Can Chickens Eat Meat? [Ham, Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Pork & More]

One of the most fun parts of keeping chickens is feeding them. They can eat a large variety of different foods so finding out what your chickens like and dislike is a fun experience.

However, just because chickens can eat a large variety of different foods does not mean that you can give them whatever you want. Some foods are not good for your feathery flock. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at whether chickens can eat meat. We’ll first go over whether they can eat meat in general. After that, we’ll discuss some of the most popular types of meat to figure out whether your chickens can safely eat them.

can chickens eat meat?

If you’re in need of a quick answer to the question of whether chickens can eat meat, here you go: Most meats are safe for chickens to eat and can be a good source of protein and vitamin B12. However, since meat is quite high in calories and fat it should only be fed in small quantities to avoid overfeeding. A diet that contains too much meat can lead to nutritional imbalances and weight gain.

I do recommend that you read the whole article because it contains important information on feeding meat to your flock of chickens safely.

Can Chickens eat meat?

Chickens are omnivores. This means that they can benefit from eating meat as well as plant-based foods. In the wild, chickens have a diet that consists of plant matter, insects, and other small creatures. Besides insects, often feed on mice, frogs, rats, and other small creatures. So yes, chickens can indeed eat meat.

In fact, if you give a chicken the choice between a piece of meat or a carrot they’ll probably go for the meat! The reason for this is evolutionary. Meat is higher in calories and fat than plant matter and is thus more useful for survival.

Furthermore, meat is a good source of protein and vitamin B12 for chickens. According to PoultryDVM, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to poor absorption of nutrients and poor stomach acid production.

Can Chickens eat raw meat?

Feeding raw meat to your flock is not recommended because it can lead to food poisoning. You might think that it’s okay to feed your chickens raw meat because, after all, wild chickens eat raw meat all the time but they’re not entirely the same thing.

There’s a difference between the meat that they hunt themselves that comes from a small animal like a frog or a mouse that’s eaten immediately and the meat that you give your chicken that comes from a large animal like a cow, turkey, or a pig that’s been stored for a while. The stored meat has had more time for bacteria to grow on it and is thus not good for them to eat.

Do chickens need meat in their diet?

No, chickens do not necessarily need meat in their diet. They can survive and thrive without you ever giving them meat. They will still eat the bugs and insects they find around them. With that being said, they can benefit from eating some meat every now and then as long as you don’t overdo it.

If you opt to feed meat to your flock it’s important to do so in moderation. Do not give your chickens too much meat, a balanced diet is important and a diet with too much of any particular food will not give your chickens the appropriate nutrients.

Types of meat that chickens can eat

Now that you know that chickens can eat meat you might be curious what kinds of meats are okay for your flock to feast on and which ones should be avoided.

Can chickens eat ham?

Chickens can eat ham, and they love the taste of it. However, no matter how much they love it, chickens can only eat ham in very small quantities. Ham is very high in salt and fat and is very processed. Because of this, it should never be a large part of their diet. If you choose to feed ham to your chickens, do not give it to them more than once a week.

Can chickens eat chicken?

The question of whether chickens can eat chicken often comes up. It may seem a little weird, but the answer to this question is yes, chickens can eat chicken meat. Chicken is quite low in fat compared to other meats so if you have some leftover chicken that you will not eat you can safely feed it to your flock. Do make sure that the chicken meat you feed them is cooked and fresh. You can choose to cut the meat into pieces before feeding it to your flock or you can even give them bones with chicken meat attached to it to eat. They’ll devour the meat from it in no time.

Can chickens eat ground beef?

Yes, chickens can eat ground beef. This includes ground beef that’s turned into a hamburger. Ground beef is a favorite of many chickens so they’ll definitely enjoy eating it. As with other meats, ground beef should be cooked before feeding. Also, since it is quite high in calories make sure that you do not feed them too much.

Can chickens eat sausages?

Chickens can eat sausages in small quantities as long as the sausage you feed them is not too processed and does not contain too much salt, spices, and additives. Before feeding sausages to your chickens it’s always a good idea to read the ingredients because not all sausages are the same.

Can chickens eat steak?

Maybe you made a steak for yourself and have some leftovers, or perhaps you just want to spoil your chickens. Whatever the case may be, if you’ve ever asked yourself if your chickens can eat steak, the answer is yes! Steak is quite high in calories though, so make sure that you do not feed them too much of it.

Can chickens eat salami or pepperoni?

Technically chickens can eat salami and pepperoni but it’s not very good for them. Salami and pepperoni are not only very high in calories, but they’re also very processed and contain a lot of salt, fat, and additives. If you give your chickens pepperoni make sure that you do it very infrequently and in very small amounts, it should by no means be a large part of their diet.

Can chickens eat bacon?

Bacon is not recommended for chickens to eat due to its high salt and fat content. Sure, if you present bacon to your chickens they will eat it because they like the taste of salt and fat but that does not mean that it’s good for them. On the whole, I would recommend against feeding bacon to your chickens when there are so many better options for them to eat out there.

Can chickens eat lamb?

Yes, chickens can eat lamb meat as long as you make sure that the lamb meat is properly cooked. Lamb is lower in calories than beef but you should still be careful not to overfeed your chickens. Chickens have a huge appetite for meat and if you’re not careful they’ll devour more lamb than they really should.

Can chickens eat pork?

Chickens can eat pork in small quantities. Make sure that the pork you feed them, whether that’s a pork chop or some spare ribs, is cooked all the way through. I recommend leaving the meat on the bone, chickens enjoy pecking it from the bone.

Can chickens eat beef jerky?

Chickens can technically eat beef jerky but I recommend against feeding this to them. The reason why is because beef jerky is extremely high in salt and also very processed. In addition, many beef jerky recipes contain onion, garlic, and sauces, which are not good for your chickens. With so many better options to choose from, I’d refrain from feeding beef jerky to my chickens.

Can chickens eat turkey?

Chickens can definitely eat turkey meat. If you have some leftover turkey your chickens will surely love eating it. Turkey is lower in fat than most other types of meat so it can be a good source of protein for them. You can even give them the turkey meat that’s still on the bone. As said before, chickens enjoy pecking the meat from the bone so they’ll pick the turkey bones that you give them clean in no time.

Can chickens eat organ meats?

Organ meats, such as livers, hearts, and kidneys are a great source of many vitamins, minerals, and protein. On the whole, these types of meat are among the healthiest types of meats for your chicken and they can definitely eat them. Of course, while they might be good for your flock, ensure that you do not overfeed them. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing!

Final words

So, there you have it, everything you ever wanted to know about feeding meat to your chickens. Most types of meat are okay for your chickens to eat in small quantities but some, like bacon and beef jerky, are best avoided due to their high salt and fat content.

Happy feeding!

Jesse A.