Knowing how often Chickens poop can go a long way to setting your expectations, knowing what is normal, and helping you best look after your birds. Unfortunately, a natural by-product of owning any pet is their poop and the need to clean it up. To help you understand what is truly involved, I will delve into chickens and their pooping habits.
So, how often do chickens poop? A healthy chicken will expel “normal” poop on average of between 12 to 15 times per day. A chicken will poop around the clock, including during the night, and it can vary in consistency and color.
Although chickens are great pets that can provide delicious and wholesome eggs, they are known to poop a lot. Adding to the complexity, it is also toxic to humans so you need to be very careful when cleaning the coop or run of your chickens.
To help you understand the habits of your birds, including things to look out for and tops to keeping your birds hygienic, I will run through some of the key questions on this topic.
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What Is Normal Chicken Poop?
Chicken poop, like the poop of all animals, can tell a lot about the well-being of your bird(s). Poop can be a telltale sign of whether a chicken is healthy or suffering from an illness.
In poultry birds, normal droppings comprise of feces and urates. Waste that is digested is solid brown or grayish and is firm enough to hold it’s form. The feces are topped with white urate.
Chicken poop is considered normal if it has a brown or grayish mushy consistency that is firm in its shape. But, it is important to recognize that your chicken’s poop may deviate from this normal consistency for perfectly harmless reasons.
Reasons, why the range of normal poop varies by a hen, is due to their diet, the time of year, as well as the type of feces it is – “everyday” broody, or cecal.
You must monitor your chicken’s droppings, and as long as she is healthy, not losing weight, has a healthy appetite, and has a bright plumage, there is no need to panic.
Understand that normal can range from brown, yellow to black on occasion. Hens that free-range and eat a lot of dark leafy greens often produce green droppings.
“Everyday” droppings that your bird produces (12 – 15 times a day) is usually a mixture of digested and partially digested food with white tips – these are called urates.
Sometimes when hens take dust baths, if the materials they bathe in are ash pail, for example, you may find black colored feces. Hens would produce black poop if they ate any of the ashes during their dust bath.
However, if your hens are not partaking in dust baths and produce black droppings, this could indicate a problem.
Black droppings in this context are usually a sign of internal bleeding.
In the summertime, your birds may pass watery poo as their water intake increases.
Consuming watery foods like cucumber and watermelon will naturally result in watery poo.
A stressed or frightened hen may produce this type of poop as well; so, you need to be sure that you are not scaring your hens.
If you notice red tissue in your hen’s droppings, this is your hen shedding her intestinal lining (which is natural and normal).
However, large amounts of blood aren’t healthy and require immediate veterinary attention.
Cecals can range from yellow to dark brown and be eliminated every eight to ten droppings. Cecals are thicker in consistency than normal poo and lack the white tip. Cecals smell worse than normal droppings.
However foul-smelling cecals are, they are perfectly normal, and their presence is a good sign that the digestive tract is healthy.
A broody hen will hold on to her poop to avoid fouling her nest.
On the occasion where she can leave her nest, droppings that have been held are likely to be very large, brown, or green foul-smelling; this is also perfectly normal.
If you have any concerns about your chicken’s poop, suspect internal bleeding or it is excessive (20 timers per day+) or insufficient (1-5 times per day), it’s always best to speak to a vet that specializes in birds.
Is Chicken Poop Toxic To Humans?
Chicken poop is toxic to humans; it contains campylobacter and salmonella bacteria.
If these bacteria were to enter the system of a human, it will likely result in sickness (gastroenteritis).
Signs and symptoms of salmonella-induced gastroenteritis include:
- stomach cramps.
- bloody stools.
- muscle pains.
This is why it is very important that you wear gloves (that you only use in the coop), routinely wash your hands and you do not touch your mouth having handled your chickens. Its a good idea to install a touch-free hand sanitizer dispenser in your coop or a convenient place nearby. The Purell Brand is excellent; I got several for a great price on Amazon.
Wear wellies designated only for use inside the coop and remove the wellies when leaving the coop to avoid cross-contamination. Muck Boots (like this) were designed with this purpose in mind; being so easily taken on and off.
You also need to be careful not to contaminate your local food and water supply, so you need to be careful of where you dispose of your chickens waste.
Commercial fertilizer spreading companies have the experience, machinery, and equipment to safely transport and dispose of any manure without posing any risks to people’s health. As a chicken owner, you need to remain vigilant .
Do Chickens Poop When They Sleep?
Yes, chickens poop when they sleep. You must take note that chickens don’t have a sphincter the way mammals do. The sphincter controls when mammals want to do their business.
Chickens, like most birds and reptiles, have a cloaca – this is one passage that they use for pretty much everything that needs to leave the body. Urinating, mating, laying eggs, and defecating all take place through the cloaca. Birds don’t have the same level of control as many animals when it comes to excreting.
Chickens like to poop in certain positions and will lean forward when they do so. If your hens sleep in the nest, you must try to break this habit. Otherwise this will result in messy, poopy eggs, not very nice!
Your birds are far better placed on their roosting stick at night. If you do not have one, now would be the time to invest.
- Add to chicken coops and pens
- Provides chickens with a perch that naturally offers comfort and a sense of security
- Easy assembly
- All natural materials
How Do You Deal With Chicken Poop?
Chicken keeping is not a glamorous hobby, despite how lovable chickens are. Nonetheless, it is imperative that you conduct regular and rigorous cleaning to ensure maximum hygiene and comfort for your birds.
Feces and poop is a natural breeding ground for bacteria and germs. Removing it out of the coop regularly is very important; it will also help reduce and limit foul smells from the area of your birds.
Consider using Hemp Bedding if you are not using it already. This does an excellent job of absorbing moisture and makes the whole cleaning up process easier. This is the one I get on Amazon.
Spring cleaning after the winter can be a battle, especially when you need to remove soggy feces from your outdoor space.
Let’s look at four ways to tackle chicken manure:
1) Rake The Manure And Pick It Up
You can rake up or pick up chicken poop with gloved hands. Fresher and larger poop is more accessible to pick up than poop trapped or ‘caked’ on the ground.
2) Dilute Soggy Feces
Droppings that are too damp to pick up can be washed away with a hose. Removing it with the hose will weaken the nitrogen and wash it clean.
3) Scoop Up The Feces
Remove dirty, soiled bedding from the coop and remove any materials used in the run during the winter.
4) Compost what is compostable
Put all the chicken poop that you’ve raked up, scooped up, or picked up into your compost bin.
High nitrogen materials like chicken feces must be combined with high carbon materials like leaves, bedding, and grass clippings, to ensure they breakdown efficiently.
Chicken manure may take six months to turn into rich fertilizer.
Turn the pile as often as possible to make it “cook” faster. Never mix chicken manure with other animal manure.
Pick up manures separately with other equipment. Discard any contaminated chicken manure.
It’s good to know what can be expected in regards to chicken poop. Either way, chickens poop and they poop a lot. Its also relatively messy because it contains their urine at the same time.
Certain factors might influence the color, consistency, and frequency of a chickens droppings. So it is important to look out for and observe and differences over time. Remember, diet and the season play a big role in what they expel and how it looks. If you are ever concerned with your chickens’ poop (especially if it is red/black) then it is always best to seek out a vet.
Some people have kept chickens for decades and never experienced any illnesses; both within their flock or that they have contracted themselves from the birds.
However, you must exercise caution when cleaning out your chicken coop and run. Washing your hands with an effective and appropriate sanitizer, being stringent in wearing gloves and appropriate footwear (that is only used in the coop/run) is vital to avoid any chance of cross-contamination with chicken feces.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.