It can always be a little uncomfortable when a topic like farting comes up. Still, it is a biological process and you may be curious as to whether chickens also share this bodily function. I decided to conduct some research into the topic to help you better understand if it occurs, whether it is normal and some of considerations if you own any backyard chickens.
So, do chickens fart? Chickens do fart. This is a normal biological process that they do to pass unwanted gas and air through and out of their system. It also occurs as natural by-product of a healthy digestion. Chicken farts are generally a good sign. However, they should not be excessive nor smell too strongly. If this occurs then there may be a health issue or something more serious going on. In this case, specialist medical attention may be required.
There are a lot of funny rumors surrounding such notions, but when it comes to flatulence, most animals experience it. Dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and birds are also known to partake in this behavior.
Let us now take a closer look at the causes, whether or not you should expect your chickens farts to smell along with some other considerations including preventing excessive gas in your chickens.
What Causes Chickens To Fart?
For the most part, farting is perfectly normal behavior that can also be a great indication of health in a chicken. You should therefore expect them to occur, and you may even hear them from time to time.
All farts are caused by the same thing. When air is trapped in the body, it needs to be released in some way. This one way it is released is through farting.
There are however, several different factors that can cause air to be trapped in the body. This generally includes the swallowing of air or through digesting certain foods that cause gas to be created during regular digestive processes.
This is the same exact thing that happens with us humans and it is the same thing that you can expect with most if not all other animals.
Do Chicken Farts Smell?
Just as with people, farts aren’t exactly pleasant. A lot of farmers can tell you just how bad chicken farts actually are!
Of course, not all farts are created equal. There are times in which some farts will smell better or worse than others. Still, you should never expect any fart to smell like flowers and roses.
Chickens do have notoriously unpleasant emissions, though. It has actually been the concern of the agricultural community for a long time.
Farmers are known to put a lot of effort into trying to get their chicken houses to smell less. In their efforts, they have discovered some of the main culprits behind the foul smell of the fowl.
Namely one of the biggest factors is the diet of the chickens.
A study published in the Animal Nutrition Journal found that there is a direct link between what chickens consume and the smell of their flatulence.
Research in controlled environments has continued to see how changing diets and individual ingredients can impact the odor from such emissions.
In fact, the odor can be objectively measured using a special device. Using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy allows them to even do it remotely.
This smell-seeing technique analyses levels of methanethiol and diacetyl, which are the main culprits behind the bad smell.
Along with this, sulphur has been identified as being one of the major causes of the potent rotten egg smell. This is true for humans as it is for other animals including chickens.
Which Foods Should Be Avoided?
This research has come up with some interesting results. Any feed comprised of soybeans or canola seeds has been identified as causing havoc on the digestive systems of chickens.
It has been observed that this is due to the relationship between the microbial metabolism of such compounds within the digestive system.
There are also other foods that can give chickens gas. This is not dissimilar from people. Too many legumes, specifically beans e.g. kidney beans, can cause serious gas, bloating and other gastrointestinal problems. This is one of the main reasons why legumes and beans are best avoided.
Many chicken keepers will also recommend that you keep your chickens away from any spicy foods and refrain from giving leftovers with herbs and spices in. It has been noted that these can cause issues too.
However, there are some other owners who believe their chickens do not experience spices so long as it is provided in moderation.
How Can You Manage Excessive Gas In Chickens
Managing excessive gas has a lot to do with investing in the right foods.
Of course, if you are working on a commercial level, it is unlikely that you will need to worry and consider what is present within your table scraps.
Not all feeds are created equal. Certain feeds are higher quality and use better ingredients without random fillers and additives.
These are often more expensive as they really put an emphasis on quality over quantity, but it will be worth it for the health, well-being and general smell produced by your chickens. You want to opt for brands that include a healthy balance of protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals.
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Still, regardless of what feed you provide, chickens will also fart and emit some smell naturally.
If you own chickens, then one of the best sources of information and ways to acquire advice on your chickens is to look at commercial farmers. They know how to manage and reduce the smells that chickens produce. It is of course their livelihood.
Managing the smell is something that is going to benefit you, and also the chickens themselves. Just like you would with a cat’s litter box or a rabbit’s cage, you need to take measures to keep the area your chicken lives in fresh and clean.
Again, it is unlikely you will ever achieve a state where the coop smells fantastic all of the time. However, there are some things you can do in order to actively combat sources of smell.
Getting good quality bedding is one excellent thing you can do. Although it is obvious that it will help deal with the problem of their waste, it can also help add a fresher smell in general. Hemp bedding is ideal for chickens; it is cost effective, absorbs a lot of moisture and can easily be disposed of when used (biodegradable). To improve the smell even further, you can even purchase refreshers which are natural, non-toxic granules that naturally lower odor and foul smells.
It goes without saying that cleaning the coop regularly and as needed will help keep the general smell down. On top of that, you will be able to tolerate your chickens farts a little more when you are not stuck dealing with the other overwhelming smells of their waste on top of it.
You can also design the coop with these smells in mind. Make sure that their living space is properly ventilated. This will ensure that fresh air can pass in and out of the coop and that bad odor cannot be trapped and fester for any prolonged period of time.
Regarding the design of the coop; of course it will vary greatly depending on how many chickens you have. If you are an owner with a few chickens, it may be possible to include some vents here and there. For large, industrial farms, they generally require mechanical ventilation systems in order to manage the odor.
Are Chicken Farts A Problem
This really depends on what you consider to be a problem. If you are asking purely from a health point of view. Then no, generally, farting is not a cause for concern and should be somewhat expected.
If you have a couple of chickens, you’ll soon find that farting can be more finely controlled and managed.
Farmers, however, have to deal with chickens by the hundreds or thousands at a time. With these huge populations, it can be really overwhelming to have to deal with stinky chickens because it adds up and the smells can travel further afield.
When you are required to work close proximity to foul smelling chickens for extended periods of time,then of course, it can be a problem.
The motivation for research investigating chicken emissions was to uncover the problem of the notorious chicken smell. There’s a reason these studies were conducted.
Chickens are a crucial creature in animal husbandry. Poultry, in general, is a big part of the human diet.
People rely heavily off of these animals to live or make a living. Learning to control chicken farts is therefore a big concern for farmers, although it may sound off at first.
Again though, if you just have a chicken or two, it normally is easily and affordably controlled.
For the most part, people also have them living outside of our personal living spaces. This way, the odors can evaporate and go into the air.
Unlike cats and dogs which we typically have to deal with because we live under the same roof, chickens are generally purposely separated. In addition to their inability to be house-trained, a big reason why you separate chickens is due to their smell.
That being said, chicken coops or outdoor barns make a perfect home for them. While they may not exactly smell pristine, it is tolerable for them so long as it is taken care of and their waste is not a health hazard.
If you notice that your chickens appear bloated, are passing a lot of wind, or the smells start to become worse or excessively bad, it may indicate a health issue. In this situation it would be best to speak with a specialist or vet who can help you identify if there is something more serious going on.
For the most part, so long as their coops are cleaned regularly, they really don’t mind the smell of each other. Still, having their cages cleaned to a point where you can tolerate the smell is always going to be better.
It will encourage you to do your part and take care of them as you should.
For this reason, consider investing in the best materials that are required to give your chicken(s) their best, happy and healthy life.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.