Are chickens carnivores, raptors?

Chicken is a wonderful animal to raise or keep as pets. When it comes to food, they can eat almost anything their owners feed them, and they aren’t complaining about it.

Looking at a chicken’s body, you may think that they can’t consume animal-based food, but they can eat worms, mice, and some small bugs and animals. So are chickens carnivores, raptors?

Are chickens carnivores, raptors?

Chickens are not carnivores since they can eat and consume both plants and animal-based food just fine. Chickens are not raptors since hunting animals isn’t their main habit of getting food.

As mentioned, chickens’ food range is quite large. It is somewhat similar to humans’ food range, which covers both plants and animal-based food. Chickens aren’t carnivores or raptors; they are in fact omnivores.

Chickens are neither carnivore nor raptors
Chickens are neither carnivore nor raptors

Why aren’t chickens carnivores or raptors?

What are carnivores?

Carnivores are animals that can eat and consume mostly animal-based food. As such, their digestive systems are designed to efficiently process and consume meat, not plants, so they can’t digest plants properly.

Keep in mind that the animal source can come from animals from different species or from their own species. Cannibalism is when animals eat animals from the same species.

Also, being carnivores doesn’t mean they entirely can’t eat plants. But carnivores require sufficient amounts of nutrients coming from animal meat in order to survive.

To accommodate their eating habits, carnivores have developed certain body parts for effective hunting prey, crushing food to aid digestion. For example long or sharp claws to damage and capture the prey and sharp teeth to crush the meat into smaller processes for digestion.

What are omnivores?

Omnivores are animals that can eat and digest both plants and animal-based food properly, which makes chickens omnivores since their food range is large and contain both plants and some small-sized animals.

Although chickens can eat lots of animals and plants, keep in mind that some of the food is toxic to chickens, so try to avoid feeding toxic food to your chickens like chocolate, coffee, avocado skins and pits, and more.

In the wild, omnivores will have a higher chance of finding food compared to carnivores or herbivores since they can consume whatever plants or animals present in their surroundings.

Just like carnivores, omnivores’ digestive system also adapted to process and consume plants and animals properly.

Further reading: Are chickens omnivores?

What are raptors?

Raptors, or birds of prey, are bird species that mainly hunt and eat vertebrates. Chickens have this behavior to some extent, but what sets raptors apart from chickens is that the prey is bigger than the bird itself in size.

Raptors are threats to chickens
Raptors are threats to chickens


These animals often have very good vision to detect the prey while they’re flying or from a distance. They also have strong talons to grab the prey firmly or even kill it, and very powerful beaks to tear the flesh off the prey.

They don’t stop at normal prey. Some birds like vultures, condors, and fish eagles eat decaying may from dead animals.

Are chickens raptors? It’s the opposite, they are considered prey by those raptors.

How to protect your chickens from raptors

You might think it is funny or even unlikely that a raptor can casually fly down, grab your baby chicks, and fly away. But this happens all the time.

Animals like red-shouldered hawks, red-tailed hawks, eagles, or even owls can wait anywhere near the coop and make their moves once the chance is present. So it is important to identify and remove the threats to ensure safety for your chickens.

Here is what you can do to protect your chickens from raptors

Identify the threats from raptors

The first detectable sign that a raptor may attack your chickens is scouting birds. These birds of prey like eagles, hawks, and owls would observe the prey first before they attack.

The scouting behavior can be raptors flying around in circles above the chickens or their coop. That is a very high chance of the raptors wanting to know if your chickens can be potential prey.

They won’t try to attack right away, they will keep on observing and wait for a perfect moment before making their strike, or sometimes they even dive down and grab your chicks in your plain sight.

When attacking, the raptors’ talons will cause puncture wounds to chickens and the chickens will lose some feathers. Once they have plucked the chickens’ feathers between the necks and the breasts cleanly, the raptors will eat the chickens.

Prevent the raptors’ attacks

First of all, don’t try to catch or kill the raptors when they are attacking your chickens since it is illegal to do so. If this is a serious concern, you should call the local wildlife officers to work out a solution.

Alternatively, you can get roosters for your flock. Roosters can deter attacks from the raptors, or even try to fight back to death if necessary. More importantly, they can observe around the coop and warn the flock (and you as well) about a potential threat.

While you can’t fend off the raptors yet, keep your chickens in a safe and secure coop with a roof that can withstand attacks from the raptors.


So, are chickens carnivores, raptors? Chickens are neither carnivores nor raptors. Instead they are omnivores.

Chickens are not carnivores since they can eat, process, and consume both plants and animals-based food properly, which makes them omnivores. Their food range is quite large as a result.

Chickens are not raptors. While chickens do go around and find worms, mice, or small bugs to eat, raptors hunt and eat prey that is relatively later than them in size.

Concerningly, chickens can sometimes be prey for raptors like hawks, eagles, or owls. When dealing with raptors grabbing chickens and flying away, you should first identify the raptors, then contact a wildfire officer for solutions, and consider keeping your chickens in a safe coop.


Image credits – Photo by Chatnarin Pramnapan, Mathew Schwartz, CHUTTERSNAP on