Can Chickens Eat Hot Dogs? Yes, but…

Hot dogs are among the most popular, iconic foods in American homes. No BBQ, family gathering, camping trip, or tailgating is complete without the sizzling sandwiches with the delish hotdogs inside.

BBQ’s and other feasts usually end with a ton of leftovers. Being a chicken owner you will certainly be thinking, “I wonder if my chickens can eat hot dogs”.

Chickens eat almost anything. They’re omnivores with a healthy appetite and an intuition to not eat anything harmful to them. So the answer is yes and they love them. Although there are many benefits for your chickens eating high-protein food like hot dogs, there are also things to be aware of so you can help feed them a balanced diet. Sit back and let us give you the most detailed explanation you’ve ever seen about chickens eating hot dogs.

Can Chickens Eat Hot Dogs?

From practical experience, any poultry breeder, or us backyard farm enthusiasts, know that their chickens love hot dogs! It seems that the soft texture, spicy taste, and meat content really get them excited. Being omnivores, chickens always welcome a hearty meal of an animal origin.

There’s a balance though. Hot dogs aren’t exactly healthy foods, and the main ingredient that gives them value is protein. The other not-so-good ingredients include fats, salts, and depending on what quality of sausage you’re using, there could be a bunch of other chemicals.

Generally speaking, processed food isn’t the best substance to offer chickens, or humans, for that matter. The occasional treat might be acceptable, but consistently including hot dogs in the chickens’ feeds might not be a good idea.

In addition to the usual concerns related to the fat, sodium, and caloric content, hot dogs also contain nitrate and nitrite salts. These substances are often used as preservatives, but since they were shown to be associated with cancer propensity, it’s recommended to minimize their consumption.

So overall, yes you can feed your chickens hot dogs. But do so as a treat rather than a regular part of their diet!

The Nutritional Benefit of Hot Dog for Chickens

Hot dogs have gained a bad rep in recent years owing to the number of unhealthy ingredients in that food. However, there’s some good healthy stuff in hot dogs too.

Here are the nutritional facts of what a piece of a hot dog contains:

  • 7 gm protein
  • 17 gm fat
  • 1.8 gm carbs
  • 493.1 mg sodium
  • 34.8 mg cholesterol
  • Vitamin B2, B3, B6, and B12
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • Iron
  • Copper

The protein, minerals, and vitamins are clearly pretty good. But this little piece of hot dog has 189 calories, zero fiber, too much sodium, and loads of fats. In excess, these substances could affect the chicken’s health negatively.  In general, you should avoid as many artificial ingredients that come in things like processed meat. Hot dogs are at the tip of unhealthy, but safe foods to feed your chickens. Anything further such as fast foods like Mcdonalds for your chickens should generally be avoided.

Other High-Protein Foods That Chickens Can Eat

High protein Chicken Seeds

As chickens are naturally omnivores they won’t turn down a chance at adding meat or other high protein foods to their diets.

Other high-protein foods that chickens will love like hot hogs, but without as much sodium and fats are:

Cooked Eggs

  • Hard boil some eggs, chop them up and feed them to your backyard chickens. Cooked eggs are a great high-protein nutritious table scrap for your chickens.


  • Fish like sardines, tuna, or other oily fish are rich in protein and have healthy Omega 3 fats.


  • Dried mealworms are high in protein, have great nutritional value, and are a perfect treat that will gather the whole backyard farm. Believe me, your chickens will go crazy for them!

High Protein Bird Feed

  • Most commercially made chicken feed has about 10% protein which is a sufficient amount. But, some other feeds will be naturally higher in protein, such as layer pellets. If you want to give your chickens a boost of protein you can even feed your chickens game bird feed.

Other Sources Of Protein

Benefits Of High-Protein Foods For Chickens

The benefits of eating high-protein foods, along with a balanced diet, include the following:

  • Increasing the muscle mass of the chickens
  • Ensuring proper and quick growth
  • Keeping the chickens’ bones and joints strong and flexible
  • Improving the chickens’ immunity and resistance to disease
  • Boosting the chickens’ cognitive abilities
  • The chickens’ feathers often look shiny and glam with a good dose of protein
  • Decreasing the aggressive tendencies associated with a poor diet
  • Optimizing the various physiologic processes required for healthy chicken
  • Keeping the chickens warm during the cold season
  • The quality of the meat is better, and the yolk in the egg is enriched.

For a full detailed guide, check out all our topics on what table scraps chickens can eat.

Final Thoughts: Chickens Eating Hot Dogs

I did this research before I gave my chickens leftover hot dogs for the first time because I wanted to be sure it wasn’t going to be harmful to them — knowing they would scoff it down like they do with almost everything.

Just like any table scraps you give your chickens, it’s always best to consider how much of the nutrient content they actually need. In this case, I wouldn’t be feeding my chickens hot dogs every day, but once a month or longer wouldn’t do any harm. In fact, the high protein content would even be good for them so long as they are also having a balanced diet.

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