Can Chickens Eat Hamster Food?

Chickens are such beautiful creatures, producing healthy eggs, natural fertilizer for your backyard garden, and ultimate companionship. But, they do eat anything and everything!

Like me, there might have been a few occasions you’ve run out of their normal layer pellets or seed mix, so you start looking around the pantry and refrigerator for something healthy to feed your chooks.

That’s when you see it. You’ve got plenty of hamster food left, but can chickens eat hamster food?

Here’s what you need to know before feeding your chickens hamster food.

Can Chickens Eat Hamster Food?

Hamster food, depending on the mix, is commonly made of a combination of dried vegetables, dried fruits, seeds, nuts, and different types of grasses. All these ingredients are safe for your chickens to eat in normal amounts — so your chickens can eat hamster food.

Chickens need a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, all of which are contained in normal hamster food. But, hamster food doesn’t necessarily contain all the minerals like calcium potassium, magnesium, and iron, which are essential to promote healthy egg production.

So, unlike your chicken’s normal feed, hamster food isn’t specially formulated to cover your chicken’s nutritional needs. For this reason, hamster food shouldn’t be used as a replacement for normal chicken layer pellets or seed mixes. 

However, if you’ve run out of your normal chicken feed, you can feed your chickens hamster food for a few meals before getting more chicken feed. It’s completely safe and does contain a healthy base.

Can Chicks Eat Hamster Food?

Chicks or baby chickens have different nutritional needs than adult chickens. They don’t need nutrients to support egg production, but they do need a high amount of protein for their rapid growth and development.

This is why it’s so important to always use a grower feed or chick starter. These usually contain about 18% protein, enough amino acids to support growth, probiotics, and yeast to support digestive health, and different minerals and vitamins to support bone health and regulate enzyme functions. 

Hamster food doesn’t provide baby chicks or pullets with this kind of support, so it’s important to avoid feeding them hamster food entirely. 

What To Check For Before Feeding Your Chickens Hamster Food

Although chickens can eat most types of hamster food, you should still check a few basic things to be sure it’s going to be safe to feed your chickens:

  • Check the expiration date. Most hamster foods contain fruit and vegetables, so if it’s well past the expiry date they could have turned moldy.
  • If the hamster feed has been stored incorrectly it may have been infiltrated and filled with moth eggs — give it a quick glance for any clear issues.
  • Make sure it’s not hamster treats, but instead normal everyday hamster food. Hamster treats are usually very high in sugar which can be harmful to your chickens if fed in regular amounts.

What Else Can You Feed Your Chickens If You Run Out Of Feed?

Just like with any animal, a balanced diet is a key to a healthy and happy chicken. Most commercial chicken feeds contain a mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fats and include minerals like calcium and potassium, as well as essential vitamins.

So, if you run out of feed for your chickens, you should look to provide them with a similar nutrient intake to the feed.

This can be done by making a feed mix with your own seeds and grains like flax seed, poppy seeds, or sunflower seeds. Seeds and grains provide a good balance of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates.

You can add some vegetables such as broccoli, snap peas, beets, or eggplant, etc. Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Fruits are great to add in too, but shouldn’t be used in high amounts as they often contain high sugar content. However, in normal amounts fruits are perfectly healthy for your chickens, providing a wide range of benefits. 

There are plenty of other safe table scraps you can feed your chickens too. The important thing is to try to avoid too many processed foods, or foods high in sugar or salt. As a temporary substitute, you can feed your chickens other animal feeds, like all stock feed, parakeet food, or hamster food.


Hamster feed is made of seeds, fruits, vegetables, and grass, all of which are safe for your chickens to consume in normal amounts. But, hamster food should only be used as a temporary, substitute meal or a treat, as it hasn’t been formulated to account for the dietary needs of your chickens.

It’s best to use a well-balanced seed mix or high-quality layer pellets to account for 90% of your chicken’s regular diet to ensure a happy and healthy backyard chicken.

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