Can Chickens Eat Chicken (Cooked, Raw)?

Chickens are omnivores and enjoy plant-based foods as well as protein-filled meat. For some owners, feeding chickens to chickens is an uncomfortable concept, while others willingly engage in the practice. Makes you wonder, can chickens eat chicken?

Scientifically speaking, chickens can eat chicken. However, in some countries, such as Australia, you are not allowed to feed chicken to chickens as the risk of transmitting diseases is deemed too high, and the act is punishable by law.

It is recommended that you check the local, state, and federal regulations in the area you live in regarding feeding chickens to chickens.

Chicken is a good source of protein and vitamins and, when prepared properly, is a good source of nutrition for any living being. However, chicken can also be deadly when contaminated with diseases and viruses. Proper hygiene and preparation are key when preparing one of the world’s favorite foods.

Can Chickens Eat Chickens?

Chickens can and will eat chicken. Our feathery friends are omnivores, displaying a healthy appetite for plant- and meat-based nutrition. Chickens eat grains, seeds, grass, and protein-rich meats such as worms and insects and love food scraps from their owner’s table.

The mere thought leaves some owners uncomfortable; feeding chicken to chickens can be beneficial, yet at the same time dangerous. Contaminated meat can make your whole flock sick and infected with a host of viruses and diseases.

Hygiene and proper preparation techniques will help to eliminate the risk of endangering the general health of your chicken flock.

The Moral Dilemma: Should You Feed Your Chickens Chicken?

For some people, the idea of feeding chickens to chickens is revolting and borders on cannibalism. Whether feeding chicken to chickens is moral will come down to the owner’s feelings on the matter. Chickens don’t have morals; they will eat what is being fed.

Chickens, by nature, are animals that will peck at anything meaty and bloody. Some chicken lovers believe feeding chicken to chickens, especially raw chicken (which is not a good idea), can lead to the flock indulging in cannibalistic habits where pecking at each other becomes problematic.

Brown chicken eating in grass covered field

Is It Healthy to Feed Chickens Chicken?

To produce the best meat and egg quality, you must ensure that your chickens’ diet consists of the right balance of the following nutritional elements:

  • Protein
  • Amino acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Fatty acids
  • Water

Chicken is a nutritional source of healthy elements such as protein, Vitamin B3, selenium, and Vitamin B6. Adding chicken to your chickens’ diet is a good idea, as the meat will help promote the flock’s health when the meat is free of contaminants, properly prepared, and fresh.

It’s not recommended that you feed only chicken to your chickens; rather, it must be an added food source, not the main one. Ensuring that the chicken meat is free from contaminants, fresh, and cooked properly will minimize the possibility of transmitting diseases to your flock.

Chicken That You Should Not Feed to Chickens

One thing to think about is the following. The chances of transmitting diseases like avian flu, salmonella, and other parasites will increase when feeding chickens raw, rotten, and undercooked chicken meat.

Preparation of the meat is key; pretend you’re preparing the chicken meat for yourself to ensure that you feed them meat that doesn’t have the potential to make them sick.

Don’t feed your chickens with chicken when:

  • The chicken is raw
  • The chicken is rotten
  • The chicken is old
  • The chicken is made from processed food, such as chicken nuggets, as they contain little to no actual chicken, and the additives found in these products can be very harmful to your flock.
  • The chicken is fried (high-fat content is not good for chicken health)

Your focus should be on feeding your chickens a well-balanced diet, primarily commercial chicken feed, as it contains the most beneficial nutritional elements.

Is It Legal to Feed Chicken to Chickens in the USA?

Many animal rights activists will ask if it’s legal to feed each other the same species of meat. Feeding chickens to chickens is considered “chicken byproduct feeding,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates and guides the nation regarding using byproducts in animal feed.

It is recommended that you check the local, state, and federal regulations in the area you live in regarding feeding chickens to chickens.

Touching base with the relevant authorities and their agricultural extensions is always a good idea with regard to feeding livestock. Following proper hygiene practices before feeding chicken meat to your chickens will ensure no contaminants and diseases are transferred to your feathery friends.

Is it Legal to Feed Chickens to Chickens in Australia?

If you’re a chicken owner in the land “Down Under,” you are not legally allowed to feed chicken to your chickens. The Australian government prohibits feeding “swill” to poultry or pigs.

The Queensland government classifies “swill” as the following material:

  • “Contains, or may contain, the carcass of a mammal or bird.”
  • “Contains, or may contain, material from a mammal or bird (including meat, eggs, blood, feces).”
  • “Has been in contact with either of these (including food or food scraps from a restaurant, hotel or home that may have been in contact with meat or meat products or other material from a mammal or bird).”

Feeding “swill” to chickens in Australia is deemed dangerous due to the possibility of avian disease transmissions, such as Newcastle disease, avian flu, and infectious bursal disease. The penalty for feeding “swill” to chickens is a fine and even a stint in jail.

What Should You Feed Your Chickens?

To manage the health of your chickens, you must ensure that they eat well and take in the right amount of nutrients. A diet of commercially approved chicken feed, vegetables, fruits (e.g., apples), grains, and other industry-approved feed will ensure a healthy chicken.

While some countries allow the feeding of chickens to chickens, the risk will always be there of cross-contamination, transmission of avian diseases, and other potential health issues.

Feed your chickens feed bought from a reputable produce store or feed merchant. Look for feed that is produced by an accredited feed supplier following industry standards and regulations, especially when feed is made from meat, bone, and blood.


Feeding chickens to your chickens is a personal choice, except in some countries where it’s illegal to do so. The health benefits of chicken are well-known and, as an occasional treat, can do wonders for the health of your flock.

The risk of transmitting diseases, harmful bacteria, and viruses to your flock is real, so always practice proper hygiene and ensure you use fresh, thoroughly cooked chicken. Never feed your flock raw or rotten chicken, as this could lead to avian flu, Newcastle disease, and infectious bursal disease.


Nutrition for the Backyard Flock | UGA Cooperative Extension

How Many Calories in Chicken? Breast, Thigh, Wing, and More (

Information on Bird Flu | Avian Influenza (Flu) (

Animal Feed Regulations | FDA

Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry (

Laws against supplying and feeding prohibited feed to poultry | Business Queensland

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