People often think that since squirrels mainly eat nuts and seeds, they are herbivorous. Interestingly, the diet of a squirrel goes beyond just nuts and plants. The little rodents are omnivores, so their diet includes both plant and animal matter.
Going by the above, you may be wondering, can squirrels eat chickens?
The knowledge that squirrels eat chicken eggs is relatively popular. Interestingly, they sometimes go beyond eating just chicken eggs and go after chicken meat.
In some cases, squirrels have been recorded eating meat from carcasses. However, this typically occurs only when they are exceedingly hungry.
In the rest of this article, we talk about the safety of chicken in the diet of squirrels. We also run through various types of chicken products and verify if squirrels can safely eat them.
Can Squirrels Eat Chicken? Is Chicken Meat Healthy For Them?
Like many other members of the rodent family, squirrels will prey on chickens. Therefore, they can eat chickens.
Generally, they attack smaller chickens. But in desperate times, they may go after larger ones.
Is chicken meat healthy for squirrels?
Chicken meat can be safely eaten by squirrels. However, when chicken meat is modified or prepared with seasonings or other ingredients, it may not be healthy for squirrels anymore.
Below, we verify various chicken preparations to see if they are healthy for squirrels.
Chicken nuggets are not healthy for squirrels because of their high salt content. According to the USDA, 100 grams of chicken nuggets is estimated to contain about 557 mg of sodium. This level of sodium is excessive for the kidney of a squirrel to handle.
The first few times a squirrel eats chicken nuggets, it may experience no issue. But over time, it may suppress their renal function and lead to kidney disease.
Chicken eggs are healthy for squirrels.
Of course, as with many other organisms, protein is essential in squirrels. Protein aids in general physical development. It helps with muscle growth, cellular regeneration, fur and skin growth, and much more.
Chicken bones might just be healthy for squirrels.
Like most rodents, squirrels have teeth that do not stop growing. Since chicken bones are a great source of calcium and phosphorus, they may contribute to the continuous growth of squirrel teeth.
The calcium and phosphorus from chicken bones also help with the development of strong bones.
Furthermore, gnawing on chicken bones may help sharpen the teeth of a squirrel.
This is possible because the posterior part of their teeth is more rigid than the anterior part. So, while gnawing on chicken bones, the back part of the teeth wears away at an angle to the front, making them chisel-like.
Like chicken eggs, chicken meat is healthy for squirrels. It offers them more protein than they can get from the plant matter they typically eat.
Although chicken meat is healthy for squirrels, it can quickly become unhealthy when cooked with high amounts of salt. As we mentioned earlier, excess salt is not okay for squirrels as it may leave them at risk of kidney diseases.
In the absence of excess salt and any other ingredient that may affect squirrels, chicken meat is healthy for squirrels.
As confirmed in this article, squirrels do eat fried chicken. Fried chicken appears to be harmless to squirrels. Nonetheless, the salt content of the fried chicken a squirrel eats is still vital. Too much salt and the fried chicken may harm them with time.
Squirrels can eat raw chickens. In some other animals, eating raw chicken may lead to salmonellosis if the chicken meat is infected.
However, this is unlikely to happen in rodents like squirrels and rats. These rodents carry the salmonella bacteria, and they release them in their droppings.
If these droppings get in chicken feeders, the chickens will most likely become infected. In other words, squirrels, rats, and similar rodents are why chickens get salmonella in the first place. These rodents are carriers, and they do not get affected by the bacteria.
Nutrition Facts of Chicken Meat
Generally, chicken meat contains the following nutrients:
Protein – This supports the growth and development of various body tissues in squirrels.
Fat – Generally, chicken meat contains more unsaturated fats than saturated fats. And saturated fats are known to reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Apart from that, fat is pretty beneficial to squirrels in winter; it helps them to survive the drop in temperature that comes with the season.
Most parts of a chicken contain little or no carbs – just protein and fat.
Apart from protein and fat, chicken meat may also contain the following vitamins and minerals:
- Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
- Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
- Cobalamin (Vitamin 12)
- Vitamin A
Squirrels can eat chicken feed, chicken eggs, and sometimes, they even eat chickens. They typically prey on younger and smaller chickens. But in extreme situations, they may attack larger birds.
Chicken meat is generally safe for squirrels. However, it may become unhealthy when it contains high levels of salt.