Can Turtles Eat Chicken

Pet turtles are interesting creatures.  Their diet is probably one of the most important factors that can directly improve or deteriorate their life. Among so many products you can give your turtle, there is also chicken and other meat. So, can turtles eat chicken? Let’s find out!

Yes, turtles can definitely eat chicken. However, depending on the type of turtle you have, you should keep the amount of chicken at a certain level. If your turtle is carnivorous, for example, its diet can consist of chicken for more than 50%. Otherwise, you need to rationalize the chicken dose properly. 

Read the article below to find out more about how and why you should feed your turtle chicken meat. 

Food Preferences

It is very important for a turtle owner to feed their turtle according to its food preferences. While an omnivorous turtle can basically eat everything, a carnivorous turtle will simply die of starvation if you won’t give it enough meat. 

Can Carnivorous Turtles Eat Chicken?

Yes, carnivorous turtles eat chicken. Their diet consists only of meat and leafy greens. Some occasional fruits as treats are a thing only if your turtle accepts that. However, the chicken shouldn’t be the main dish. After all, turtles are reptiles and you should feed them with products that are found in water. 

Leatherback sea turtles, softshell turtles, and snapping turtles are only a few examples of carnivorous turtles that would love to eat some delicious chicken meat. 

Can Omnivorous Turtles Eat Chicken?

Yes, omnivorous turtles eat chicken. However, while carnivorous turtles are eating mainly meat, omnivorous turtles would love to eat some fruits and vegetables. Also, don’t forget about insects and even commercial turtle food. Omnivorous turtles require a balanced diet and, you should know that chicken is not the first product they encounter in the wilderness. 

Therefore, you should have a limit of weekly chicken you can give to your turtle. Also, remember to cook your turtle in order to avoid serious health problems after that. 

Can Herbivorous Turtles Eat Chicken?

No, herbivorous turtles won’t eat chicken. It is not the best idea to feed chicken meat to a turtle that eats only herbs, veggies, and fruits. Their digestive system is simply not adapted to this kind of product and, if you’ll get lucky and your turtle won’t get sick, it will definitely not get all the nutrients from the chicken. 

Is Chicken Bad for Turtles?

No, chicken isn’t bad for turtles. However, there are some things to discuss first. 

Chicken is actually bad for herbivorous turtles. This kind of turtle isn’t able to properly digest meat and chicken in particular. Therefore, you shouldn’t feed herbivorous turtle chicken meat. 

However, if you have an omnivorous or a carnivorous turtle, you shouldn’t worry about feeding it with some chicken. Chicken meat is high in protein and low in calories. As a consequence of that, you can build a well-balanced diet using chicken meat as a main dish and fruits and veggies as some treats or as an addition to the main dish. 

Related Articles:

Can Turtles Eat Raw Chicken?

No, turtles cannot eat raw chicken and there are some dangerous consequences of raw chicken in a turtle’s diet. Here are the most important and risky ones. 

What Part of a Chicken is Best for Turtles?

four plates with different chicken parts

To be honest, all the parts of a chicken are good for turtles if properly cooked. Chicken breast is high in protein and other nutrients. However, the problem with it is that the meat is a little dry and can be flaking in water. 

The solution to that is chicken legs. Even if boiled, their meat isn’t flaking as much as the breast. On top of that, their meat is filled with beneficial nutrients and proteins. Nevertheless, remember that chicken legs are fatter than chicken breast so, remember to remove the skin. 

How to Prepare Chicken for Turtles?

The best way to prepare chicken for the turtle is by simply boiling the meat. Don’t add seasoning. Even salt would be a bad idea for your turtle. Just plain boiled chicken is perfect. 

Also, remember to remove the skin if you bought chicken legs or wings. The skin is too fat for your turtle and it could not be the best idea to feed chicken meat with chicken skin. 

Why Raw Chicken is Bad for Your Turtle?

raw chicken breasts on a plate

High in Collagen

While cooked chicken meat is relatively easy to digest, raw chicken is practically impossible to digest for a turtle. Their digestive tract isn’t adapted to the high collagen content of a raw piece of chicken meat. 

Collagen is an excellent source of protein. However, for your turtle, is better to cook it before feeding. 

Imbalanced Phosphore/Calcium Ratio

Raw chicken doesn’t have the best calcium-phosphorous ratio out there. In fact, 100 grams of chicken contains 213 mg of phosphorous and only 5 mg of calcium. Feeding your turtle raw chicken every day would be devastating just because of this parameter. 

A normal calcium-phosphorus ratio should be 2:1. There is no way raw chicken can deliver the needed amount of calcium in order for your turtle to thrive. 

Risk of Catching Salmonella

Raw chicken and, in general, raw meat, carry a lot of different bacteria such as Salmonella and campylobacteria that will mess your turtle’s health up. Plus, once it contaminates your turtle, it can easily get to you. Therefore, try to cook your turtle’s chicken before feeding it. 

Also, raw chicken is very low in nutrients. Your turtle digestive tract simply can’t absorb all the beneficial nutrients from raw chicken, it hasn’t evolved enough. On top of that, raw chicken causes indigestion and other digestive tract health issues. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to the most popular questions regarding this topic.

Can I Give My Red-Eared Slider Raw Chicken?

No, under no circumstances should you feed your red-eared slider raw chicken. Not only will it have no nutritional benefits but also will increase the risk of catching some diseases, indigestion, and other problems that will mess your turtle’s health up. Just take your time and hard boil the chicken. 

Also read: Red Eared Slider Turtle [Complete Care Guide]

Can Box Turtles Eat Chicken?

Yes, box turtles can eat chicken. Box turtles are omnivorous, their diet consists of 50% animal protein and 50% veggies and fruits. Nevertheless, chicken meat is not the best source of animal protein for them. It would be better for their health if you fed them snails, shrimp, and worms. 

Can Painted Turtles Eat Chicken?

Yes, in small amounts, painted turtles can eat boiled or steamed chicken. You should remember the fact that, in the wilderness, chicken is not a part of their diet. As a consequence, you might encounter some digestive tract problems if you feed a painted turtle chicken. 

Can Turtles Eat Chicken Liver?

While chicken liver has high amounts of vitamin A and iron, you might think that it is a good idea to feed such nutritious products to your turtle. No, it is not. Chicken liver is too high in nutrients and can cause gastrointestinal problems if you feed them regularly. 

Can Snapping Turtles Eat Raw Chicken?

No, snapping turtles cannot eat raw chicken. Not only can’t they properly digest the chicken and absorb all the nutrients but also there is a high risk of infections and indigestion. It is not the best idea to feed your turtle chicken. 


Now you know that boiled chicken is good for your turtle. However, remember to check if your turtle is at least omnivorous before feeding it some chicken or any other meat. Also, don’t try raw chicken or any other animal product. The only things a turtle should eat raw are veggies and fruits. 

Dorothy Razo

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