Today we are going to talk about the oh so glorious topic of chicken poop. Yes, that’s right. We will have you examining your chicken’s feces daily and getting to know what they all mean. After all, the droppings will help you diagnose disease or malnourishment. So it’s crucial to keep a close eye on these things to notice any changes. So what does normal chicken poop look like?
Normal Chicken Droppings
Everyday poop should look pretty uniform across all chickens. It will look green to brown, depending on what your chickens might have eaten. It is always firm and retains its shape well, never runny or watery. And it also has a frim white end called urates that come from the kidneys expelling waste. But this doesn’t mean that your chicken poop will always look like this. Other droppings might look a little strange but completely normal during certain circumstances.
Sometimes your chickens will eat lots of fibrous materials. These high fiber foods take a little longer to digest and sit in the cecum until your hen absorbs all nutrients. The cecum is a pouch-like sack inside of the intestinal tract for this job. This process can take days, and all the while, the food is fermenting in there. And as you can imagine, the chicken manure that comes from this sack is putrid.
What does normal chicken poop look like? It includes a runny dark brown foul-smelling poop. This type of poop is also very common. Most chickens have at least one cecal poop every 8-10 poops. Cecal poop is where the smell from coops comes from. As long as your chicken doesn’t have this type constantly, then it is normal.
Broody Chicken Poop
Broody hens have unusual-looking poop. These hens spend most of their days sitting in the nesting boxes, so they rarely get out to use the bathroom. When they finally venture out to relieve themselves, the feces looks a little peculiar.
A broody hen’s poop is larger and smellier than average chicken poop. It’s also a lot harder than normal poop since they hold it for prolonged amounts of time. If you’ve never experienced this type of poop before, you might think that your hens are sick. But it is entirely normal for broody hens. As long as those types go away when your hens aren’t broody, your flock is fine.
Poop with clear liquid throughout is considered watery. The feces can look softer than average and appear almost mucusy. This water chicken poop is usually the result of chickens drinking too much water, especially in the summer.
Why would your hens be drinking too much water? The answer is usually that they are overheating, but overheating can happen for two reasons. The first reason is that it’s just an abnormally hot day, and your chickens are trying to cool off. Another reason your flock might overheat is from over-eating. Chickens produce a lot of body heat when they eat. If they eat more than they should in warm conditions, they could overheat. To combat this, your chickens will then drink a lot of water to cool off.
While this type of chicken manure is normal, you should monitor it. Maybe cut back on their feeding to prevent over-eating. If overfeeding isn’t the issue, check the coop for proper ventilation and give your chickens a cool place to rest.
Red Intestinal Pieces
Occasionally, you might notice small amounts of pink to red worm-like pieces in the poop. These are parts of your chicken’s intestinal lining. Although this might sound scary, it’s completely natural. Chickens shed parts of their intestines through the feces to make room for regeneration.
What Does Bad Chicken Poop Look Like?
As you can see, there are lots of different “shades” of normal chicken droppings. It might have you wondering what bad chicken poop looks like. Colors like white, yellow, and bloody are just a few things that could upset the digestive systems of your flock. Let’s look a little more into what each of these things means.
Watery bloody stools are usually a good sign that your chickens have coccidiosis. Coccidiosis is an intestinal parasite that is highly contagious and causes significant damage to a flock. What are the signs and symptoms of coccidiosis in chickens? Your hens will eat less, become lethargic, pale wattles and combs, and unusual diarrhea.
If you ever notice bloody chicken poop, isolate the hen immediately and treat it for parasites. With any luck, the rest of your flock is fine. But it’s always safest to clean the coop and run thoroughly and treat your entire flock. Within a few weeks, your chickens will be back to normal.
Yellow Chicken Poop
What does yellow chicken poop mean? There can be a variety of reasons that your hens could have yellow poop. If the poop is mustard yellow, your hens have likely eaten something that upset their stomach. This yellow poop might look a little runny or greasy. As long as it goes away within 24 hours, your flock should be fine.
Foamy, yellow stools can also be the first sign that your chickens have worms. Besides this, how do you know if chickens have worms?
With some parasites, you might see small worms in the feces as well. Decreased egg production and lethargy are more signs to look for if you ever see yellow poop. If you suspect one of your hens to have worms, it’s best to treat the whole flock and isolate the hens with the worst symptoms.
We spend so much time talking about chicken droppings. But what about pee? Do chickens even pee? The answer is that chickens technically don’t pee like you and me. This fantastic feature allows chickens to be lighter to get away from predators better. Instead of peeing, chickens coat their feces in urates. These urates are the toxins expelled by the kidneys that look like thick white caps on chicken poop.
But if you notice that your chicken’s feces are turning all white, there could be an issue. If your chickens have eaten a lot of high water content foods, then give your hens 24 hours before getting worried. These foods can cause white runny poop.
It can also be a sign that your chickens have kidney failure. If you notice that your chickens are dehydrated, losing weight, and swelling legs, call your vet. After running some tests, kidney damage will be verified and possibly treated.
What Causes Loose Stools In Chickens?
What does normal chicken poop look like? No matter the color, it should always be firm. So what if you have chicken droppings that are a normal color but soft? The most common reason for your chicken’s loose stools is that they have eaten something that didn’t agree with them. And that can be anything like:
- Too many fruits and vegetables
- Eating toxic flowers
- Too much water
- Too many treats
- Fermented feed
- And cheese, to name a few
But it’s also important to note that even good foods in excess will cause loose stools in chickens. You will know that these are the causes of your abnormal chicken poop because the symptoms disappear after 24 hours. You might even want to keep a log of the food your chickens have eaten the day that you see the loose stools.
However, if the loose stool continues no matter what your chickens eat, it might be time to look at other causes. Loose stools are generally safe, but if consistent, they can cause other problems. Not to mention the underlying issue will continue to worsen.
What Do You Do With Chicken Poop?
So this is a lot of information about chicken poop. But what do you do with all of this manure at the end of the day? Well, if you aren’t already doing it, you need to start composting chicken manure. This compost is great for vegetable gardens that like higher alkalinity levels. Don’t have a garden? No problem! Compost that black gold and sell it for top dollar.
Can you compost chicken droppings from sick hens? Of course, you can! The best composting process heats the manure naturally to 160 degrees for 6-9 months. This process kills all bacteria, parasites, and pathogens that could get you sick. Then you can use it on any vegetable patch.
And the process is super simple. Start by using the deep litter method in the coop, and then transfer the old bedding into a composter. With a bit of water, you can get good bacteria to grow that decomposes the poop and makes the manure safe. This bacteria growth is what heats it, and after a few turns, you’re all set.
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You came here looking for what does normal chicken poop look like? And you got everything you could ever ask about chicken droppings and more. You will have better insight now and can inspect with confidence.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!