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Can Birds Eat Chicken? (And Other Meat)

Can Birds Eat Chicken? (And Other Meat)

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When you’re thinking of what to feed your bird, any kind of meat might not be the first thing that you think of. For some birds, eating meat can be part of a healthy diet.

Most birds consume a diet of seeds and suet, which should still be their primary source of nutrition. Feeding your birds meat such as chicken gives them a good source of protein and other nutrients, as long as the meat isn’t too salted or seasoned.

While meat isn’t an essential part of any household pet bird’s diet, it can still be healthy for them in moderate amounts.

What Kinds of Birds Eat Meat?

As far as birds that you can keep as pets in your home go, many of them can eat meat. Some common household birds that can eat meat include:

  • Parrots
  • Cockatiels
  • Canaries

There are many varieties of household bird that can eat meat, and are not just limited to the three common examples below. If you are considering giving meat for a different kind of bird, do some additional research to make sure that it is safe for that bird.

In the wild, there are larger kinds of birds that are carnivorous, such as vultures. Household birds do not eat nearly as much meat as a vulture would, so make sure that you are not letting your bird eat more than a small piece of meat at a time.

How to Prepare Meat for Your Bird

When you are giving your bird meat, you shouldn’t give them the same thing that you might eat. When most people prepare meat for their own meals, they season and salt the meat so that it tastes good to them.

These seasonings are not good for birds, as they are not part of their healthy diet and can cause problems if eaten in excess. Do not give a bird seasoned meat, since meat isn’t a necessary part of their diet and they will be healthier without eating a piece of meat that has seasonings or sauce on it.

If you have leftover meat from your own meal and would like to give a piece to your bird before you put away leftovers, you may be able to rinse any seasoning and sauces off the meat in the sink before you give it to the bird.

Make sure that you cook the meat all the way through before you give it to your bird. Do not leave the center of the meat rare or uncooked, as this could give your birds a serious and potentially life-threatening illness.

The Best Meats to Feed Your Bird

Chicken isn’t the only kind of meat that you can feed a bird.

Bacon, beef, fat, and bone marrow are all things that you can give to a bird. These are especially good protein supplements if you usually feed your bird other protein sources, such as bugs.

Just as you would with the chicken, make sure that you rinse off any meat that has seasoning before you give it to your bird. Give especially fatty meat pieces in extreme moderation so your bird doesn’t become obese, which can cause serious health issues.

Also, make sure that anything you give to your bird isn’t still hot from cooking, since that could give your bird a burn.

What Meat Not to Feed Your Bird

If you’re about to throw away meat from your fridge since it is going bad, you should not feed it to your bird. This includes meat that is past its expiration date, meat that is visibly rotting, and meat that is growing mold.

Only ever feed your bird meat that you would eat yourself. It may be tempting to allow your bird to eat meat that is going bad so that you don’t have to waste it by throwing it away, but this could cause serious health problems for your bird.

Another thing to make sure of is that you are feeding your bird meat that you know all of the ingredients of. This means that the meat you feed your bird should be something that you’ve prepared yourself, to make sure that there are no additives or seasonings that would be bad for your bird.

Should You Feed Your Bird Meat?

Even though you can feed your bird meat without it getting sick, it might not be the best addition to their diet. Giving your bird small pieces of meat can be a good treat, but might not make a good addition to their regular diet for a long-term change.

Protein is an essential part of a bird’s diet, but it can be found in the regular bird food that you would be providing for your bird. Birds will likely eat meat if you give it to them, but this doesn’t mean that they need it in their diet.

If you are giving your bird meat specifically as an additional source of protein, you probably don’t need to be worrying about that. There is plenty of protein in the bird food mixes you can buy in the pet store that are formulated for what your bird would need to remain healthy.

Protein in Bird Food

Too much protein is bad for a bird’s health. Since birds are much smaller than humans, it can be difficult to estimate how much protein your bird needs, especially because meat is such a protein-heavy food.

If you are in doubt about whether or not your bird is getting enough protein in their diet, check with their veterinarian before you make any significant diet changes. Giving your bird a small piece of meat as a treat or a snack is okay, but if you are thinking about changing their diet, ask a professional if it is safe for your bird first.

Other Kitchen Foods to Feed a Bird

If you’re just looking for a treat or snack for your bird, there are plenty of other great options besides meat that you probably already have in your kitchen.

Some great foods to give to your bird can include:

  • Cooked pasta
  • Cooked rice
  • Berries
  • Oats
  • Nuts

Make sure that when you are giving your bird anything from your regular human kitchen, you are only giving them in moderation.

The best food to give your bird is something that is formulated for them. Only give other foods as occasional treats, and not as a replacement for a balanced diet that you can find in pet stores.

Stale Food

While you should never give your bird rotten, moldy, or expired food, stale food is safe to feed them. If you have food such as cooked pasta, rice, or cheese that has gone stale, it can make a good treat for a bird.

Giving your bird stale food helps to eliminate some kitchen waste if you were otherwise going to throw it away. Birds will not care that the food is stale, as a human might.

If you have a lot of stale food that is safe for birds to eat, you could consider adding it to a bird feeder outside. Birds that live around your house will also enjoy these small snacks and it will help to reduce the amount of food waste in your household.


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