Chickens Ate Dead Bird WHOLE


In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
I am more new to this BYC thing, I've had Jackson, my RIR for almost two years, and I've had Butters, my Buff Orphington for about 10 months. Today, I had let them out in the garden and thought nothing of it. I always check on them every half hour or so since we have falcons in the area (I've seen one resting on top of our coop!). They were fighting over something, chasing each other and grabbing something out of each others mouths. I got up close and realized it was a half of a DEAD BIRD. I have NO idea where or how they found this thing, but it was DISGUSTING!! butters freaked out when i ran up and was trying to chase her down, so she swallowed the thing whole, even the little LEG! she was actually choking on the little leg, but finally barfed it out and re-ate it! then Jackson had found another chunk with another leg somewhere else in the garden. Jackson tends to just lay down when she knows she is caught and luckily, i had a hand shovel near by and got some of it out of her mouth. I have not had ANY issues with these girls eating each other, or their eggs for that matter... is this normal? has anyone ever seen their chickens do something this disgusting? I am also worried about how those feathers and the leg are going to digest in their tummies. And the eggs? are they safe to eat? is there a possibility a disease could be caught if that was the reason this little bird died????
It's perfectly normal, most chickens will eat things that won't eat them first. My birds eat mice/moles, snakes, lizards, and raw meat scraps when we clean deer. I'm sure the feathers and leg will digest fine, my chickens will sometimes eat molted feathers without incident. The eggs should be fine to eat. I'm not sure about disease transfer, however.
Also, you probably would get more help if this was in the chicken behaviors, egglaying section, not the forum information and FAQ.
I'm sure a mod will help you get it moved.
Last edited:
x2 I wouldn't worry about it. They have probably eaten other critters that you never even knew about. I have seen mine swallow mice. If it were me I would eat the eggs.
Chickens are omnivores and anything living is fair game as long as it doesn't pose a threat. It might be disgusting to think about (or see) but it is natural. Chickens will eat other chickens if they are injured, dying or's survival of the fittest and just another protein source to them. I don't know if you're a vegetarian, and I don't mean to offend or be vulgar.
My chickens eat everything that they can catch. The other day, they found a vole and the game was joined. There was this black snake in the early summer, the raw food they took away from the dog last week. I don't see chipmunks in the back yard any more.

I'm sure that they will be fine.

Ditto here. This is our second year with birds and last year was quite a learning experience. We have seen them eat mice, snakes and frogs. We had one hen who located a 5 foot black snake in the pasture and was "standing guard" over it. I thought something was wrong with her but when I walked up and saw the snake I understood. She was mearly tryng to determine if she could choke the thing down!!!
well, I'm glad its normal. I never really thought that they could be meat eaters, since it seems like we feed them a vegetarian diet. But thanks for all the reassurance!
They are definitely omnivores. If you look at the ingredients of your feed it is probably somewhere between 16% and 20% with animal protein. Some foods substitute soy but animal is common and often prefered. I also feed lots of mealworms. lol.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom