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What Do Roosters Eat?

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One of the most outstanding features of roosters is their iconic crow that starts moments before the sun is about to rise.  These male chickens are also known as cockerels. There are a great many species of chicken and some rooster species are quite vibrant in color.  

These male birds can be quite dominant.  They love to sit on high perches to keep a lookout over their grounds and they enjoy picking fights with other roosters, animals, or even humans so they can protect their hens.  

Their dominant attitude towards other roosters is what inspired cockfighting – a very illegal and vile betting sport where two roosters were placed together to fight while crowds placed their bets.  

What Do Roosters Eat?

Roosters, like female chickens, are omnivores and they do eat the same basic foods as hens or other chickens.  They have quite a diverse diet.  Here is a quick look at some of the best foods to offer your rooster;

Chicken feed

Roosters can be raised and kept on chicken feed.  There are lots of different types of chicken feeds out there.  The type of feed you offer can affect the health and growth rate of your rooster.  Here is a quick look at some of the most important chicken feeds you can offer your rooster;

Starter feed – Small chicks all need to be raised on a starter feed.  This feed usually contains 20 – 24% protein and is quite fine.  This feed is ideal for roosters aged 1 – 20 weeks old.

Grower feed – Roosters aged 6 – 20 weeks can be switched over to a grower feed.  This feed usually contains 16-18% protein.  Grower feeds are specially designed to help your rooster grow fast.  This feed can be offered to roosters that you choose to keep for breeding purposes and for roosters that you might want to raise for their meat.  Roosters that are kept for breeding purposes do however receive smaller amounts of grower feed to prevent them from growing obese.


Chicken scratch – Adult roosters can be fed on chicken scratch.  These foods usually contain a combination of grains, seeds, and plant matter.  There are lots of different chicken scratches available on the market.  Some rooster owners prefer a mixed scratch that contains whole or cracked seeds while others prefer to offer a pellet chicken scratch.  


Roosters can also eat a huge variety of plants.  They may forage and nibble at various plants in your garden.  Here is a quick look at some of the best plant foods to offer roosters;

Fruits – Fresh fruits such as tomatoes, oranges, grapefruits, grapes, lemons, guava, and many others can be offered to roosters.  They love to peck at these fruits but might find it hard to get through orange shells.  If you are offering your roster oranges, it is best to cut these fruits.

Vegetables – You can offer your rooster lots of fresh leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, lettuce, turnip, herbs, and other veggies.  Roosters are also happy to eat harder veggies such as carrots, pumpkin, potato, and sweet potato if these foods are cooked and cooled for them.

Grass and leaves – Roosters can also peck at other green plants such as grass, soft green leaves, and other young plants they might find growing in the garden.  They are especially fond of pecking at herbs.  

Seeds, nuts, and grains

Roosters love all sorts of seeds, nuts, and grains.  These foods are often included in chicken scratches.  You can offer your rooster a variety of seeds such as peas, beans, corn, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, chestnuts, and hazelnuts.  They also enjoy eating grains like oats, barley, buckwheat, corn, and bulgur. 


While foraging for foods in the garden, roosters will catch and eat all sorts of insects.  They may eat insects like worms, grasshoppers, crickets, flies, spiders, ticks, moths, and butterflies. 

These foods offer lots of protein to help keep them healthy.  

Small animals

Roosters may even choose to catch and eat small animals.  They can eat lizards, snakes, mice, small birds, and other small animals if they find these small animals trespassing on their territory or if they feel a need for some protein.

Diet Variations

Roosters may choose to eat all sorts of human foods.  They can eat cereal, porridge, dog kibble, cheese, and bread and they do have digestive systems that can handle most of these foods.  It is however important not to offer too much of these foods and to avoid offering foods that contain lots of preservatives, spices, salt, or sugar.  

Fresh water

Your rooster also needs access to fresh water throughout the day.  Roosters cannot get enough moisture from foods to stay hydrated.  They also use water to cool off their bodies on hot summer days.  These animals can get dehydrated within hours if they are left without water for too long on warm days.

How Do You Take Care Of A Rooster?

Roosters are fairly easy to take care of because they have such a flexible diet.  One of the most important things to do is to ensure that your rooster has enough water.  

Next, you can offer your rooster chicken scratch or chicken feed once a day.  The rest of the day, your rooster is best left to forage for natural foods such as insects and plants in the garden so it will get enough protein and nutrients.  

If food is limited, you can offer your rooster additional foods such as fruits, veggies, and insects to help keep it healthy.

How Much Do Roosters Eat?

As a rule of thumb, chickens need to eat about ¼ pounds of food per day.  You can offer an adult rooster 0.6kg chicken scratch and other foods per day if it is kept on a cage.  If your rooster can also forage for food, you can decrease the amount of food you offer to encourage it to go and catch some insects.

What do Baby Roosters Eat?

A baby rooster is called a chick.  Chicks will start pecking at anything they find from the moment they hatch.  The best food to offer a chick rooster is starter feed followed by grower feed from 6 – 20 weeks.  You can also offer additional foods such as veggies, greens, and others to help your rooster stay nourished.

What Is A Rooster’s Favorite Food?

Roosters enjoy all sorts of foods such as berries, lettuce, cracked corn, stale bread, cauliflower, pumpkins, and cooked oatmeal.  Most of them don’t have a favorite food.  They enjoy eating all sorts of food a great deal.

Can Roosters Eat Bird Seed?

Roosters do eat most of the foods included in bird seeds.  You can offer it birdseed but it is also important for your rooster to get some protein or other healthy fruits and veggies so all of its nutritional needs will be met.

Do Roosters Eat Bugs?

Yes, roosters do love to eat all sorts of bugs.  They love to eat worms, earthworms, mealworms, grasshoppers, crickets, spiders, and centipedes.  These foods offer them lots of protein to help them stay healthy.

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