A question that people always ask me - especially when handling chickens - is, how often do chickens poop?
It’s an interesting question, and one you should know the answer to if you’re going to be keeping and handling backyard chickens.
Adult chickens can poop as often as every 20-30 minutes. The amount, size, and frequency depend on the size of the chicken and their diet. But in my experience, this is the average.
If that wasn’t enough information for you, here are some other interesting facts (and uses) about chicken poop!
What Does Normal Chicken Poop Look Like?
As with a lot of animals, you can tell a lot about a chicken’s diet and general health from looking at their poop.
It’s not the nicest thing in the world to do. But, at the same time, it’s pretty much unavoidable too when you’re cleaning up after your chicks.
“Normal” poop from a healthy chicken should be brown or green in color. You’ll also notice a white substance in it too, these are urates.
This is because chickens don’t pee, and do not have a separate exit for the pee to come out of. So, yes they pee and poop at the same time, not "thru their skin" as the myth goes.
For the most part, their poop should be firm. Slightly soft poop doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong, it might just be to something in their diet.
For example, if a chicken eats a lot of grass their poop might be more green than normal. Likewise, if they eat red berries, you can expect reddish poop.
It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
Related content - Do chickens pee?
Do Chickens Poop When They Sleep?
Yes, chickens poop while they’re sleeping - a lot!
They aren’t able to control their bodily functions as we are. This is because they don’t have a sphincter, which is the muscle that helps us control our bodily functions.
Plus, let’s be honest here. A chicken wouldn’t want to wake up and go to the bathroom several times throughout the night!
This is why it’s important to have a roosting bar available for chickens to sleep on. Not only is it the most natural way for them to sleep. It enables you to create an area where most of their poop will be so it’s easier to clean up.
Do Chickens Poop Everywhere?
Yes, they do. Chickens do not poop in a designated area, they will poop wherever they are throughout the day.
As I explained at the beginning of this post, adult chickens poop 1-2 times an hour and they can’t control it.
This means they will poop when they need to. It’s not as bad as it may sound, though. Their poop isn’t very big, it’s not like you’re going to have poop everywhere within a day or two.
Most of their poop will be in their coop and run. If you’re using the deep litter method, then you can actually make the most of the fact that their pooping in their coop.
Related content - How often to change your chicken’s bedding?
Can You Train Chickens Not to Poop When You're Handling Them?
I’ve read some stories from backyard chicken owners and people who keep chickens as house pets that say they were able to teach their chickens to poop outside or in a litter box.
These stories are rare, however, and I’ve never seen it myself in person. From owning chickens, I can imagine it would take a lot of patience and can’t see how it would ever be 100% successful.
Don’t let this put you off though. I have some chickens that have never pooped on me while being handled, and some that almost always do!
For the most part, I think it comes down to the individual chicken. Some will be more trainable than others, and some are less prone to pooping on people. I know this for sure.
Maybe it’s due to them being nervous, not being totally comfortable being held, or their pecking order. I’m not sure, maybe you can figure it out within your own flock.
Is Chicken Poop Harmful/Toxic to Humans?
Poultry poop is potentially harmful and toxic to us, yes. So, you should always wear gloves and be very careful when cleaning up after your chooks and mucking out their coop.
I can’t imagine anyone here isn’t already super careful!
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the main health concerns for us and other pets are contracting Salmonella and Campylobacter. Two bacterial diseases that can come from their poop.
If you get infected with either of these bacterias you can expect anything from stomach cramps, diarrhea, and aches and pains to some potentially more serious infections.
Do everything you can to ensure their feces can’t get anywhere near their drinking water and food containers. Clean up on a regular basis, and make sure you and any other household pets do not come into contact with any.
In Summary - How Often Do Chickens Poop?
Chickens poop every 30 minutes or so throughout the day, and a whole lot overnight while they’re sleeping too.
Keeping any pets comes with pros and cons. For me, backyard chickens are one of the more desirable and easiest pets to keep, with cleaning up after them being the only real downside.
I don’t want to put anywhere off here. It sounds like a lot of poop, but it’s not a big deal cleaning up after a flock of chickens. Especially if you’re using some of their poop to make compost for your yard.
There you go. Everything you should ever want or need to know about chicken poop!