Can Chickens Eat Sardines? A Look At The Nutritional Value

Chickens make great pets and many people use them as garbage disposals feeding them table scraps and other types of leftovers. They have a unique digestive system that allows them to eat most types of foods. These omnivores are usually eating worms, and bugs they find on the ground. But what about sardines? Are they safe for chickens and should you feed it to them?

Can Chickens Eat Sardines? Yes, and they will love the taste! Sardines, tuna, and other canned fish are a great source of protein, and omega3 fatty acids. Avoid feeding your chickens sardines that are loaded with additives such as salt, oils, or sauces.

When I first started researching this topic, there wasn’t a whole lot of information online. I personally wanted to know if I could feed my pet chickens sardines. I’ll share what I’ve gathered from a variety of online resources and share it with you in one place.

Chickens love eating tuna and fish as well. Here’s how to feed chickens tuna safely.

Will Chickens Eat Sardines?

should chickens eat sardines
Chickens love sardines and fish, and will eat it up quickly.

Yes, chickens will eat pretty much anything and they will go crazy over sardines, tuna, or any other type of canned fish.

There are literally 5 different types of sardines that are canned for eating. Let’s take a look at what they are:

  • Herring, a large type found in North Atlantic.
  • Slender white sardines, inhabit off the Gulf of Thailand
  • Pilchard – a small fish found in Europe.
  • Brisling sardine: inhabits North Atlantic and considered one of the best sardines on the market.
  • Slender rainbow: found in South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.

If it’s safe for human consumption, it will be fine for chickens. Sardines are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that are beneficial for chickens.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s inside a can.

Sardine Nutritional Information

One cup drained (149g) Atlantic Sardines In Oil contain:

Calcium569 mg
Protein36.7 grams
Vitamin A161 IU
Vitamin D405 IU
Folate17.9 mcg
Iron4.4 mg
Sodium752 mg
Vitamin B1213.3 mcg
Choline127 mg
Potassium592 mg
Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids2205 mg
Total Omega-6 Fatty Acids5280 mg
Phosporous730 mg
Vitamin K3.9 mcg


Are Sardines Safe for Chickens?

There is a lot of protein in fish, which makes it a great thing for your pet chickens. Extra protein can help your chickens lay bigger eggs, improve the hatch rate, and keep your flock healthy.

According to this online forum, many people feed their chickens extra protein during the breeding season. That being said, if your chickens eat too much, it could make their poop runny.

Chickens have a big appetite, but you don’t have to worry about them eating themselves to death.

Sardines are also high in salt, so it should never be a part of their daily diet.

Can Chickens Eat Cooked Sardines?

Yes, chickens can have cooked sardines as a snack. Many people don’t like eating sardines raw because of the taste. If you’re planning on throwing them on the grill or the skillet to share with your chickens, cook with as bland as possible.

Unlike you, the chickens don’t mind the fishy taste. Don’t add any salt, butter, lemon, or oils to the your chicken’s portion. Keep reading to see how to feed your flock sardines.

What About The Ones Soaked In Tomato Sauce?

It’s easy to think that chickens can eat tomato sauce, after all chickens can eat tomatoes. However, tomato sauce can have harmful spices that can be toxic to your flock.

Here’s a list of sardines that are not only healthy, but are soaked in water and contain little or no salt.

BrandType of SardinesSoaked In
BrunswickHerringSpring Water
Ocean PrincePilchardWater
Wild Planet North PacificWater
Safe CatchEastern Central WatersWater

How to Feed Chickens Sardines?

Chickens are not picky eaters, so it shouldn’t be hard to get them to eat sardines or any other type of fish. The hardest part. will be how. to give it to them without making a huge mess and how to ensure your whole flock gets a taste.

When shopping for sardines to feed your chickens, buy the cans that say “no salt added” or “unsalted.” The ones soaked in spring water are safer for your chickens.

Also pay attention to the amount of mercury in the can. According to Rainbow Ranch Farms, high amounts of mercury and radiation can affect the quality of the chickens eggs.

If you have a can of salted sardines in your pantry, run them under water before feeding them to your chickens.

Whenever we give our chickens food, we always spread it out to make sure that all the chickens have a chance to eat. For something like fish, we recommend breaking up the sardines into small pieces and putting it into a bowl.

This will allow all your chickens to have a chance to get a taste. How many cans you need will depend on how many chickens you have.

If sardines are too expensive to give to your pets, then consider feeding them mackerel, which costs less and is just as good for them.

Limit the Amount of Sardines Fed to Baby Chicks

Because of the high nutritional value of value in a can of sardines, it is perfectly fine to feed your baby chicks, as long as they are older than 6 weeks old.

Young chicks need a high protein diet in order to grow properly. Sardines are loaded with protein and other nutritional vitamins and minerals.

That being said, young chicks should be fed a high protein chicken starter feed that contains all the nutrients they require. I’d recommend feeding your chicks a high quality feed and wait until they are at least a year old before feeding them human food.

You’ll have plenty of time to feed them human food as they age.

What About Moldy Sardines?

It goes without saying that you should never feed your chickens rotten or spoiled sardines. Unlike fish, it can be hard to tell whether a can of sardines have gone bad.

It’s easier to tell when a fresh sardine is bad, than the canned variety. If you notice a rotten or unusual odor, throw them away.

Other Types of Food That Are Good For Your Chickens

I realize that chickens will eat pretty much anything you give them. Here’s a list of some foods that they will love and are actually good for them.

Final Word

Chickens can eat both raw and cooked sardines, and there are many benefits in doing so.

Sardines are abundant in high quality protein, vitamins, and minerals that will make a great addition to their diet.

There are several types of sardines to choose from, it’s best to choose the ones that are unsalted, low in fat, and don’t have any harmful additives that can be toxic to your pets.

Avoid feeding them sardines everyday. Always monitor your chickens and if your chickens have an adverse reaction or allergic reactions, stop feeding it to them and contact your veterinarian.