There is no denying that the sound of a fart is humorous. The smell? Not so much. While farting is a natural biological process that happens to almost any creature with a digestive system, it can also point to some health or dietary concerns. But do chickens fart? They certainly do, and just as often as humans, dogs, and cows. For chickens, farting is a good thing. For your nostrils? Not so much.
Here is everything you need to know about chicken farts, including what they smell like, and what those particularly heinous farts mean.
Do Chickens Fart?
If you ever wondered whether your chickens can make the same bodily sounds as you, prepare to be amazed. Chickens can burp. They can also fart. Why can they do this? Because they have a digestive system that moves food and air through the intestines.
Chickens can burp. They can also fart
As such, chickens pass gas for the same reason you or your dog might: they have pockets of gas or air trapped inside their body. The air cannot linger, so it chooses the most viable exit — either the mouth or the vent.
Now, while it is a known fact that chickens fart, there is little evidence to say whether those farts are audible. Most of the time, your chickens are passing noxious gas silently.
A Review of a Chicken’s Digestive System
Knowing that chickens fart is one part of the puzzle. Knowing why it happens is also interesting. The digestive system of chickens is not unlike a human’s, but there are some parts that don’t exist within our bodies that are in birds. Chickens have mouths, for example, but they do not have teeth. Instead, they have a crop where food is stored until it is ready to be processed by the gizzard. The gizzard is made of muscle and grinds up undigested food powerfully.
Chickens have small and large intestines, too. Here, the nutrients of the food are more fully absorbed. Once food has passed into the large intestine, any gas that remains is going to be forced out through the vent, resulting in farting.
What Causes a Chicken to Fart?
The thought of a chicken farting may seem strange, but it’s common. Chickens eat, and since they are omnivores, they are digesting all kinds of vitamins and nutrients. Some of those foods can cause more gas to form during digestion, which leads to — you guessed it — farts. Foods that are rich in methanethiol, diacetyl, or sulfur are the primary cause for chicken farts.
Which foods are those, you ask? Here is a list:
Leafy Greens and Dairy
Dark leafy greens and dairy are often not recommended as snacks for chickens because of the tendency to cause gastrointestinal issues. If your chickens are farting quite a bit, cut out any snacks containing dairy, such as yogurt-covered anything, and cruciferous greens.
Soybean and Canola
Although soybeans and canola seeds may seem like an excellent addition to your chicken feed, it is best that you stay away from these ingredients. Studies have found that both soybean and canola can disrupt chickens’ digestive tract, due to high amounts of amino acids and sulfur, leading to more frequent and more repulsive chicken farts.
You may love dunking everything in hot sauce or munching on jalapeno peppers, but that does not mean your chicken will. Yet, your chickens will be farting for the same reason you may dread going to the bathroom in the morning after Taco Tuesday. Spicy foods have a tendency to cause gastrointestinal distress.
Can Chicken Farts Mean Something Is Wrong?
There are some instances where a chicken’s farts may be produced by something other than their diet:
Sometimes, your chickens may have increased flatulence due to a disease. For example, an enlarged belly caused by tumors from Marek’s disease could put a strain on their intestines, causing more gas to get trapped.
Trouble Digesting Carbohydrates
Non-digested food that is loaded with carbohydrates will start to break down into carbon dioxide and hydrogen in the body. When these two elements combine, they form a gas that may cause your chickens to fart.
Fatty Liver Syndrome & Obesity
Both conditions cause unnatural fluid retention, which will result in gas build up. Make sure you are giving your chickens a healthy diet and providing them with plenty of stimulation. A healthy weight and diet will help them burn off some of the gas that builds up during digestion.
Do Chickens Fart Smell?
Chickens produce methane gas in small quantities. Methane does not smell fabulous. Farts, in general, are certainly not your favorite scented candle. So, no, chickens are not exempt from releasing a foul stench into the air. You may even be surprised to find that chicken farts smell a bit worse than your own, because of the fermented gas that is expelled through their digestive system. Rarely is there any oxygen in those farts, just gas.
This is one of the many reasons why you want the chicken coop to be properly ventilated. Otherwise, amid the farting and the poop and other barnyard smells, your coop would be a biohazard come morning.
How to Eliminate Foul Chicken Fart Smells
So you accidentally inhaled when your chicken farted and never want to experience such noxious fumes ever again. Well, sadly, there is nothing you can do to completely eliminate the stink of chicken farts. Their farts are natural, after all.
That said, there are some things you can do to decrease the severity of the fart smell. Here are some tips to help you control the smell of chicken farts:
- Analyze your chicken’s feed. Avoid any feed that contains ingredients like canola seeds and soybeans. You should also only feed your chickens treats in moderation, especially if those treats include dark leafy greens and dairy.
- Decrease the intake of high fiber foods to around 45% a day.
- Invest in high quality bedding for the chicken coop. The better the bedding, the more it will soak up the scents from excrement and farts. One great option is hemp, which helps keep the coop fresh and hygienic for a reasonable price.
- Properly ventilate the chicken coop. Do not let air remain trapped for too long.
- Clean the coop and chicken run regularly. That will help decrease the smell.
- If you have swapped out your chicken’s feed and are routinely cleaning the coop but the smell persists, it may be time to speak with a veterinarian.
Everything You Wanted to Know About Chicken Farts
Do chickens fart? The answer is yes. Now that you know far more about chicken farts than any single person could probably ever want, why not share these facts with your friends? Surely, others will want to know that chickens pass gas just like other creatures. Otherwise, be sure to keep this in the back of your mind, just in case your chickens start producing gas. You may need to change up their diet!
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.