When you see/hear an animal burp, it’s pretty humorous. If you’ve never heard your chickens burp, you may wonder whether they do.
Do chickens burp? According to experts, they do burp. It’s usually caused by them eating too fast, overeating, or having a crop-related issue (1).
But there’s more to discuss on this topic, such as if it’s a sign of worry.
So keep reading, and I’ll answer all your questions about this topic!
Table of Contents
- Burping is a common thing for chickens to do. It’ll happen whenever they eat too fast, overeat, or suffer from a crop-related issue.
- A chicken’s crop stores undigested food before the digestive process starts. It’s what makes a chicken’s digestive system different from a human’s.
- In most cases, burping isn’t something to worry about for owners. But if it becomes excessive, it could indicate a severe crop issue, parasites, or worms.
How Does a Chicken Digestive System Works?
Understanding how a chicken’s digestive system works is simple. In fact, their digestive system is pretty much the same as humans (2).
Both allow foods to travel through the digestive tract. Once inside the tract, the body extracts the nutrition from it before it ends up in the intestine as waste.
However, there is a slight difference between the two digestive systems. This distinction comes from how food is stored and processed.
In chickens, the food travels down their esophagus into the crop in chickens. It’s where the undigested food gets stored and waits for the digestive process to start.
It’ll then start whenever the food’s ready to be digested. In most cases, it’ll happen when your backyard chicken flocks catch some z’s at night (3).
During this time, food will travel into their stomach to the gizzard. It’ll then meet the gizzard’s large muscles, grinding the food.
You can expect the food to combine with grit. It’s essential because it ensures the food is broken down and processed correctly.
But sometimes, this process goes differently than intended. Some foods will have harmful bacteria within them, causing issues when the gizzard digests the food, and grits are mixed.
This situation will cause air to form and pushes it back up the esophagus. You can then guess what happens next; a menacing burp.
Honestly, I can’t believe the level of burps my flock produces. I’ll just be minding my own business, and a loud burp will echo throughout the chicken coop.
Check out this video of a virtual chicken:
Is Excessive Burping a Problem For Chickens?
The occasional burping isn’t anything to worry about with your flock. As they eat, your chickens will burp from time to time.
It’ll happen whenever a gas build in their stomachs and needs releasing. They may also fart to remove excess air from their stomach.
But if the burping becomes excessive, it could indicate an issue with their digestive system. One of the first signs is burping without eating a lot of food.
It indicates there’s something within their stomach causing the excessive burping. Here are a few potential reasons why it may be occurring:
One of the more common reasons for excessive burping is parasites/worms. This issue often presents itself in backyard chicken flocks allowed to roam freely.
These backyard flocks will eat something found inside the yard. It’ll then be infested with these parasites or worms, causing them to burp excessively.
It’s why backyard chicken keepers must be extra careful. You never want your flock to eat something outside their balanced diet.
If you suspect they have worms or parasites, seek medical attention quickly. It can get out of hand fast, especially within a large flock.
One infected chicken will spread it to the others almost immediately. So it’s not a situation that you want to take lightly.
#2 Impacted Crop
As mentioned, our feathered friends will eat almost anything in their area. So it’s not surprising they have a habit of getting things stuck in their digestive tract or crop.
If this happens, it’s called an impacted crop. It’ll then cause a blockage and excessive burping to the point where it’s incredibly noticeable.
Some common materials to cause an impacted crop to include “newspapers, grass, feathers, string, plastic,” or wood (1). I even had a chicken get one from eating a kid’s toy.
#3 Sour Crop
Sour crop is much more common than flock owners expect. It occurs when food goes into the crop and fails to empty, creating a sour crop in chickens.
It usually doesn’t empty because food got stuck or a blockage formed. This food will then start to produce an overgrowth of Candida albicans (yeast infection).
Once this happens, excessive gas will build up in their digestive system. You can then expect a significant amount of burping.
The only appropriate next step is seeking medical attention from an avian veterinarian. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can fix on your own without expert help.
#4 Pendulous Crop
Our last cause, pendulous crop, is the most serious one. A pendulous crop is when the organ gets blocked, and food can’t pass through it.
It then will begin to stretch so much that it bulges, and the organs will start to hang. Obviously, it’s not an ideal situation.
A pendulous crop is similar to an impacted crop but much more severe since it damages a significant organ. It can’t function properly if it’s damaged and starts to hang.
It’ll cause them to have a harder time pushing food through their digestive tract. Thankfully, if you notice a chicken is suffering from a pendulous crop, there’s a way to help them.
You can try to empty the crop by “burping” the chickens. You’ll need to start by holding its head at a 60-degree angle to the ground.
Once you’ve got a good grip, massage the crop until the lodged content drop to the floor. After the object comes out, please leave them in a quiet place for 48 hours.
Check the bird every 2-3 hours to see if the organ returns to the proper size.
#1 Do chickens fart?
Yes, chickens do fart. Similar to burping, when there’s excessive gas in the stomach, they relieve them through their anus and fart.
#2 Do chickens have teeth?
Similar to other wild birds, our feathered friends don’t have teeth. They eat their food by swallowing it quickly and storing it in their crop.
So do chickens burp? It’s a standard part of their routine. It usually occurs when your flock starts eating their food too quickly.
But if the burping becomes excessive, scheduling a vet visit is vital. You’ll want an expert option to get a handle on what’s bothering your feathered friend.
1. Common Crop Issues in Backyard Chickens | University of Maryland Extension [Internet]. extension.umd.edu. [cited 2023 Feb 16]. Available from: https://extension.umd.edu/resource/common-crop-issues-backyard-chickens
2. mischa. The ins and outs of our digestive system [Internet]. Curious. 2015. Available from: https://www.science.org.au/curious/people-medicine/digestive-system
3. Backyard Poultry | Healthy Pets, Healthy People | CDC [Internet]. www.cdc.gov. 2020. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/farm-animals/backyard-poultry.html
Grigorina grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped her into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). She has two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but she also feeds her neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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