Cats need to eat protein since they are obligate carnivores. However, since chickens are omnivores, they can survive on the right mixture of animal and plant matter.
That said can chickens eat dry cat food? Yes! Chickens can consume dry cat food, but it often depends on the type of dry cat food.
What is Dry Catfood?
Dry Cat food is processed food typically made from vegetables, ground meat (poultry or beef), cereals, and dough.
However, the exact ingredients in dry cat food vary from brand to brand. Some companies also replace meat with eggs as a protein source.
Is Dry Cat Food Good for Chickens?
While chickens can eat dry cat food, should they? Dry cat food is beneficial for laying or molting chickens.
However, dry cat food can never become a mainstay of the chickens’ diet, and chickens should only consume dry cat food moderately. Some of the benefits of dry cat food are as follows:
High Protein Content
The dry cat food is beneficial for your chickens as they contain a high protein content.
If you feed your chicken dry cat food constantly, it can be harmful to them. Chickens only require 14 to 20 % of protein. So small bursts of protein are good for chickens.
There are some periods in which the protein needs of chicken shoot up. During these periods, it is practical to feed them dry cat food.
High Phosphorus and Calcium content
Dry cat food can also offer chickens phosphorous and calcium. For adult chickens, phosphorus and calcium are important as they develop a strong skeletal structure, and these minerals will enable chickens to produce hard-shell eggs.
An absence of other minerals, such as Zinc, can lead to the development of shorter bones. Dry cat food consists of all the necessary minerals and will benefit the chickens’ diet.
High Fatty acids content
Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are present in most dry cat food varieties. For birds, especially chickens, fatty acids play a crucial role.
These acids are responsible for improving the chicken’s growth performance and metabolism. The fatty acids also bolster fertility rates and boost the immune response.
High Vitamins content
Dry cat food is rich in fat-soluble vitamins such as K, E, A, and D. These can benefit chickens and improve their overall health. For example, vitamin A can improve chicken egg production, and its absence can weaken the chickens.
If the chickens don’t have sufficient vitamin E levels, it will cause their hocks to increase in size. Other vitamins, such as Niacin, a water-soluble vitamin, are crucial for proper leg formation.
If you want your chickens to have good feathers, folic acid is necessary for them. Lastly, if the chickens have a low Biotin level, it can lead to dermatitis around the beak and eyes.
Is Dry Cat food Better than Other Varieties of Cat Food?
If you want your chickens to eat a protein-rich diet, then wet cat food is better for you. However, in some cases, dry cat food has a higher protein content than other cat food varieties.
Generally, whether dry or wet, cat food is not an ideal protein source for chickens, and there are also dry cat foods that contain harmful ingredients for chickens.
Risks associated with Dry Cat Food?
Dry cat food can provide chickens with excess protein, waste produced from this protein can be poisonous. This waste usually has an ammonia smell; if the chickens are exposed to it, they can develop various health problems.
Eating too much protein can also harm the liver and kidneys of chickens. Elevated protein levels will increase the water requirement for chickens, and since chickens drink a lot of water, this can wet their bedding. Wet bedding is also harmful, as it can promote the growth of microbes.
What do Chicken owners say about Dry Cat food and chickens?
We have addressed this question: Can chickens eat dry cat food? Let’s discuss the consensus among chicken owners about dry cat food.
Some chicken owners avoid giving their birds dry cat food, but generally, chicken owners agree that dry cat food is okay for chickens. Here are a few things that chicken owners are saying about dry cat food:
- Some owners worry about cheap dry cat varieties with HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) and sugar in dry cat food. However, they believe that reputable dry cat food brands are a good source of protein for chickens
- Owners have also stated their chickens’ feather strength improved after eating dry cat food. They also believe that their health will improve if you give your chickens a combination of regular chicken food, dry cat food, and sunflowers seed
- Other chicken owners give their hens dry cat foods as occasional snacks and don’t make it a regular part of their diet
However, if you have cats and chickens at your place, feeding your birds dry cat food can be problematic. Chickens are aggressive and drive cats off their food for a bite.
What is the Right Quantity of Dry cat food for Chickens?
If you want to feed your chickens dry cat food, combine it with other food items. Experts generally believe that over 90 % of the chickens’ diet should be chicken feed.
You can supplement the other 10 % with treats, table scraps, and gain or dry cat food. You should ensure your chickens don’t have more than two tablespoons of dry cat food daily.
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Our focus in this article was on if chickens can eat dry cat food or not. While you can give your chickens dry cat food, it has pros and cons. We recommend studying the pros and cons before making dry cat food a part of the diet. While chickens will instantly fall in love with dry cat food, you must ensure they don’t get addicted.