If you have just purchased a chicken or are thinking about getting one, you probably have several questions. One of the most common questions we get is whether or not chickens pee. Many people may be surprised to learn that chickens and most other birds do not pee the way humans do. We are going to take a look at how chickens release urine. Keep reading while we look at the inner workings of the chicken so you can better understand how their bodies operate.
How Does A Chicken Excrete Urine?
Chickens utilize a different system to expel urine than mammals, including humans, cats, and dogs. Like humans, chickens have two kidneys that help balance electrolytes, sustain water levels, and remove metabolic waste. However, unlike humans, chickens do not have a bladder to store urine. There is also no urethra to release the urine into the body. Instead, chickens reroute the urine back into their large intestines. Once the urine is in the large intestines, it can reabsorb much of the water in the urine, transforming it into a white pasty substance that most of us have seen accompanying their poop.
Preventing Urinary Problems
A high protein diet can cause your chicken to produce more uric acid than it can process. If your chicken regularly consumes too much protein, it can lead to a condition called gout, which is potentially fatal.
Just because your chicken doesn’t pee doesn’t mean it can go without water. Chickens need to stay hydrated like any other living thing. Water helps flush the kidneys of toxins and excess uric acid.
The type of food you feed your chicken can greatly impact the kidneys and the urinary system. Grains meant for other livestock may not be suitable for chickens and can lead to health problems. Only chicken feed will provide the right balance of vitamins and minerals to keep your chicken healthy and the urinary system functioning properly.
Laying pellets are a type of food that is good for chickens that are about to lay eggs. However, these pellets are high in protein and calcium, which can overload your chicken’s kidney leading to health problems. Only use these pellets for chickens that have just started laying eggs and follow the feeding direction closely.
Do Chicken Eggs Come Out Where They Poop?
Since we are already talking about bathroom activity, we might as well answer another common question: where are chicken eggs delivered from? As you may have guessed, the eggs come out of the same place that the poop and urine come out. However, there are different chambers in this part of the body, so it’s separate until it exits the chicken. The egg does not pass through the colon, only makes use of the same exit door.
Keeping the Eggs Clean
Many egg collectors will tell you that most eggs have poop on them when they are retrieved. However, this has nothing to do with the eggs and the poop sharing the same hole, and most eggs will come out clean. However, as the egg sits, there is a good chance that the chicken will poop on the egg as they can expel a huge amount of waste in a single day. Keeping the area clean and frequently collecting the eggs will help keep them cleaner.
A chicken can occasionally get a condition called vent gleet, also called the pasty butt. This condition occurs when the butt becomes pasted with feathers, dirt, and fecal material and cannot operate correctly. If you notice your chicken suffering from this problem, we recommend separating the chicken from the rest in case bacteria is to blame. You will also need to clean the coop well to ensure no mud or moisture could be the cause. Wash your chicken gently with a damp cloth to help loosen and remove the caked-on material. It can take several hours to remove completely, so don’t lose patience or get rough. If it doesn’t seem to be loosening up after several attempts, you may need to call the vet for additional advice. Adding one teaspoon of vinegar to each gallon of water you give to the chickens can help reduce the risk of vent gleet.
Chickens don’t pee, but they still have and need to get rid of urine. The system they use is foreign to us but allows them to make more efficient use of the water in their bodies to prevent dehydration. It’s effective as long as you don’t feed them too much protein and keep an eye out for vent gleet. We hope you have enjoyed reading and found the information you need. If we have helped you learn a little more about your birds, please share our answer to if chickens pee on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: munzelminka, Pixabay
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.