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Can Chickens Eat Ham?

Can Chickens Eat Ham

Feeding chickens isn’t big of a task. These birds aren’t picky about food and will eat mostly whatever is available. But to give them a break from their basic chicken diet, you can add interesting treats from time to time. 

Food like veggies and fruits are common additions to the chicken’s diet, but what about other food like hams? Can chickens eat ham? Chickens can eat hams; since these are omnivorous birds, they will eat both plant and non-plant-based food. 

But the question is should you feed chickens ham? You can feed chickens ham but only once in a while. Hams are processed food, meaning they are high on sodium, so if chickens eat them regularly, they will face serious health issues. 

Here is a detailed guide on how to feed ham to chickens, its potential benefits, side effects, and more. 

Do Chickens Eat Ham? 

Yes, chickens eat ham. In fact, chickens would never leave any food uneaten. As a flock owner, I have never seen my birds saying no to food unless they are sick, so there is a fair chance chicken will eat hams as well. 

Do Chickens Eat Ham

Should You Feed Chicken Hams?

As I mentioned earlier, hams aren’t good as an everyday food. All processed food be it ham, sausages, salami, etc., are not to be included in standard chickens’ diet

Processed food like hams contains too much salt, which is harmful to your birds’ health. So they should eat very small quantities of ham every now and then. Don’t provide them as straps or a regular diet if you don’t want to see your birds suffering. 

Also, ham is very high in fat content. Chickens don’t need a very high-fat diet, so feeding them too much ham may lead to bloating and unnecessary weight gain. 

You can allow very small portions of ham once a week. But don’t give them rotten or molded hams. Also, don’t let the ham remain for too long in the coop. Food like ham becomes stale easily if you don’t keep it in the freezer. 

You should not keep ham or other processed meat outside the freezer for more than three hours. The bacteria formation starts taking place, which makes the food dangerous for not only the birds but for humans too.

Which Type of Ham Is Best for Chickens?

Hams come in different varieties like- highly seasoned hams, smoked hams, boiled hams, etc. But the best type of ham to offer your chickens should not have high sodium, spices, or highly smoked. 

You should look for plain uncooked ham as you can simply boil it in water and feed your birds. It’s better to avoid highly processed food as much as possible, so always try finding out the plain varieties. 

Which Type of Ham Is Best for Chickens

Do Chickens Really Need Meat in Their Diet? 

No chickens don’t necessarily need meat in their diet. Chickens eat bugs, worms, and other insects when they are roaming in your backyard, so you don’t have to feed them meat. Plus, chickens don’t really need a rich protein diet. 

However, letting them have tiny portions of meat once in a while isn’t a bad idea. A balanced diet is important to let your birds grow healthy, so you can feed them a variety of food in moderation. 

Types of Meat Chickens Can Eat 

Below mentioned is the list of meat that’s safe to feed chickens, but they must not be highly seasoned, should be low on sodium, and lastly, they are good as occasional treats only. 

  • Ground beef 
  • Cooked chicken meat 
  • Steak 
  • Sausages 
  • Lamb meat
  • Turkey 
  • Pork 
  • Organ meat like- liver, heart, kidney, etc. 

Other Food To Add To Your Chickens Diet: Not Meat 

Here are some other healthy foods you can feed your chickens apart from meat. Let’s check the list- 

  • Apple 
  • Apple cores or apple seed 
  • Banana peels 
  • Bell peppers 
  • Brussels sprouts 
  • Orange peels 
  • Sunflower seeds 
  • Green peppers 
  • Cooked beans 
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Raw carrots 
  • Beets 
  • Celery 
  • Cherries 
  • Chia seeds 
  • Cilantro 
  • Chives 
  • Chilies 
  • Coconut 
  • Corn 
  • Corn Husk 
  • Cucumber 
  • Cheese (occasionally) 
  • Dog food 
  • Flaxseed
  • Lettuce 
  • Oats 
  • Oatmeal 
  • Papaya 
  • Pumpkin 
  • Pumpkin seeds 

As you can see, the options to feed chickens are many. Feed everything in moderation so that your birds don’t get bored of their diet and get all the necessary nutrients.

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Carlos Warren

Growing up in Texas, I was fascinated by the world of science and invention, thanks in large part to my father's work at Dow Chemical Company. However, my true passion lay in the natural world, and I became an expert in organic gardening and composting at a young age. I spent hours studying the microbiological communities in our family garden, using a microscope to define the quality of the soil. My love for farming and gardening led me to explore new techniques and methods, constantly pushing the boundaries of what was possible.