Different distributions of 28 elements and 17 amino acids in pectoralis, wing biceps brachii and leg gastrocnemius of chicken upon CuSO4 (300 mg/kg) exposure for 90 days were investigated. Accompanied by copper accumulation, pathological injuries were observed in those three kinds of skeletal muscles using histological and ultrastructural methods. Based on data obtained, we analyzed leg gastrocnemius displayed the most increases (P < 0.000) in all three kinds of elements detected, including macroelements (131%), essential microelements (129%) and toxic microelements (179%) than the other two skeletal muscles. Furthermore, decreased total amino acids (P = 0.006), a susceptibility of lipid peroxidation/oxidative stress and a disequilibrium of nutrition and taste were analyzed in the leg gastrocnemius, indicating an unsuitability for human consumption. Intriguingly, these anomalies were scarce in pectoralis and wing biceps brachii. Combined with multivariate analysis we may conclude that leg gastrocnemius are more vulnerable to copper stress than pectoralis and wing biceps brachii in chicken.