Do Chickens Eat Meat? Cooked or Raw?

Chickens are an excellent backyard creature to raise due to them being an omnivore. This means they will eat almost anything that you give them, whether it’s alive or dead. When it comes to meat, can chickens eat them, and what kind of meat can they eat?

Do chickens eat meat? Chickens are omnivores, which means they both eat meat and vegetables. Chickens are opportunistic eaters so they’ll eat just any type of meat you give them. Before feeding them meat, it’s best to always cook it first. Cooked meat will make it easier for the chickens to eat and digest.

Is It Safe to Feed Chickens Meat?

Meat is safe for chickens as they are omnivores. Their stomach is designed to digest all vegetable matters and meat as well.

Meat needs to be handled properly. This means it needs to be kept cool in the fridge until it’s ready to be fed to the chickens. Meats of any kind tend to spoil quickly if it’s left at room temperature. If the temperature is extremely hot like during the summer, meat can go bad within 30 minutes.

Therefore, meat is safe to feed them as long as it’s handled and stored properly.

Health Benefits of Meat for Chickens

Meat contains all the important vitamins and minerals that the chickens require. Most importantly, meat contains a high amount of protein that chickens require to stay healthy and lay quality eggs.

Below are some of the benefits the chickens can get from eating meat:

Quality Eggs

Meat has a high amount of protein and fat content. When hens are fed a diet rich in meat, it can lead to them laying high-quality eggs. The eggs will have a more vibrant yolk, the size of the eggs will be larger, and it will have a better taste.

Strong Muscle

Due to the high amount of protein in meat, stronger muscles will be achieved. This means the chicken will have bigger and tender meat. Also, protein and other nutrition in meat will help build and repair damaged muscle.

Help Keeps Them Warm During The Winter

When winter rolls around, most animals will eat as much meat as they can to store fat for the winter. As for chickens, they will only get that source from the food you give them.

Therefore, a couple of months before the cold starts settling in, feeding them meat often will help buildup their fat reserve. This will help keep them warm during the winter when the temperature can sometimes get extremely cold.

What Kind Of Meat Can Chickens Eat?

When it comes to meat, they pretty much will eat all kinds of meat. Chickens are opportunistic eater so they’ll eat anything that’s presented to them.

If they are allowed to roam freely, you’ll find that they will consume bugs, frogs, small fish, mice, spiders, and even snakes.

Then there are leftovers from a meal that includes cow meat, pig meat, or even chicken meat. The chickens will eat it all.

As you can see, chickens will eat anything and everything.

Instead of focusing on what meat they can eat, it’s better to focus on the meat that they shouldn’t eat.

Meat That Is Bad For Chickens

Meat that is usually processed is always bad for chickens. This includes salty meat such as ham, bacon, and salami.

Processed food has salt added to them to preserve them to keep them from going bad quickly.

Due to the salt being added to these meats, chickens could potentially suffer from dehydration, digestive problems, and defect of the eggshells.

The way meat is cooked can also be bad for them. Meat that is cooked in oil, butter, and grease can harm the chickens. Chickens can’t properly digest foods that are greasy.



Do Chickens Eat Meat

Can Chickens Eat Raw Meat?

When it comes to raw meat, chickens can eat any kind of them. Raw meat is perfectly fine and it won’t harm them.

However, due to the meat being raw, they have the potential to cause food poisoning.

When the meat is left at room temperature for too long, they tend to get go bad and have bacterial growth. Once bacteria starts growing on the meat, they will expand quickly. This is what causes food poisoning and the usual symptoms will be upset stomach and diarrhea for chickens.

Also, raw meat tends to be too tough for chickens to eat. Chickens don’t have teeth to chew. Instead, they’ll use their beak to grab the meat and swallow it whole.

Not only is meat hard for them to eat, but difficult for them to digest too.

Therefore, when feeding them meat of any kind, it’s best to cook it first.

How To Feed Meat To Chickens

Whichever kind of meat you feed the chickens, it all should cut into smaller pieces.

Make sure the meat isn’t spoiled yet. Just give it a smell and see if it’s still fresh.

  1. Prepare the meat by cleaning it first. A simple wash is enough to remove any debris.
  2. Cook the meat until it’s cooked. You can grill it, fry it, or even bake. Whichever method you use, it’s recommended to not use any oil. The oil will add additional fats to the meat which the chickens don’t need.
  3. Once the meat is cooked, place it on a cutting board and cut them into small pieces. The pieces should be about the same size as their feeds. This will make it easy for the chickens to eat.
  4. After the meat is cut, place it into their feeder bowl and give it to the chickens.

How Much Meat To Feed The Chickens

Meat is loaded with nutrition especially protein, but you want to feed them in moderation. Too much protein can be a bad thing for them.

Also, the meat just like fruits and vegetables should be given to them as treats. Meat should make up only 10% of their main diet. The rest should come from quality commercial feeds. These feeds are formulated with the proper amount of nutrition to meet the chicken’s dietary requirements.

Therefore, feeding them meat of any kind should be a couple of times per week.

Other Foods That Chickens Can Eat


Insects are loaded with minerals and vitamins. Some of the insects that make an excellent treat for chickens are crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles.


When it comes to vegetables, some are good for them and others are not. Chickens will eat anything you give them or find in and around the yard. Therefore, you should be careful about what they eat.

Some of the vegetables that are good for chickens are spinach, kale, cauliflower, iceberg lettuce, and jicama.


Like vegetables, fruits are packed with nutrition that can benefit the health of the chickens. Not all fruit is safe for chickens and you need to be aware of them. Some of the fruits never to give chickens are avocados and the seeds of apples.

Related Questions

Can chickens eat meatball?

Yes, chickens can eat meatballs. Most meatballs have seasoning and preservatives added to them. If that’s the case, only feed the chickens in moderation. Too much of it will harm the health of the chickens.

Can chickens eat ground meat?

Yes, chickens can eat ground meat. Before feeding them, make sure there are no seasonings added to them. Chickens don’t need additional seasoning such as salt. Too much of it can actually harm them. While it’s safe to feed them raw ground meat, it’s better to cook them first to make sure harmful bacteria are destroyed.

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