Do Chickens Pee? How Do Chickens Urinate?

Chicken peeing

Chickens do pee, but in a way that one might not expect. Unlike mammals, which have separate systems for urine and feces, chickens use a single opening called the cloaca to expel both solid and liquid waste.

This means their “pee” isn’t liquid but rather a form of white uric acid that comes out mixed with their poop. This efficient process allows chickens to conserve water and adapt perfectly to their environment.

In this article, we’ll look at the fascinating world of chickens and their unique waste management. We’ll uncover how this system works, why it’s beneficial for them, and how often chickens eliminate waste. Let’s start!

Why Chickens Don’t Pee or Urinate

Three chickens on a compost heap

Chickens don’t pee like mammals do because they’re built differently. Like most birds, they don’t have a bladder or a urethra, which are the organs mammals use to store and excrete urine.

Instead, chickens excrete waste in the form of uric acid, which is a white paste-like substance.

This uric acid gets mixed with their feces and leaves their body through the cloaca, which is the common opening for the digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems in birds.

This adaptation is more efficient for birds, as it helps them stay hydrated with less water and reduces the weight of waste products, which is especially important for animals that fly.

How Does the Chicken Digestive System Work?

To understand how chickens get rid of waste, it helps to know how their digestive system works. Let’s take a closer look at each part of their digestive system to see how it all fits together.

Beak and Esophagus

Chickens begin their digestive process as soon as they pick up food with their beaks. Since they don’t have teeth, they swallow food whole or in small pieces.

They rely on saliva, which contains enzymes, to start breaking down the food as it enters their mouths. After swallowing, the food travels down the esophagus to a special storage area called the crop.


The crop is a pouch-like organ located at the base of the chicken’s neck that serves as a storage space for consumed food. Here, food is moistened and softened before it moves to the stomach.

This allows chickens to eat quickly and digest later, an adaptation that’s useful for foraging and avoiding predators.

Fun Fact: A chicken’s crop can store food for up to 12 hours, allowing them to sustain themselves without constantly foraging.


The chicken’s stomach is divided into two parts: the proventriculus and the gizzard. In the proventriculus, digestive enzymes and acids start breaking down the food.

Next, the food moves to the gizzard, a strong muscular organ that grinds the food with the help of ingested grit. This is how chickens “chew” their food without teeth.

Small Intestine

After the gizzard, the finely ground food enters the small intestine, where most of the nutrient absorption takes place.

Here, nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal walls and into the bloodstream.

The liver and pancreas are crucial in this process, as they release enzymes and bile to help break down and absorb nutrients.


The ceca are two pouches found where the small and large intestines meet. While their size and function can vary in different bird species, in chickens, the ceca help ferment undigested foods, especially fibrous materials.

This process allows for the breakdown of cellulose and the absorption of nutrients and water that were not absorbed in the earlier stages of digestion.

Large Intestine

The large intestine is where the chicken’s body recovers water and prepares the remaining undigested food and waste for expulsion.

Its main job is to make sure that nothing goes to waste, ensuring that the chicken retains as much water and nutrients as possible.


The cloaca is the final chamber where the digestive and urinary tracts meet.

It has three regions: the coprodeum for feces, the urodeum for urine and reproductive products, and the proctodeum, where these wastes mix before being expelled through the vent.

This efficient setup lets chickens get rid of solid and liquid waste together, conserving water and avoiding the need for a separate urinary system.

Fun Fact: In the world of chickens, the cloaca is not just about digestion and waste elimination; it plays a crucial role in their mating process as well.

During mating, chickens engage in a “cloacal kiss,” where the male and female cloacas touch to transfer sperm.

The Composition of Chicken Manure

Chicken manure on a concrete surface

Chicken manure is a mix of what you’d call feces and urine in mammals. The darker part is the feces, which come from the food they digest. Meanwhile, the white part is the chicken’s version of urine, made up of uric acid.

Uric acid is less soluble in water than the urea in mammal urine, so it comes out as a solid or pasty white substance in chicken droppings. This system helps chickens stay hydrated with less water, which is important for birds.

The size and consistency of these white spots can change based on the chicken’s diet and hydration.

If a chicken drinks plenty of water, the white spots may look more diluted and spread out, making the droppings appear wetter. On the other hand, less water intake can make the white parts look more concentrated.

The composition of chicken manure, including the white uric acid, makes it a potent fertilizer. It’s rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are essential nutrients for plant growth.

We have been using chicken manure in our garden for years and swear by it. However, I would like to emphasize the importance of composting it first to prevent the plants from getting too much nitrogen, which could harm them.

This extra step transforms it into a garden superfood, and we’ve seen our vegetables thrive, becoming more colorful and growing faster than ever.

How Often Do Chickens Poop and “Pee”?

Chickens are pretty regular when it comes to pooping and “peeing,” which they do through the same process. On average, a chicken can poop anywhere from 8 to 15 times a day, but this can vary.

Larger chicken breeds might not go as often, while smaller chickens, with their smaller cloacas, tend to poop more frequently.

This is because the size of the cloaca affects how much waste they can hold before they need to eliminate it.

Interestingly, chickens don’t have a set time for when they need to go. They can poop at any time of the day or night, even in their sleep.

It’s just how they’re wired, always digesting and getting rid of waste so they can stay light on their feet.

For anyone keeping chickens, this means you’ve got to keep their home clean. With all that pooping, things can get messy fast.

Making sure their coop is cleaned out regularly helps keep the chickens happy and healthy. It’s a bit of work, but it’s all part of the deal when you’re raising chickens.

Pro Tip: Keeping an eye on your chickens’ droppings is a smart way to check their health. Changes in color, texture, or how often they go could mean they have parasites, infections, or are eating the wrong foods.

Healthy droppings should be firm, with a dark brown color for feces and a white or light-colored cap for uric acid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dry chicken poop on a concrete surface

Do Chickens Pee and Poop From the Same Hole?

Yes, chickens pee and poop from the same hole called the cloaca. It’s a special body part where their digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems all meet.

Do Chickens Pee and Poop at the Same Time?

Yes, chickens pee and poop at the same time. When chickens go, they release a mix of solid waste and uric acid, which is their form of urine, all together.

This combo means they take care of both needs in one go, making it super efficient.

Do Chickens Urinate Through Their Skin?

Like most birds, chickens don’t have sweat glands, so they don’t urinate or sweat through their skin.

Instead, they excrete waste in the form of uric acid, which is mixed with feces and expelled from their bodies through the cloaca.

So, what do you think about the unique way in which chickens urinate? Feel free to drop your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

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