Can chickens eat fish bones?

Chicken is a wonderful animal to raise. It can eat lots of veggies, seeds, fruits, as well as some animals. it can eat most things you feed them, even the leftover foods from your meals.

As a result, chickens can clean up your wasted food quite effectively, but chickens can’t eat everything. Can chickens eat fish bones? They can. Fish bones are quite nutritious, especially for hens.

Can chickens eat fish bones?

Chickens can eat most human food, even waste just fine, and fish bones are no exception. However, since fish bones are sharp and have different sizes, they might pose a problem when your chickens swallow them.

Generally, large, sharp bones have a bigger risk since they are easier to get stuck at your chicken’s throat. This can cause damage to the throat, which is bad even for a human.

But that is an easy problem to prevent, just filter out large and sharp bone from your chickens’ treat. You can also break the bones into small pieces, then serve them to your chickens.

Alternatively, you could serve your chicken sardines since their bones are easy to chew. The bones are also small and crumble easily so you won’t have to worry about the risks of fish bones to your chickens.

That said, fishes and fish bones are packed with nutrients. Fish is already a very healthy treat to feed your chickens, with added minerals from fish bones it would make a nutrient-packed treat.

Related: Can chickens eat cooked chickens?

Fishes’ health benefits

fish bones

Fish bones – Image Credit by CHICHI WANG

Heart and brain benefits

Fishes contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acid. The omega-3 fatty acid amount is especially high in fatty fish. You can choose fishes like salmon, herring, sardines, trout, oysters, and more.

For raw tuna fish, the amount of omega-3 fatty acid is 0.1g per 100g

Omega-3 fatty acid keeps the chicken’s heart healthy by lowering the blood pressure, therefore reducing the risk of heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms, stroke, and sudden death.

For the brain, omega-3 fatty acid keeps the brain function healthily and helps with vision development and nerve during pregnancy. Omega-3 fatty acid also helps reduce the risk of arthritis and might prevent inflammation.

A high amount of protein

This is a notable feature of many types of animal meat, and fishes are no exception. Fishes contain high amounts of protein, for raw tuna, the amount is 24g per 100g.

Protein is one of the most crucial nutrients not only in chickens but also in many other animals. It plays an important role in the growth of eggs and the molting process where they need lots of protein to grow feathers.

Protein helps with regulating, repairing, forming, and protecting chickens’ body parts, balancing body fluids, and boosting the immune system.

It is also important for growing muscle in your chickens. This is one of the reasons why fish is high in protein. Lacking protein can cause or tissue shrinkage or fluid retention.

During the winter months, feeding your chickens meat for protein is especially crucial since there are not many bugs and warms outside for the chickens to find.

Calcium in fish bones and many other parts

Fishes contain high amounts of calcium, for example, 4mg per 100g of raw tuna. Calcium helps with bone health and development. At the right amount, calcium can help prevent osteoporosis in chickens.

Calcium is also important for laying hens since it helps form the eggshells. A lack of calcium can result in brittle eggshells.

It also helps with hormone secretion, nerve transmission, muscle function, and vascular function as well.

Chickens can eat fish bones just fine

Chickens can eat fish bones just fine – Image Credit by Andrew Peluso on

Rich in other nutrients

Fishes are rich in nutrients that are essential for your chickens. They include vitamins like folate, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E.

Of all those vitamins, there is folate that helps prevent embryo loss during the incubation’s late state. This is another reason that fishes are suitable for laying hens.

There are also minerals like copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, sodium, and high amounts of minerals like phosphorus at 277mg per 100g and potassium at 441mg per 100g.

The risk of mercury

Even though fishes are great for serving chickens, fishes have the risk of containing mercury, which is bad for both chickens and humans. Some fishes are more likely to contain unhealthy amounts of mercury than others.

For example, fishes like marlin, shark, king mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, and orange roughy are more likely to cause mercury exposure.

Mercury exposure is already bad for humans, and it is worse for chickens since they are smaller than humans.

Can chickens eat cooked fish?

Chickens can consume cooked fish just fine. You can either poach, boil, bake, or grill the fish, but remember not to add oils or seasonings.

For serving, you can feed your chickens fish as a treat or mix them with the chickens’ normal feed. You can chop the fish into smaller pieces or serve the fish as it is.

For the bones, they are large or sharp, remove them from the fish meat and chop them into smaller pieces. If there is a particular bone that you think is too big for the chickens, remove it completely.


So, can chickens eat fish bones? They can, the fish bones are a great source of calcium and phosphorus. However, they may pose a risk as the chickens swallow them.

If the bones are too big for your chickens, you should consider chopping them into small pieces or remove them completely before serving the fish treat to the chickens.

Fish and fish bones contain lots of great nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acid for the heart and brain, a high amount of protein, calcium, and rich in other vitamins and minerals.

Also, when feeding the chickens fish, choose the right species of fish to lower the risk of mercury exposure.