Do Chickens Have Tongues?

A tongue is a very important body part for many animals. The tongue serves many purposes as eating, drinking, and talking. As for chickens, you may wonder if your chicken has tongues or not.

In this short guide, we’ll go through in detail the tongue of the chicken and what purpose it serves.

Do Chickens Have Tongues?

Yes, chickens do have tongues. It’s an important part of their anatomy which they require in order to survive. Their tongue is very small and has a pointy tip. The primary uses of their tongue are to eat and communicate with other chickens.

Do Chickens Taste Their Food With Their Tongue?

Yes, chickens do use their tongue to taste their food.

For many years, people assume that chickens can’t taste their foods since they don’t have any taste buds.

However, new research reveals that their sense of taste is more developed than initially assumed.

There are taste buds on their tongue, but it’s not that many. When compared to humans with around 10,000 taste buds, chickens have roughly 350 taste buds.

Instead of having taste buds on their tongue, chickens have them in their oral cavity. This allows them to taste the food as it moves down their throat.

Since their taste buds are mostly in their oral cavity and not their tongue, it serves a much different purpose. Instead, their tongue is mainly used for food processing.

What Does a Chicken Tongue Look Like?

The tongue of the chicken is quite different from those of most other animals. Most animals will have a large tongue that is rounded at the tip.

When it comes to the chickens, their tongue is very tiny and have a tip that’s pointy.

Do Chickens Have Tongues

What Do Chickens Use Their Tongue For?

A chicken will use their tongue for 3 main reasons, which is eating, drinking, and communication. Below is each of them in more details:


When it comes to eating food, the tongue is the most important function. The tongue allows the chickens to swallow their food. Without it, they will have a very hard time with their food.

After the chicken has the food in their food, they will use their tongue to push it into their throat.

Once the food is swallowed, it will go down to the gizzard where it will be ground up into smaller pieces. Then the food will enter the stomach.


Unlike dogs and cats that use their tongue to lap up water, chickens don’t use their tongue. Their tongue doesn’t serve any purpose when it comes to drinking water.

Their tongue is too small to be able to use for drinking. Instead, chickens drink water by quickly opening and closing their mouth. This action causes the water to be trapped in their beak. Then they will tilt their head back to swallow the water.


Some birds can talk and humans are able to understand them. Unfortunately, chickens cannot talk, but they do make sounds.

Chickens are able to make many different sounds. To be able to make sounds of different pitches, the chickens will use their tongue to vocalize these sounds.

Can Chickens Live Without Tongue?

A chicken can live without its tongue, but it will be difficult for them when it comes to eating. After losing the tongue due to an injury or an infection, a chicken will need to learn how to eat without a tongue anymore.

Chickens that are able to eat and drink after losing a tongue will live to their life expectancy.

On the other hand, chickens that are not able to eat or drink without a tongue, won’t survive for a long time. When this happens, you’ll either need to put them down or let them live as long as they can.

After a chicken loses its tongue, it’s best to take them to the veterinarian to see if anything can be done. Usually, the vet will remove any remaining tongue to avoid infection.


As you can see, chickens do have a tongue. Unlike most other animals, their tongue is quite small and pointy. The only purpose is to help the chicken swallow their food and to communicate with other chickens.