What chicken should consume and what chicken shouldn’t eat is not always the same thing. Chickens are omnivores. Chickens usually eat a wide range of foods including insects, meat from different sources, fruits, seeds and vegetation.
Chickens do eat less exciting foods like fruits, vegetables, flowers, and grass. They do eat grains and seeds. The chickens may scratch the ground and find bugs and specks of things that are not visible to humans.
Therefore, it is crucial to know that chickens don’t want a lot of high protein food usually. Over-feeding of protein may cause severe damage to the chickens. If the owner is providing a well-balanced diet to the flock, the supplementation isn’t requiring by the hens. These high protein foods should be given only when there is a particular requirement and in great moderation at other times.
The diet of chicken is a beautiful balance between minerals, carbohydrates, vitamins, fat, and protein. As protein are the basic building blocks of existence, including effs for that matter.
Chickens living in hot and humid climates need more protein as compared to the chickens living in the cooler part of the world.
To be more a bit more precise, chickens living in hot and humid climates require protein levels between 18-19%, compared to the chickens living in other parts of the world who need 16% protein.
Why Do Chickens Need Extra Protein
In the eggshell, it is the protein that mainly aids the growth of the body. Even if the chicken is getting bigger, there is still the production of feathers, cooking up eggs, growth of their nails, and all the normal function of their bodies is happening. Therefore, protein is the basic building block that makes all those things to be possible.
How Much Protein does my Chicken Need
Chickens do need different levels of protein at different stages in their whole life. Initially, chickens do need extra protein to make sure that their bodies are growing and developing well through the first few weeks of their life. This varying requirement of different protein level during different life stages need distinct feed for the chickens during particular stages of life.
Initially, starter feed, for instance, comprises approximately 24% protein as compared to 16% protein in the layer feed. Usually, the chicken feed originates its protein from soybean meal, cottonseed meal, oilseed meals like peanut, sesame, and sunflower.
Therefore, considering the importance of protein in the chicken diet, protein is one of the most expensive ingredients of chickens feed. This exorbitant cost is the reason why many manufactures consider reducing the amount of protein in the products, while chickens need protein.
Can I give My Chicken Too Much Protein
Chicken can have an overdose of protein. However, too much protein can make them fat. Apart from fattiness, the chicken will feel malnutrition if the proteins excessively added to the chicken diet.
The starvation can be due to extra protein, and the chickens are not getting enough of the complex array of minerals, vitamins, and carbohydrates they require to maintain their bodies and its functions. Nevertheless, providing chickens with a diet of protein at some selected times can enhance the chicken’s health as well as a state of mind.
When Should I Offer Protein Snack to Chickens
There are several times in a year when the chickens required a diet with extra proteins. These times include the molting season of chickens. The molting time is one of the best times when layers needed some additional protein in their diet.
An extra protein in layers diet will help them to reproduce their feathers, as well as help them to produce more eggs again. There is no uncertainty that there are several ways through which chickens can create more eggs for a more extended period, but the additional protein will surely help them too.
Can Chickens Eat Cat Food? (A High Protein Food)
If the owner is consecutively low on chicken feed and looking for some replacements, then the cat’s food is one of the best ideas. There is no doubt that both chicken and cats’ dietary requirements are different.
Therefore, a question arises that can chicken eat cat’s food as the requirements are different for both species. The answer is yes. Chicken can consume cat’s food but in a small amount.
As cats require a large amount of protein in their diets, so long-term protein is not suitable for the chickens. A smaller amount of cat’s food can enhance the egg production process as well as help chickens during the molting.
The Difference Between Cat Food and Chicken Feed
As there are complex dietary requirements for cats, and their food, both wet and dry are specially formulated to meet their needs. The same is in the case of chicken.
The significant difference is that chickens require anywhere a protein level between 14-20% in their diet, depending on the age and stages of chicken life.
In contrast to chicken, cats require a protein level ranges between 30-45% depending on the age and health of cats. There is a massive difference in protein levels for cats and chicken, and not something chicken can tolerate in the long-term.
