Why Your Chickens Will Totally gobble Down Chicken – The Whole Pecking Deal



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Alright friend, when I told ya about catching my girls chowing chicken the other day, looks like that piqued your curiosity!

Well pull up a chair, pour yourself an iced tea, and get comfortable – cause I’m gonna spill all the juicy deets on why these feathered friends just can’t resist a bit of poultry now and then.

So, can chickens eat chicken meat? let’s dig!

Their Appetites Aren’t All That Fancy…Like, At All

can chickens eat chicken meat

So yeah, you might think your hens are too prim and proper for leftovers, but I’m here to bust that notion.

Chickens in the wild would scrounge the forest floor, gobbling up whatever nutrient-dense tidbits they stumbled upon – everything from worms and grubs to the occasional baby bird that fell from the nest.

Their main goals are fueling their fast metabolisms and packing on those important proteins, fats, and minerals.

Innate instincts drive them to seek out calorie-dense options wherever they may find them, no matter how “gourmet” or “pedestrian” we humans may consider the fare.

Nutritionally speaking, there’s little difference between a fat grub and a fallen chipmunk chick or two.

So don’t be too shocked if ol’ Betty spots that discarded chicken thigh on the ground and decides to try her luck peckin’ at it just like any other potential meal.

One man’s trash is another chicken’s tasty snack, amirite?

It Provides Valuable Nutrients, Fo’ Sho’

can chickens eat chicken meat

Now you may be thinking “but do they really get anything out of eating other poultry?” and the answer is a big ol’ YES.

Chicken meat is chock full of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals their bodies need to thrive.

We’re talking key nutrients like calcium for strong eggshells, selenium to boost their immune systems, and B vitamins for energy metabolism.

Even trace minerals like zinc, copper, and manganese are highly bioavailable when consumed in the form of meat.

It’s like a chicken chicken nugget – perfectly shaped by Mother Nature to meet all their nutritional demands.

So while their standard feed provides daily sustenance, an occasional bite of bird beefs things up nicely with a major nutrient boost.

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Think of it like those daily multivitamins we humans take versus the extra absorption we get from foods containing concentrated, ready-to-use forms of certain vitamins and minerals.

Same concept applies for our feathered friends – meat packs an even bigger nutritional wallop than plain ol’ layer mash alone.

Just Poppin’ In Moderation is A-OK


Now you’re probably wondering how much meat is too much, right?

While the occasional nibble here and there is totally fine, you don’t want poultry protein becoming little Susie’s whole diet.

Too MUCH of a good thing can mess with the natural pH balance in their digestive systems.

We’re talking an upset tummy, loose droppings, and other unpleasant issues if protein packs the punch instead of grains, veggies, bugs and calcium supplements in their regular feed.

Think of it like eating bacon for every meal – sure it’s delicious, but you’ll feel like a slug after too many consecutive bacon banquets.

Same goes for chickens! Moderation is key to keep things running smoothly down below.

Aim to only offer meat treats a couple times a week so regular balanced nutrition remains the priority.

And always remove uneaten portions after 20 minutes so they don’t start associating you with an all-you-can-eat meat buffet!

With a little restraint on your end, your girls can indulge their predatory tendencies without any digestive distresses.

Watch Out For Squabbles And Such, Ya Feel Me?

can chickens eat chicken meat

One thing you’ll want to be mindful of is these meaty morsels not leading to unnecessary fowl play among the flock.

As I mentioned before, chickens’ ancestral instincts can surface when flesh hits the floor – even towards their own kind.

A wounded chicken left alone with a carcass or meat scraps runs the risk of becoming a target for pecks and jabs from overzealous feathered friends looking for an easy meal.

Yikes, not a scene we want in our coops!

To prevent problems, thoroughly cook any meat scraps and hand feed treats separately from whole carcasses or injured birds.

Keep an eye out for aggressive behaviors like chasing or bullying too – no chicken dinner is worth upsetting the peace of the yard.

With small adjustments like these, you can let your ladies indulge guilt-free while still keeping the coop a calm, stress-free zone.

Are Hens Okay with Leftover Cooked Chicken Bones?

Now while meat scraps are usually fine, chicken bones pose some risks your girls may not be equipped to handle.

Unlike dogs with strong jaws designed to crunch and grind, chickens have delicate beaks only meant for pecking and nibbling food into tiny pieces.

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Bones could easily splinter or cause blockages if swallowed whole instead of being broken down properly.

