Why Do Chickens Eat Their Own Poop?

When it comes to poop, it’s something that’s disgusting to people. As for chickens, they look at poop as something different.

In this article, I will go through in detail why your chickens are eating their own poop.

Why Do Chickens Eat Their Own Poop?

Like many other animals, chickens will actually eat their poop. This practice is known as coprophagia, which is beneficial for chickens. The poop contains some nutrients that have not been absorbed by the body.

Can Chickens Get Sick From Eat Their Own Poop?

When the chickens eat their own poop, there’s a chance they can get sick.

The waste that the chicken excrete contains a number of bacteria that are harmful to other chickens, and humans as well.
The main bacteria usually found in chickens are Campylobacter, salmonella, and avian influenza viruses. All of these bacteria can cause serious harm to the chickens, even death can occur.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing we as chicken owners can do much about it. Eating their own poop is something that’s natural and part of their instinct.

The only thing we can give them is a well-balanced diet to ensure the entire flock is healthy.

Do Chickens Like The Taste Of Their Poop?

When it comes to the taste of chicken poop, it doesn’t really matter much to the chickens. The reason for that is that chickens don’t have a lot of taste buds.

For comparison, a human being has around 10,000 taste buds, while a chicken has just 240-360 taste buds.

Therefore, chickens are unable to differentiate the flavor of many foods.

Most chicken owners will think otherwise. When feeding them food that we think is tasty, some chickens may not eat it and will ignore it completely.

This isn’t something that has to do with their taste. Instead, chickens will avoid that food because it’s potentially toxic or harmful to them. This is the natural survival instinct that they acquire over millions of years.

Is It Safe For Baby Chickens To Eat Their Poop?

There’s been a lot of debate going on whether it’s safe for chicks or not. In the wild, the hen will try to feed poop to their chicks. This helps build immunity to diseases as the chicks are exposed to them.

However, chicken poop, whether it’s from baby chickens or adult chickens, can potentially have harmful bacteria in them. This will of course cause harm to the chick.

Therefore, if you’re planning to let the chicks eat poop, it’s best to consult a veterinarian first.

When Should You Be Worried About Chickens Eating Poop

Most of the time, chickens will eat their own poop without any issues. They tend to know what’s harmful and what is not.

However, sometimes they may eat poop that contains harmful bacteria, which could make them ill.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for anything that seems out of the ordinary.

Chicken poop that is “normal” will range from black to yellow in colors. Also, there will be white “crystal-like” things in their poop, which are known as urates. If you see this, there’s nothing to worry about, and you can let your chickens eat their poop freely.

On the other hand, if the chicken poop is not normal, you should stop your chickens from eating their poop. Poop that is abnormal are those that are runny, brightly colored, and have worms in them. If you see any of these, remove the chicken that’s responsible for it and clean up the poop right away.

It’s important to remove the chicken that’s ill along with their poop. Harmful bacteria can spread quickly through the rest of the flock.


While the chicken poop may seem gross to us when they eat it, it’s actually normal for chickens. As long as the poop doesn’t contain any harmful bacteria, it does more good than harm for them.