A chicken has 1 heart. They have 4-chambered hearts, resembling ours in many ways. There are animals with more than one heart, and some have 2-chambered hearts, but chickens definitely have only one, 4-chambered heart.
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How Many Hearts Does a Chicken Have?
It’s not as silly of a question as some may think asking how many hearts an animal has. There are several animals that have more than one heart, but I can confirm that chickens do only have one heart.
Chickens - and this is true of birds in general - have high-performance cardiovascular systems designed to help them with flight (not so much chickens now!) and other activities.
Their hearts are located just right of their midline, and their hearts are typically bigger in relation to their size than that of mammals to help pump higher volumes of blood.
Interestingly, chickens also have four-chambered hearts as we do. This means they have the left atrium and right atrium (upper chambers), and the left ventricle and right ventricle (lower chambers).
Do Chickens Have Two Chambered Hearts?
Chickens do not have two-chambered hearts, no. Chickens have four-chambered hearts, the same as we do.
The four chambers refer to two atria and two ventricles performing the following functions:
- The right atrium receives oxygen-poor blood from the body and pumps it to the right ventricle.
- The left ventricle pumps the oxygen-rich blood to the body.
- The left atrium receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and pumps it to the left ventricle.
- The right ventricle pumps the oxygen-poor blood to the lungs.
There are animals that do have two-chambered hearts, as well as some that have three-chambered hearts.
For example, fish are known to have only a two-chambered heart. Their heart consists of one auricle or atrium, and one ventricle.
While most reptiles, I think only crocodiles of the exception, have three-chambered hearts. They have two auricles and one ventricle.
How a Chicken’s Heart Works
A chicken’s heart works a lot like a human heart. The main difference is that chickens have a much higher metabolic rate than we do.
Chickens have an average body temperature in the range of 105°F and 107°F (40.6° and 41.7°C). While we have a body temperature of 97°F (36.1°C) to 99°F (37.2°C).
They also have a much faster pulse rate in the range of 200-300 beats per minute while resting, and this rises anywhere up to 400 beats per minute.
Our resting pulse is in the range of 60-100 beats per minute. That’s a huge difference, so you can understand why a chicken’s heart has a much greater demand than ours.
What Animal Has the Most Hearts?
There are a number of animals and other creatures with more than one heart.
It's not always as straightforward and having more than one operating heart, but I was able to find some interesting creatures that are listed as having more than one heart:
Octopuses and squids have 3 hearts - Octopuses and squids come in hundreds of species and vary in size, but they all have three hearts.
One heart pumps their blood throughout their circulatory system, and the other two hearts pump blood through their gills.
Cockroaches have 13 chambers - technically cockroaches do not have more than one complete heart, but they have 13 chambers which is very unique.
Worms have 5 hearts - worms' circulatory systems are not as complex as ours, but they do have more hearts than we do with most having five.
Are Chicken Hearts Edible?
Chicken hearts are edible, yes. In fact, Healthline states they are rich in several key nutrients, including protein, zinc, iron, and B vitamins.
It’s an organ that is not easily found, especially where I’m located. If you can get hold of a chicken's heart when you are and you're interested to try it, I recommend doing so.
It's a small and delicate organ that's quick and easy to prepare. It looks like most recipes revolve around a few minutes of pan-frying and some seasoning.
On the taste and texture side, it will come as no surprise that they're quite chewy and are said to have a 'slightly metallic' flavor.
While on topic, it might also come as a surprise that chicken combs are eaten in some parts of the world!
There you have it, much to the surprise of many, chickens have one heart and it's very similar to ours.
Their hearts are considered quite the delicacy in certain parts of the world. Maybe you should try some if you happen to see chicken heart on the menu!
Image credits - Photo by Thomas Iversen on Unsplash
The Cardiovascular System of Birds - ScienceDirect
The Heart Explained - BetterHealthChannel