on cancer biology and biochemistry in some reputed journals such as Nature & International Journal of Molecular Sciences, & magazines such as Science Reporter, BUCEROS BNHS, and has an abiding interest in ornithology. He also worked as a Research Associate for JK Policy Institute.