Have you ever heard of using chick feed for cat litter and wondered about trying this for yourself with your own cats? Doing so can have a variety of benefits, but you may be wondering what your cats will think of it and why you might do it.
Chicken feed looks rather a lot like cat litter, but is it possible to use it for the same purpose, and does it have any major benefits over real cat litter, or are you better off sticking with a bag of pellets?
Using chick feed for cat litter has a few advantages, but there are also some drawbacks that it’s important to be aware of before you start doing this at home.
You may wish to do a small trial of both options and see how you find them before you go out and purchase large amounts of chick feed.
You should check that your cat accepts this litter alternative before buying a lot; although it looks and feels similar, some felines can be very fussy, and will not use any litter other than the one that they are used to.
Many people find it odd to use chick feed as cat litter, but it’s certainly worth considering, even if you don’t keep chickens yourself. If you want a litter that’s biodegradable and readily available, it’s a great option, although it isn’t a perfect swap.
Can Chicken Feed Be Used For Cat Litter?
Chicken feed can certainly be used for cat litter and some cats will accept it as a reasonable alternative, while others will reject it – especially if they are fussy.
A lot of people find that changing their cat’s litter results in the cat refusing to use the box, but if your feline is good with change, chicken feed has a few advantages over actual cat litter.
For one thing, chicken feed is compostable and natural, meaning that it’s an environmentally friendly option for anyone who is looking to reduce the amount of waste that they put into their landfill bin.
Chicken feed is usually made up of corn and other kinds of grain, so it’s perfectly biodegradable and should be fine to add to any backyard compost heap or even most municipal compost bins.
A lot of people prefer this because it means that they don’t have to put the litter into their general waste bin. The feed will work in much the same way that litter does, providing a surface that your cat can scratch at and dig into, so it is considered acceptable by many cats.
Additionally, chicken feed is less dusty than many commercial cat litters, which is why some people prefer it. It clumps up well when wet, doesn’t smell bad, and is not unsafe for cats to eat – although most cats hopefully will not eat it anyway.
Although it doesn’t contain any deodorizing substances, it will neutralize smells reasonably well.
Do You Have To Do Anything To Chicken Feed Before You Use It As Cat Litter?
You shouldn’t need to do anything specific to the chicken feed before you can use it as cat litter, but if your cat doesn’t like the litter, you might have to spend some time acclimatizing your pet to it.
You can sometimes do this by adding a small amount of the feed to your cat’s normal litter to start with, and gradually increasing the amount until your cat is mostly using the feed. This is usually the most effective way to get a cat to swap if it is reluctant.
The other thing that you should do is make sure that you are using a non-medicated feed. Some feed for chicks (not adult chickens, generally) contains medication to prevent certain diseases.
Even if your cat does not usually eat its litter, it’s best to avoid medicated feeds, as they may lick dust from their paws and ingest medicines that they should not be consuming.
Otherwise, you should not need to do anything before using chicken feed as cat litter. It will behave much as ordinary litter does and can simply be added to the tray as normal.
Why Does Chicken Feed Work As Cat Litter?
Chicken feed works well as cat litter because it has the same properties; it is absorbent, it sticks together when wet, and it’s cheap.
However, the most important property is its texture; it feels much like other kinds of litter under the cat’s paws, and this encourages the cat to dig and paw at it.
If it didn’t have this texture, the cat would not be keen to dig in it, because cats prefer an earth-like feel when they are using their litter box.
Loose, crumbly substances are ideal for cat litter because they feel right to the cat, and this is the most important thing.
If the cat isn’t convinced that it can dig and paw in the litter, it won’t use it – and therefore the litter tray will be of no use. You have to choose a substance that the cats are keen to dig in and feel comfortable using as their toilet.
Some litter manufacturers actually use corn in their litter mixes, so it’s clear that chicken feed is a good option.
Buying it as feed means you know exactly what’s in it, and you can safely put it on your garden – although you do need to be wary of depositing cat feces near any plants you intend to eat, which we’ll cover in the next section.
Are There Downsides To Using Chicken Feed For Cat Litter?
There are a few potential downsides to using chicken feed for cat litter, including the fact that you do actually need to be careful about putting cat waste in your compost.
There is a risk of causing toxoplasmosis if you put cat waste on your edibles or near any edibles, so make sure you are aware of this before you try composting cat litter. If the litter has cat waste mixed in, the compost will only be safe to use on non-edible plants.
However, this downside is true of all compostable and biodegradable cat litters, not just chicken feed.
Another potential downside of using chicken feed as cat litter is that it could attract mice; if you already have a rodent problem, it isn’t a good idea to put food down in a big tray, ready for them to take it.
A final potential downside is that your cat may find it easier to scratch this kind of litter out of the tray than they would standard litters.
The corn is light and while this makes it easier for cats to bury their waste (which they consider an advantage), it also means that they may kick it out of the tray and make a mess.
How it will fare depends on the litter that you are used to, but bear this in mind as something that may cause problems.
Does Chicken Feed Work Out Cheaper Than Actual Cat Litter?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question depends on your local area and how easily you can source cat litter and chicken feed.
Some people find that chicken feed is more expensive in their local area, while others find that chicken feed can take a massive chunk off their litter bill each month.
Many rescues have started using chicken feed as a means of bringing their costs down, and it can certainly be more economical.
The best way to determine whether the chicken feed is likely to be cheaper than actual cat litter is to compare the cost weight for weight; find out what a kilogram of your usual litter brand costs, and find out what a kilogram of chicken feed costs. This should help you to determine which product is cheaper.
However, you also need to think about how quickly you use the various kinds up; if your chicken feed lasts longer than the cat litter did (possibly because it clumps better), it could work out more economical overall, even if it’s pretty close in price.
Compare these factors when trying to decide which is the better priced solution. If you can buy your chicken feed wholesale, it is likely to cost less than purchasing it retail, so look for farms that may be willing to sell it to you.
If you’re sick of dusty cat litter that gets all over your house and doesn’t clump or stop odor as well as it should, you might want to try using cat litter instead; this can be a great alternative. It has the same texture as many kinds of litter, meaning it’s ideal for cats that are fussy, and it’s easy for them to bury their waste. However, using chick feed for cat litter will sometimes result in a greater problem in terms of the odor, because the feed may not absorb the odor as well as cat litters that have deodorizing ingredients in them.