Can chickens throw up?

Chickens are usually raised more for egg and meat purposes than as pets, so sometimes people do not give too much attention to their features.

If people are asked if dogs can vomit, I guess most of them know the answer. But how about chickens? I am sure that a lot of people have no answer. So can chickens throw up?

Can chickens throw up?

No, chickens cannot throw up like the way humans do. You might still behold some situations that there is something coming out from chickens’ mouths, but it is not vomiting like we usually do.

Can chickens throw up? NO
Can chickens throw up? NO

To get an understanding of what exactly it is, you can refer to this information below.

Expelling excess water

Chickens drink water by dipping all their beaks into a water bowl and gulp water down the necks thanks to gravity. Though they still have tongues, they do not have the moving range like people usually do, therefore chickens do not swallow fluids as the way humans do.

This is the most common reason that people suppose chickens are throwing up. In fact, it is just residual water when chickens consume too much water at once and it needs to be poured out. This situation is easier to behold with younger chickens. (Source)

Ascites Syndrome

In case you see other fluids coming out of chickens’ mouths, it is probably the sign of a disease called ascites syndrome. Not only animals can get this disease but also humans can get it. Let’s find out what Ascites Syndrome is.

Like we said, chicken cannot throw up like the way humans do. To be more specific, they are not able to contract the muscles of their diaphram, neck, and abdomen to upchuck things out of their upset stomachs like people usually do when vomiting.

So when you see fluids pouring out from chickens’ mouths, it means that fluids are accumulating in their internal parts and bodies, and without no doubt, that fluids have to be expelled out from chickens’ beaks. That is how Ascites Syndrome occurs.

Chickens possess lungs like people, however, they are small, stable in their thoracic cavities, and cannot enlarge. When chickens cannot meet the oxygen demands, ascites can happen.

Some external factors affecting chicken lungs’ function are a damp living environment, inadequate ventilation, and even the rapid temperature changes.

Apart from them, a damaged liver also leads to Ascites. When a liver has cancers or tumors, its function is definitely weaker. The main reason influencing chickens’ livers is harmful feed. If you feed your chickens with an excessive amount of scratch corn, they can have fatty liver issues and easily suffer ascites as well.

Impact Crop

Impact crop in chickens
Impact crop in chickens

Chickens have big pouches which gather food after they gulp it. When these pouches of chickens are blocked, they are called impacted crops. This is mainly because there is straw or some stuff difficult passing through chickens’ digestive systems.

You can recognize this problem by seeing something coming out from chickens’ mouths or a big swelling appearing at chicken’ chests.

Sour Crop

Sour crop is a little different from impact crop. Impact crop occurs when food does not come into it and the crop is empty, however, a sour crop has fermented contents which cause a yeast or bacterial infection. Chickens will eject a dark and smelly substance out of their beaks when having a sour crop.

Some solutions

Ascites Syndrome

Since we know the reasons why chickens suffer Ascites Syndrome, it would be much easier to prepare some proper methods to deal with this problem.

Firstly, you need to provide chickens with fresh, dry, and well ventilated living spaces.

Secondly, keeping in mind to feed your chickens with suitable dietary food. When your chickens consume balanced and adequate nutrition, they not only less suffer Ascites but also are much healthier.

Impact Crop

Giving chickens some olive or vegetable oil and massaging their crops are the things you can do first to help your chickens overcome impact crops. Some nasty contents which are under the breaking down process will get out from chickens by doing this.

In case that it is not effective, you have to anatomize your chickens to save them. However, if you have never done it before, it would be better to ask for a poultry vet’s help.

Sour crop

Here are some tips to prevent your chickens from the sour crop:

Firstly, you should not allow chickens to eat too long and stringy grass. When chickens are not provided with plant fibers in a long time, they will find and eat tough grass and have trouble digesting. As a result, it can cause sour crop.

Secondly, it would be better if you add apple cider vinegar to their diet since it is known as an antifungal substance. So it can prevent and cure chickens’ yeast infection.

Finally, you should give chickens some plain yogurt once a week to enhance their digest systems.

Once your chickens have a sour crop, you should not provide them with any food or water for 24 hours first. Stucking more food in the crop just makes chickens worse.

Then you need to massage chickens’ crops slightly a couple of times a day to eject contents out of chickens. And you also bring them to a poultry vet if the situation turns worse. (Source)


So, the final answer is that chickens cannot throw up like humans do. These symptoms being similar to vomiting are the signs of their dangerous health problems, so you need to watch them carefully and have some solutions to prevent and tackle them.