Do Chickens Have Lips

Do Chickens Have Lips? | Chicken Facts

No, chickens do not have lips. Chickens are birds, and as such, they have a beak in place of lips that better serve them. They don’t have teeth either, although they do have tongues.

It’s not as crazy of a question as it first sounds, either. After all, lips are important for us so why don’t other animals and birds have them?

In this article, I’ll explain why we need lips and chickens don’t!

Why Don’t Chickens (And Other Birds) Have Lips?

This is an interesting question. First of all, they obviously don’t need lips if they don’t have any.

Secondly, it’s easier if we look at why we have lips and what we use them for and work backward.

Here are the main reasons why we (and most mammals) have lips;

  • So we can nurse from our mothers as babies
  • They provide a sensory barrier against things going into our mouths we don’t want
  • We use them to help us form sounds and speak clearly
  • We get pleasure from the sensations 

Just looking at those four points, it’s easy to see why birds don’t have lips.

Chickens don’t nurse or breastfeed, they aren’t as likely to eat something unwanted, they don’t talk (although chickens can make a number of different sounds), and they don’t derive pleasure as we do.

This is one of the many differences between mammals and birds that makes perfect sense when you look at how we both function.

How Do Chickens Eat Without Lips?

How Do Chickens Eat Without Lips

They eat just fine without lips. In fact, their beaks are much more useful for the kinds of foods they eat in the wild.

This is because chickens use their beaks to peck, forage, scratch around, and break up food before eating it.

A lot of what they eat needs to be foraged for, cracked, broken into, or smashed. Obviously, we’re able to use our hands and tools to do these things. Chickens aren’t able to.

With the aid of a small tongue, they then let the food pass down their esophagus into their crop. The crop is basically a holding area, often noticeable as a large bulge around the breast area.

When ready, which is typically overnight, the food then passes from their crop into their stomach.

In their stomach they have an organ called a gizzard, which is essentially a strong muscle.

They use their gizzard to “chew” up food with the help of rough grit. Chickens don’t have teeth, remember. This is how they break up food for digestion.

Related Do chickens have tongues?

Why Are Beaks Better Than Lips for Chickens?

Just think about how silly a chicken would look with a pair of lips!

Ok, jokes aside. Chickens and birds have evolved to have beaks because it’s the best tool they can have for the things they do.

In fact, beaks have been essential for their survival over the years. It’s believed that birds first had teeth, but evolved to have beaks as it was better for their survival.

This is because as I covered above, having a tough beak enables them to find food without the use of hands. Things like cracking nuts and grains or the hard shells on edible creatures wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

Beaks also come in handy for being able to dig and find worms and other insects – imagine trying to do that with lips!

Another very important reason – although this doesn’t apply to chickens in the same way as a lot of other birds – is that beaks help them with flight.

Birds need to be light to fly, which is why they also have hollow bones. Beaks are much lighter than teeth, for example, and a lot more aerodynamic than lips.

When you think of all the reasons why bills are better suited to birds than lips it all starts to make perfect sense, doesn’t it?

RelatedDo chicken’s beaks grow back?

In Summary – Do Chickens Have Lips?

I hope you enjoyed this article and now understand why chickens do not have lips, and why they’re much better off with their beaks.

The stuff they use their beaks for just wouldn’t be possible with lips. They wouldn’t be able to dig up tasty (for them) insects and bugs, crack shells, and scratch around on the floor with lips.

Likewise, we wouldn’t be able to survive without lips!

Resources

Why do birds have beaks? – Gridclub.com

Image credits – Header image by Collin Leynau, rooster image by chuttersnap on Unsplash