Why Do Chickens Wipe Their Beaks? 5 Reasons Why

If you’ve spent a lot of time around your chickens, you may notice them wiping or scraping their beaks against the ground or other objects. This will make you wonder if this is normal behavior for them or something you should be worried about.

So, why do chickens wipe their beaks? There are several reasons why chickens wipe their beaks, but the main reason is keep them clean and sharp. They will usually do this after foraging for food which will cause their beaks to become dull and dirty.

How Do Chickens Sharpen Their Beaks?

When it comes to sharpening their beaks, chickens will look for rough surface objects. This could be a flat stone, large rocks, a concrete patio slab, or the side of the chicken coop.

The chickens will move their beaks back and forth along the object. This will help remove any debris that’s on their beak. Also, the beaks will get sharpen as well.

Besides keeping their beaks clean and sharpen, the chickens will use the same object as an anvil to break up the shell of the snails.

How Often Do Chickens Wipe Their Beaks?

A chicken will wipe their beaks often throughout the day. They will usually do it after foraging for food especially in the dirt.

Other times, when they feel their beaks need to be sharpened, they will also wipe their beaks.

Therefore, each chicken is different and will wipe and scrape their beaks less or more in a day.

Reasons Why Chickens Rub Their Beaks On The Ground and Other Things

Cleaning Their Beaks

Chickens are clean animals and like to keep their body clean. After foraging for food, which is what they love doing during the day. Their beaks will get dirty from the dirt and mud.

After foraging for food, the chickens will find a hard surface such as a flat stone to clean debris off their beaks. They will do this several times per day when their beaks need cleaning.

Beak Sharpening

A sharp beak is an important tool for the chicken. It serves many purposes for them. One of them is helping the chickens forage for food. Some of their favorite food such as worms, beetles, and snails live in the ground and under fallen tree branches and plants. They will use their beaks to dig or break branches to get to their food.

Another reason for having sharp beaks is to cut their food into smaller bite-size. Since chickens don’t have teeth, they will need to use their beaks to do the job.

Beak Shaping

The beaks of the chicken are made from Keratin. This is the same material that’s in our fingernails.

Since it’s made from Keratin, the beaks will continuously grow. The chickens will wipe their beaks on the rocks to keep them in shape.

After all, their beaks will be used for eating, foraging, and preening. So it’s important that their beaks are kept in the best shape.

Act of Aggression

Sometimes, you may notice that your chickens, especially roosters are acting very aggressively.

When they become aggressive, they may wipe their beaks on the ground. Also, they will pick up leaves and branches and fling them into the air.

If you see your rooster doing this, you should see what’s causing them to act this way.

Attract Mates

When chicken wipes their beaks, it releases an odor. This odor may be detected by potential mates nearby.

When the chicken is preening, it will rub its beaks against the oil gland at the base of its tail. The constant beak wiping will release the smell of preen oil on anything that the chicken will wipe its beak against.

Younger and smaller males tend to beak wipe more often than older, larger males.

Why Do Chickens Rub Their Beaks on You?

If you find your chicken is rubbing their beak on you, this is a sign of affection.

Most chickens will show affection by following you around, letting you pet them, and feeding them by hand.

When a chicken is rubbing or wiping its beaks on you, it’s just another way some chickens like to show their affection for you.

However, if there is nothing around for them to wipe their beak, they may be just trying to clean their beak on your clothes.


Chickens wiping their beaks on a hard surface object is just normal behavior for them. They are just trying to keep their beaks clean and sharp. If there are no damages to your chicken’s beaks, you don’t have anything to worry about.