Can Chickens Eat Dog Food? A Guide to Feeding Dog Food to Chickens

In general, chickens have an insatiable appetite for protein, which is just as well because it’s an essential part of their diet. Protein can be found in insects, worms, & grubs when animals are allowed to roam freely and forage for food.

Whole grains are the primary source of this macronutrient, many chicken keepers also provide scraps that contain substantial levels of this nutrient. Thank goodness, hens have a strong preference for a wide variety of animal foods as well. Yes, but what about dog food? More precisely, do you feel comfortable providing it because of concerns about safety and health? Read on to find out more. 

Guide to feeding Dog Food to the Chickens –

Chickens can and will eat dog food if it is fresh, crumbly, and in little amounts. Naturally, it’s preferable to feed your dog high-quality food. The ideal dog food will have plenty of glucosamine & omegas and a few fillers. Dogs deserve special treatment, even with their food. Besides, chickens aren’t the intended consumers of this particular diet; canines are. 

Despite the fact that it’s safe to feed dog food to the chickens, you shouldn’t do it. Poultry feed is specially made with a nutritionally-balanced blend of nutrients to ensure the health of your birds. The same way that dog chow has been a staple for canines. 

Despite the fact that it can be handy to share foods, we must remember that they were developed to support & keep diverse animals healthy. Laying hens require a high calcium diet because healthy egg production is directly tied to calcium intake. However, this crucial mineral is usually not abundant in dog food. 

Grain-based feed is common in commercial dog foods of lesser quality and price as are several flavoring and preservative additions. Chickens can survive on a diet of grains, but the protein in meat-based feed is better for them (and dogs if you own them). 

In either case, you can give your chickens a tasty treat by scattering some dog food from around the coop, but you shouldn’t rely on dog food or any other pet food as the main source of nutrition for your fowl. Whether you’re keeping chickens for eggs, meat, or both, you’ll need to adjust their nutrition based on their age, species, & expected use.

Dog food might or might not be an adequate source of protein for your birds, depending on how quickly they are growing. Ultimately, it depends on the specifics of the situation you’re in. A well-thought-out feeding strategy is essential for the growth and maintenance of a robust flock.

We answer the most frequent inquiries about feeding dog food to hens, including whether or not it’s a good idea, whether or not it’s harmful, how much is safe, as well as how to proceed properly if you do so.

Can Chickens Eat Dog Food

You May Also Read: Can Chickens Eat Walnuts? A Guide to Feeding Walnuts to Chickens

Benefits of  Dog Foods to the Chickens –

A small amount of dog food here and there is fine for your chickens, but it shouldn’t replace their main source of nutrition. This is correct regardless of the quality level of the dog food. Supplying your flock with food is a relatively simple task. If you feed them food that contains all the nutrients they require. 

Chickens enjoy just about everything you can give them, so treats are a terrific way to mix things up & supplement their diet. You should feed your hens the best dog food you can locate or afford if you choose to do so. As a result, you may rest assured that there will be more meat and fewer additives. 

That’s a smart strategy, and it’s a smart method to enhance their nutrition. Chickens do need to eat protein in order to flourish, and dog chow can provide that. Pecking at one another is thought to be an indication of protein deficiency in chickens. Some of the best places to get this protein are in high-quality dog food products. 

Commercial animal food, including chicken feed, is specially made to fulfill the nutritional requirements of the animal for whom it was intended. If you run short of the flock’s regular feed, it might be safe to feed them dog food for one day, but you shouldn’t make a routine of it.

To illustrate, consider that your body has been built with very specific dietary needs and that if those needs aren’t met, your health would suffer. The same holds true for chickens; if they don’t get enough of the right nutrients, their health & beauty will suffer. 

For optimal egg production, it is also important to feed your flock a healthy, well-balanced diet. Without the proper nutrition, your chickens may experience a stressful molt that reduces egg production if you don’t keep them healthy. It would be detrimental to the health of the herd to solely feed them dog chow. The same holds true for anything but their regular chicken feed. 

Drawbacks of Dog Foods for the Chickens –

Chickens can safely eat dog food in moderation. Feeding your flock low-quality dog food is unlikely to damage them, but it also won’t help. Many poultry experts advise against using pet food that isn’t made for hens as a source of nutrition. While this makes sense, it isn’t quite right. 

It has been shown that providing chickens with an excessive amount of protein might be harmful to their kidneys; therefore, it is important to avoid doing so. It is easy to give too much protein because their usual diet and other waste will contain it. You need to make sure that chicks get enough protein-rich foods. 

If chickens have never had dog chow before, they might like it because of its novel taste. In this case, keep in mind that a preference for dog food is not always a sign of a protein deficiency. If other chickens have access to dog chow, they might choose not to eat it. This is perfectly OK, and shouldn’t be spoon-fed to anyone. 

It’s okay if some of your chickens don’t take to it. Some individuals just have strong preferences for particular labels, tastes, or textures. However, in order to keep unwanted guests, like rats, away, any stale food must be removed promptly. 

To keep them healthy, chickens require a diet rich in diversity, therefore once they finish their primary feed, you should give them a wide range of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, as well as grains. Chickens are picky eaters that typically avoid anything that could make them sick quickly. 

While unlikely, it is nevertheless important to know which foods to avoid at all costs. Foods are heavy in fat and calories, such as avocados, chocolate, and full-fat dairy products. 

Quantity of Dog Food you should provide to your Chicken –

Dogs should only be given table scraps as a treat only occasionally and in small amounts. The optimal frequency is every few weeks. You should avoid developing a taste for this cuisine specifically, or any indulgence for that matter, because preferences will still develop. 

However, you may feed the chickens dog food by scattering a can of it throughout the coop. Dog food can be given to a sick hen in an effort to get it to eat again and provide it with a nutritional boost at a crucial moment. 

Keep in mind the 90/10 guideline at all times. That is to say, chickens should get at least 90% of their calories from the chicken feed but no more than 10% from rewards. Poultry feed is designed to provide the optimal levels of around 38 nutrients that chickens require. 

A full beginning diet should be used for chicks from day 1 through week 18. Laying hens require a complete layer meal after 18 weeks. In terms of volume, a half cup of full feed is enough to sustain a laying hen for the day. 


The 90/10 guideline mandates that sweets be limited to two tablespoons per day. You only need a few modest treats per day. Have fun with your birds & don’t worry too much about giving them the perfect diet every day. Several of the same things that you eat can be fed to your flock, with a few notable differences.

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