The same goes for overly large or tough pieces of meat that may not fully digest.

It’s always best to remove bones and cut meat bits small enough your chickens can easily consume without risk of obstruction or injury from swallowing unwieldy gulps.

Play it safe by pulverizing bones to powder in a food processor or grinding scraps so they break down smoothly in delicate chicken crops and gizzards.

Are There Breed Differences in Chicken Meat Preference?

While all chickens are opportunistic omnivores, some breeds may exhibit stronger predatory behaviors towards meat than others.

For example, game breeds like Chanteclers that were partially bred for meatiness tend to be more bold and aggressive hunters overall due to historic selective pressures.

Chickens descended from jungle fowl may retain more pronounced instincts from their wild ancestors too versus dwarf or production breeds focused primarily on egg laying.

But no chicken is a true carnivore – grains and plants still form the bulk of their nutritional needs no matter the specific breed traits.

Some birds in any flock just have keener curiosity or boldness that may surface more towards new protein sources than others more hesitant personalities.

Overall breed tendencies are subtle, with environmental factors and individual variation playing larger roles in each chicken’s appetite and behaviors around meat.

Should You Worry About Disease Risks from Chicken Meat?

As long as poultry scraps are properly handled and cooked, disease transmission isn’t a major concern.

Thoroughly heating meat to 165°F kills potential pathogens like Salmonella or Campylobacter that could otherwise infect chickens and possibly spread among the flock.

Freezing scraps for at least 24 hours before feeding is another effective way to terminate any illness-causing germs lurking in raw poultry byproducts.

Basic sanitation practices like handwashing before and after handling birds and their feed also helps break disease transmission cycles.

Vaccinations against common poultry illnesses provides your chickens further immunity against potential pathogens too.

With good hygiene and proper cooking/freezing of meat treats, you needn’t worry too much about contamination putting your girls at serious health risks.

Should You Mix Chicken Meat in With Regular Feed?

While an occasional direct meat feeding is fine, adding it directly into standard layer feed brings some disadvantages.

Firstly, fatty bits or grease could go rancid faster when combined with dry ingredients instead of being consumed promptly.

Spoilage creates the potential for food safety issues or your hens turning their beaks up at moldy meals.

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Chicken meat also provides an unbalanced nutritional profile on its own versus a complete feed formulated for chickens’ dietary needs.

Too much protein mixed long-term could disrupt delicate crop pH balance like discussed before as well.

For these reasons, it’s best offered separately rather than integrated as a permanent feed addition causing other issues down the line.

Can Raw Meat Bits Attract Rodents or Other Pests?

Leaving meat scraps scattered about the yard definitely increases chances of drawing unwanted scavengers near your coop.

Mice, rats, stray dogs or cats, and other critters will happily feast on tasty poultry discards if easy access is provided.

Not only can pests compete with chickens for food but also pose disease risks themselves or threaten smaller birds.

It’s always wisest to promptly pick up any leftover meat bits after chickens finish their portions to avoid inviting rodents or predators around the property.

Keeping things scrupulously clean also helps discourage pests from establishing nesting or foraging areas near feed or water sources.

Can Chickens Develop a Taste for Raw Meat?

While meat treats are well-tolerated cooked, developing a habit of feeding raw poultry poses issues worth avoiding.

For one, pathogenic bacteria on uncooked scraps could potentially spread illness to your flock without protective heat treatment first.

But perhaps even more importantly – offering raw meat may spark predatory instincts towards live prey like smaller birds, baby chicks or rabbits within a flock.

Unnecessary pecking or injury could arise from chickens acting on an encouraged appetite for flesh instead of just picking at dropped morsels.

Best to eliminate any risk of fomenting aggressive tendencies by always thoroughly cooking meat scraps before the chickens get their beaks on it.

Do Chickens Care What Type of Poultry Meat It Is?

When it comes to the nutritional value chickens derive, the actual poultry variety doesn’t make much difference.

Whether it’s chicken, turkey, duck, quail or other small game bird meat – the protein composition and nutrients are fairly similar across the board.

Chickens won’t discriminate between light or dark varieties either as long as it smells appetizing enough for their predatory palates.

As omnivores, they’ll take advantage of readily available meat sources regardless of exactly what type of feathers or scales it came from.

So feel free mixing up their menu with a sampling of various butcher scraps knowing nutritional parity is retained no matter the feathered fowl featured.

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