While crows will become quite picky and prefer one type of food, ravens are true scavengers and will literally eat anything that is protein-based.
What Do Ravens Eat?
Ravens are scavengers. They prefer to eat protein-based food like meat, insects, and carrion. Unlike crows that like eating fruit and vegetables, ravens prefer to eat meat, carrion or rotting carcasses, insects, and smaller animals like frogs and lizards.
What Adult Ravens Eat
Adult ravens eat pretty much whatever they can scavenge, but they are opportunistic hunters and carcass specialists too, and if pickings are slim, they will even grab small dogs or cats for a quick meal.
Ravens are also highly intelligent, and it’s not unheard of for them to grab someone’s pet tortoise, dropping it from height and enjoying the resulting feast.
Meat for Ravens
If you have the opportunity to feed ravens, they love meat. Their diet consists of carrion and insects that are drawn to animal matter.
Beetles, snakes, and worms are at the top of the ravens’ menu. Ravens will also scavenge on smaller animals like lizards, frogs, and other amphibians, mice, and small birds.
As you can imagine, they love KFC as much as you do.
I also supplement my raven population’s diet with hard-boiled eggs and fish. They love eating fish right out of the shell, and skins and bones are also happily consumed.
Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, and Seeds for Ravens
Ravens love nuts. They enjoy cracking them open, and I have seen many a raven happily banging away at a rock with a nut they are interested in eating.
Larger seeds like pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are also part of their diet, but smaller seeds are a challenge for their large beaks.
While ravens prefer a meaty feast, they enjoy fruits as much. They love snacking on apples, berries, watermelon, blueberries, and figs.
Corn on the cob is also a firm favorite with ravens, and if you have a few corn cobs lying around, you are sure to attract them to your yard.
What to Feed Raven Chicks
Raven chicks aren’t geared to eat the same food as adult ravens do. For starters, their food needs to be moistened to ensure digestibility.
I have had a few occasions where I had to step in and foster a raven chick that fell out of their nest, and since ravens are a protected bird species, saving chicks is important.
My go-to feed for raven chicks is scrambled eggs and caterpillars or mealworms—yummy!
When feeding a raven chick, you need to be careful as they can easily bite your fingers. Gloves are a must.
Their diet should be planned to be at least 50% protein-based, so I like to feed them dog or cat food pellets that I soak in water as well.
The pet shop also has a wide selection of crickets and even cockroaches that I can feed raven chicks.
This is a difficult one to answer, and while there may seem to be little harm in feeding the ravens that fly around your neighborhood, there are other considerations you may not be aware of.
I have found that feeding ravens can lead to their numbers increasing drastically with their survival rate increasing. This can upset nature’s balance.
When there are more ravens or crows, the other birds in the area will suffer.
Why? Ravens are egg-eaters. They love to sneak into the nests of other birds, scavenging their eggs and killing and eating their young chicks.
When you upset nature’s balance, ravens will end up being the only birds around.
So when can you feed ravens? If you live in an area with an endangered species of raven around, you can help local nature conservationists to assist this kind of raven by feeding appropriate foods.
The Chihuahuan Raven is facing a steep decline in numbers, so you could definitely help this species along by feeding them.
They prefer animal matter, so meat, insects, and eggs are good choices. However, they will also readily eat fish and fruits.
What Not to Feed Ravens
Ravens may gobble up just about anything you choose to feed them, but you should avoid food that can potentially poison them.
Feeding bread should be restricted to feeding whole grain or brown bread. White bread can cause ravens to become constipated.
Feeding bread that is moldy can cause toxicity to ravens and other birds due to the bacterial buildup triggered by the mold.
Fruits That Have Been Sprayed With Pesticides
Ravens are also susceptible to the pesticides and herbicides that we use to spray the fruit trees in our gardens, so when it’s time to spray my trees, I am always careful to put up a scarecrow or cover my trees with plastic to keep ravens and other birds away.
Processed foods like chips, cheese, processed meat, and commercial popcorn are all rich in salt, and most birds don’t do well on large doses of salt.
When they ingest large volumes of salt, their electrolyte balance is upset, and they suffer kidney damage.
Frequently Asked Questions about What Ravens Eat
What happens if you feed a raven?
Ravens are opportunistic feeders, and they will welcome any additional foods. Be sure to feed appropriate scraps to the ravens in your area to avoid poisoning them.
What can you feed wild ravens?
Wild ravens enjoy a diverse diet of berries, fruits, animal matter, meat, and eggs.
Do ravens eat animals?
While ravens aren’t hunters by nature, they will prey upon helpless animals like rodents, injured animals, baby birds, and finish off roadkill.
The Last Word
Feeding ravens can attract these intelligent birds to your garden, and while they are wild animals and aren’t allowed by law to be domesticated or kept as pets, they are fascinating to watch.
Be sure to feed appropriate foods to your gathering of ravens, also called an unhappiness of ravens, and keep in mind that you should never make them dependent on you for food as they need to survive in the wild on their own.