Can Chickens Eat Dry Cat Food?

Anyone who has ever cared for a flock of chickens will know that chickens eat everything.

Chickens will eat most food sources that they are supposed to, and in addition, these creatures will happily peck at a million other things that aren’t even edible.

So, if your fowl have had their fill of cat food and you’re fretting about their well-being, don’t worry. 

Chickens can have cat food, both wet or dry.

And, no cat food is not toxic for chickens in any way.

But, cats and chickens have different dietary needs and feeding your fowl cat food, in the long run, will have an adverse effect on your healthy chicks.

So, without further ado, let’s look into the pros and cons of feeding cat food to cats.

Is It OK To Feed Cat Food To Chicken?

In terms of toxicity or immediate fatality, you don’t have to trouble yourself with cat food, as cat food will not hurt your chickens in such a way.

As a matter of fact, cat food is very high in protein.

For chickens undergoing or close to the molting process or egg-laying period, cat food will boost protein that will be incredibly beneficial for your fowl. 

Can Chickens Eat Wet Cat Food?

Naturally, it’s rare to have many chickens find a way to wet cat food.

Most pet owners of cats allow their cats to feast on dry cat food outside as a treat, but wet cat food usually serves as a meal, and it is often only offered to pets inside the house.

Hence, wet cat food poses an even greater threat in the minds of pet parents of chickens than dry cat food.

But, wet cat food and dry cat food aren’t harmful to your chickens.

Your chickens can occasionally have wet cat food but cat food, both wet or dry, isn’t the recommended diet for fowl.

Is Cat Food Bad For Chickens?

The more relevant question would be whether cat food is good for chickens.

Cat food is formulated for cats specifically to cater to their daily nutrients.

Chickens only need approximately 15 – 20% protein in their diet, depending on their age, season, and productivity. 

Cats have almost twice as much need for protein as chickens do.

Hence, cat food will do much good for your cats and infrequently offer your chickens health benefits.

But, over some time, excessive protein will start to harm your chicken.

Excess protein can begin to impact the liver and kidneys of chickens.

The waste produced by chickens with extra protein contains a foul ammonia smell.

Exposure to the waste will cause your chickens to develop many health problems such as eye irritation or respiratory distress. 

Can I Mix Dry Cat Food With Chicken Feed?

You can mix up a bit of dry cat food with the chicken feed if you’re running short on chicken feed or if you purposely intend to give your chickens a protein hike when they are getting ready to lay eggs or about to go into the process of molting. 

But, if you are aiming to make your chickens healthy, then it would be wiser to keep your chickens only on chicken feed.

Bolster their nutritional requirements with food sources that would have no negative effect on your fowl in the long run.

What Dry Food Can Chickens Eat?

Many natural food sources can provide your chicken with enough protein to go through the molting or egg-laying routine with minimal discomfort.

Here’s a list of them:

  • Boiled eggs
  • Mealworms
  • Lentils
  • Fish
  • Oats
  • Parsley
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Garden peas
  • Earthworms
  • Whey
  • Buttermilk
  • Yogurt
  • Milk

The only thing to remember when trying to supply a protein boost to your chickens is that everything should be done in moderation.

Excess of anything good can turn into bad.

Hence, when you offer proteins foods to your chicken, you should do so in a moderate measure so as not to give your chicken diarrhea immediately and cause other problems in the long term.

What Should You Not Feed Your Chickens?

Just as there are foods that will help your chicken become healthy and increase its longevity, there are food items that are potentially harmful to your chickens.

You must remember always to keep such food sources a good distance away from your flightless birds.

Let’s look at a few of those foods:

  • Chocolate – Chocolate contains two toxic compounds for chickens, theobromine and caffeine.
  • Coffee Grounds – It also contains theobromine and caffeine.
  • Avocado – Avocados compromise persin, which is a natural, oil-soluble fungicide. This element is non-toxic for humans but can seriously kill many pets such as dogs, cats, and chickens.
  • Citrus Fruits – Excess citrus lead to feather picking and increased preening in chickens.
  • Moldy Foods – Stale or rotting food is sometimes seen as grub for chickens, but your chickens can very well die due to the fungus and bacteria in moldy food. In particular, old peanuts and most stale foods develop aflatoxins that cause loss of appetite, lack of coordination, spasming, convulsion, and even death. 
  • Raw Beans – Raw beans contain a toxin known as lectin that is especially toxic for chickens. Feeding your fowl raw beans can result in diarrhea, vomiting, upset stomach, or even death. 
  • Apple Seeds – Apple seeds have a trace element of cyanide that can quickly kill your chickens.
  • Green young tomatoes and Potatoes – Young green tomatoes and potatoes contain a toxin known as solanine which is toxic for chickens.
  • Onions – Onions contain sulfur compounds that, when chewed by birds, can irritate the lining of the esophagus, mouth, or crop, causing ulcers.

Wrapping Up 

Chickens aren’t discerning eaters, and they love to eat pretty much everything and anything they can find.

However, as a responsible chicken keeper, your pet’s well-being rests squarely on your shoulders.

So, if you run out of chicken feed on a rainy day, you can offer your chickens some cat food.

But, in general, it’s best to stick with natural sources of protein foods to aid your chickens during the molting or egg-laying process. 


We at write about bird health and diet however it should not be taken as medical advice. For advice on your bird you need to seek out an avian vet. The information you find on is for educational purposes only. At we are not liable for any information that you may find on here. Birdcageshere is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice about your bird.