As mentioned above, chickens do require an additional protein during the process of molting and egg-laying process. However, what the owner can’t do is give chickens the cat’s food as a replacement for their feed.
Is Cat’s Food safe for Chickens
As mentioned above, the
cat’s food is safe for chickens but in a smaller amount.
The instances mentioned above are when the cat’s feed is more beneficial for chickens.
The protein composition in dry cat’s food has higher protein and fat content. The dry cat’s diet contains 26-28% protein. However, the wet cat’s menu includes a protein level closer to 10-15%.
Therefore, if the owner is intentionally feeding the cat’s food to the chickens for boosting protein, then it is better to kibble and blend the cat’s meal with the chicken feed.
Is Dry or Wet Cat Food Better for Chickens?
Selecting dry or wet cat’s food creates bit confusion for the owners. It is better to provide the flock with a protein boost with dry cat food. Dry cat’s diet has a higher protein level compare to wet cat’s food.
Final Thoughts and Precautions
Hence, from the above discussion, the owner can have an idea of the difference between chicken dietary requirements and cats’ nutritional requirements. The information, as mentioned earlier, also provides some information for the owners who wish to add cat’s food in chicken feed.
Cat’s food has a higher protein level that is safe for chicken but in a smaller amount. The higher protein in the cat’s food will help chickens to deliver the protein boost during molting and egg production. However, higher protein in a more considerable amount for a prolonged period, is harmful to the chicken.
- Cat’s food or other high protein food should not be fed as an alternative for a good quality chicken feed but only given as an occasional treat.
- Don’t over-feed chickens with these high proteins diet. Try to restrict these cat’s foods only for molting season or during hard winters. Over-feeding of such protein diet may lead to several health problems for egg-laying hens.
Types of Chicken Breeds
|Chicken Breeds||Origin||Meat/ Layers / Dual Purpose||Finished Weight||Eggs per Week||Weeks to Slaughter|
|Broilers||Canada/US/Europe||Meat||3.3 lbs||5||14 Weeks|
|Cornish crosses||England||Meat||6.5 - 8.5 lbs||3||8 - 9 Weeks|
|Jersey Giants||USA||Meat ( Intended to replace Turkeys)||13 lbs||4||8 - 9 Months|
|Hertigage Breeds||6 - 9 months|
|Delaware||USA Delaware||Duo||6.5 lbs||4 - large||8 Months|
|Dorking||United Kingdom||Duo||10 - 14 lbs||5 - med||5 Months|
|Buckeye||USA Ohio||Duo||6 - 9 lbs||4 - med||5 Months|
|Rhode Island Red||USA Rhode Island||Duo||6 b- 8 lbs||5-6||5 Months|
|Leghorn||Italy||Eggs||4 -5 lbs||4||8 Months|
|Plymouth Rock||USA - Massachusetts||Duo||7.5 lbs||4||5 Months|
|Sussex||United Kingdom||Duo||7 lbs||4 - 5 - large||5 Months|
|Wyandotte||Canada||Duo||7 - 9 lbs||5 Months|
|Welsummer||Netherlands||Duo||7 lbs||4 / Week||5 Months|
|Hamburg||United Kingdom||Eggs||7 lb||4 - med||9 weeks|
|Black Australorp||Australia||Duo||\3 - 5 lb||5 - med||5 months|
|Buff Orpington||England||Duo||7 - 8 Lbs||4 - 5||8 months|
|Brahma||Meat||11 lbs||3 - med||5 monthss|
Dual Purpose Breeds
Chicken / Poultry Breeder Associations
|US Poultry & Egg Association||United States||USPA|
|American Poultry Association||California||APA|
|Ohio Poultry Association||Ohio||OPA|
|National Chicken Council||United States||NCC|
|British Poultry Council||United Kingdom||BPCE|
|Poultry Club of Great Britain||United Kingdom||PCGB|
|Association of Poultry Breeders in EU||Europe||AVEC|
|Australian Chicken Meat Federation Inc||Australia||ACMF|
|Australian Poultry Hub||Australia||Poultry Hub|