Whether you’re a newcomer to the chicken world or have been raising poultry for a while, their poop appearance can raise some questions. You may wonder whether your chicken poop is normal or not?
What does chicken poop look like? Chicken poop is usually a little pile of brownish, mushy substance with a fluffy white layer on top. It’s made of fecal matter and urates/uric acid (because chickens don’t pee). However, it can appear in a wide range of colors from brown, green, and yellow to even black; and they’re all normal.
If you’re looking to learn more about chicken poop appearance, you are in the right place! This article will talk about different types and colors of chicken poops and what they say about a chicken’s health.
Table of Contents
How Chicken Poop Is Produced?
The food and water a chicken consume go down into the chicken’s crop first, and digestive enzymes are added. Afterward, the food moves to the gizzard. Here, grits that chickens eat while foraging help digest food by grinding it.
Then the ground food travels to the small intestine, which absorbs its nutrients. Its ceca branch also helps ferment foods that aren’t broken down, thanks to bacteria living there. Then it moves to the large intestine, and its water gets absorbed.
After that, the remaining substance—chicken poop—moves to the cloaca and combines with urates (the white topping of feces). Finally, it moves forward and gets out from the chicken’s vent—where it also lays eggs.
What Does Chicken Poop Smell Like?
Chicken poop stinks, and several volatile compounds are responsible for that, but ammonium is the most odorous. It’s present in chicken manure as a result of the decomposition of some organic substances.
However, chickens’ poop can smell different depending on their diet and health conditions.
What Does Green Chicken Poop Mean?
Green poop is highly common among chickens, especially in free-range chickens that forage in grasslands and meadows. The reason for that is the heavy consumption of greens, weeds, grass, and vegetables.
As you see, there’s nothing to worry about in this case, especially if no negative symptoms accompany it. However, it can be a sign of internal worms, the avian flu, or Marek’s disease on some rare occasions.
What a Chicken’s Poop Says About Its Health?
Chicken poop can be a great early indicator of your chicken’s health and help you prevent serious problems. However, when it comes to normal chicken poop, there’s a wide range of “normal.” Depending on the chicken, diet, and the time of the year, their poop can vary in color and texture.
Black poop can be a worrisome sign indicating internal bleeding, but only if your chicken recently suffered an accident. Otherwise, internal bleeding isn’t the most likely culprit.
If you dig deeper, you may find out that your chicken has eaten ash or charcoal. Blackberries and some other dark-colored foods can also cause black chicken poop.
Yellow poop is also common, but it can be tricky. While it might be a sign of internal worms, Coccidiosis, kidney issues, or typhoid, there’s no reason for worrying without other alarming symptoms.
It might just be due to a diet heavy in corn or overeating squash, strawberries, or Forsythia blossoms.
Runny Brown Poop
While it can indicate infectious bronchitis or E. coli, runny brown chicken poop can result from a chicken’s diet as well. If your chicken ate many foods with high water content, such as cucumbers and zucchini, their droppings could become runny and brown.
One important point here is not to confuse runny brown poop with cecal poop. Cecal poop is different in texture and seems like pudding with a highly unpleasant smell. It’s also a normal type of chicken poop coming out about every 8 or 7 times it poops.
Seeing red or orange poop in your chicken coop or backyard can be scary because it may be a sign of a disease or lead poisoning. However, usually, there’s no need to worry as it may be due to shedding off the intestinal lining, which is entirely safe.
Remember not to confuse bloody poop with red or orange poop. Bloody droppings are not normal and can be a symptom of Coccidiosis, a very contagious parasitic disease related to the intestines. To make sure, look for other symptoms in your chicken, for instance, hunching over or fluffing up.
If you see such symptoms accompanying the bloody poop, you’re likely dealing with a serious issue. Take a poop sample to your vet immediately to diagnose the problem and prevent it from spreading to other chickens in the flock.
White chicken poop is also common and can appear for many reasons. Besides, almost all chicken poops come with white caps.
Completely white chicken poop can be caused by drinking too much water or consuming foods high in water, like watermelon, celery, zucchini, and cucumbers.
However, you shouldn’t overlook white poop because it can indicate conditions like stress, kidney damage, internal diseases, or even vent gleet.
Large Piles of Poop
An unusually large pile of poop is very common in broody hens. They don’t leave their nest as often as other chickens; they leave the nest just a few times a day, so it’s their only opportunity to get rid of their poop.
That’s why broody hens’ poop looks remarkably larger, and it also smells much worse than usual.
Worms in Poop
Seeing worms in your chicken’s poop is also abnormal and indicates active parasites in its body.
You can solve the issue with the right meds. Since worms can quickly spread to other chickens, medicate the whole flock in addition to the affected chicken.
To prevent parasite infestation, provide a healthy diet for your chickens and make sure they can forage in the fresh pasture. Using garlic in their diet can also be helpful.
Seeing loose runny poop from time to time is normal, and there’s no reason to worry. But if you consistently see yellowish greasy poop, you should address it.
The reason for diarrhea in chickens is usually eating something that doesn’t agree with their diet. For example, cheese, oranges, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, and berries can cause diarrhea.
If changing its diet doesn’t help with diarrhea, it’s better to consult with a vet as it can be an indicator of parasites or serious diseases like Coccidiosis.
White watery poop can be a warning sign. It can indicate kidney failure, which is more common in older chickens or those with a high-protein diet.
However, watery droppings often result from over-consuming water or eating waterlogged foods like lettuce or watermelon.
White poop is nothing to worry about on its own. But if this happens constantly and poop looks milky, it can be an alarming sign of parasites.
Milky chicken poop can also be a sign of Gumboro disease. Unlike parasites that you can cure with a dewormer, it’s hard to treat infected chickens with this kind of disease.
Clear poop or poop that is very watery can be a sign of infectious bronchitis, requiring strong antibiotics. This kind of poop can also be a symptom of stress. Most of the time, it shows a chicken has been recently dislocated or has gone a while without food.
How to Dispose of Chicken Poop?
To dispose of chicken poop, you may do the following:
Step 1: Provide absorbent bedding for your chicken coop to dry out their poop and make it less smelly and messy.
Step 2: Clean up the bedding and poop every few days or at least once a week.
Step 3: Add it to a bin and then compile it in a compost hole. It will decompose and turn into manure.
Chicken poop is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, making it an excellent fertilizer for your garden. It also amends the soil and increases its capacity for holding water. However, you shouldn’t add fresh poop to the soil as it can burn the plants; let it stay as it is for at least six months.
Here is a good video about the way you can make chicken compost:
How to Get Chicken Poop off Concrete?
If the droppings are dried out, scrape the dried poop off the concrete first. To do this, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Use a shovel or the like for scraping.
Step 2: Pour plain or soapy water on the remaining material to become wet.
Step 3: After washing it thoroughly with water and a detergent, apply a disinfectant to the area.
Does Chicken Poop Carry Diseases?
Chicken waste can contain germs and carry pathogens; the most common are Actinobacillus, Salmonella, Campylobacter, coliforms, and Escherichia coli. However, you can handle the contaminants by taking protective measures like washing your hands.