Can chickens vomit?

Chickens are on our the most fun and enjoyable animals to keep, raise, and observe. They can eat pretty much anything humans can and they aren’t picky, they also have personalities, which makes them fascinating to watch.

But, no food is perfect, so problems about food in chickens is evitable. Since the way chickens process and digest food is different from humans, one might assume digesting problems, particularly vomiting, won’t happen on chickens. So can chickens vomit?

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Can chickens vomit?

Chickens don’t technically vomit. The stuff coming out of their mouths when they seemingly vomit is simply undigested food and water since the crop inside the chickens can’t store more food coming up.

Why can’t chicken vomit?

What is vomiting?

Vomiting (also known as throwing up, puking, emesis, barfing, and more) is the forceful or involuntary expulsion of the food, water, or anything inside a stomach through the mouth. It can sometimes go through the nose as well.

Chickens can't technically vomit
Chickens can’t technically vomit (Image Credit By Georg Bommeli)

Why can’t we call it vomiting when it comes to chickens?

The stuff coming out of the chicken’s mouth when you presumably see they vomit is just the undigested food and water from its crop.

The crop can be considered the storage compartment of a chicken. It’s where the food goes first and stays before continuing to the gizzard, where the real “digestive” process begins.

In order to be called vomiting, the content has to come from the “stomach” of an animal – where food and other stuff are broken down. Since the chickens’ crops only store food, and the stomach can break down food, the crop is nowhere equivalent to the stomach. Therefore, for chickens, it is not technically vomiting.

With that being said, the crop is still a part of the digestive process of a chicken. And just like the stomach possibly having problems, there is something you should pay attention to relating to the chicken’s crop: sour crop.

Sour crop

What is a sour crop?

The Candida albicans’ yeast infection is the cause of sour crop. While the Candida bacteria’s presence inside a chicken is natural, it will be a problem when the bacteria “bloom” occurs.

It will lead to crop thickening and dilation. The Candida also diaries other normal bacteria flora in the crop, which further cause problems, such as the hen not being able to empty get stomach and blockage in the stomach. It can lead to weight loss, and worse, death.

Signs of sour crop

Not flat crop

The chicken’s crop should be flat in the morning. When its crop is full, squishy, and soggy, the chicken may feel sore, so try to be gentle when interacting with it.

Gurgling sound

The generation prices can make the gurgling sound, and you can hear it when placing your ear at the chicken’s breast area.

Sour breath

Affected chickens will have a putrid sour and smell, which is where the name came from. Inside the mount of the affected chickens may have whitish patches or the entire mouth will be white if the situation gets worse.

Low appetite

Affected chickens tend to be quieter than normal and have a depressed appetite, or possibly diarrhea. If you see fluid coming out of its beak, something is surely wrong.

Chickens can't technically vomit
Chickens can’t technically vomit (Image Credit by Philippe Oursel)

Causes of sour crop

  • Crops that empty slowly: it can cause food accumulation, and the food can’t be processed as fast
  • Impacted crop
  • Antibiotics: antibiotics treatment can kill useful bacteria, so the digestion process will be affected.
  • Infection
  • Worms
  • Injury
  • Long and tough grasses
  • And more…

Treating sour crop

The process involves massaging the cup frequently once you notice the symptoms to encourage movements:

First, isolate the infected chickens from for and water for 12 hours, then massage the crop from top to bottom once every few hours to try to mine the food along the digestive path

Give the infected chickens clean water after 12 hours to hopefully clean up the digestive system

Start giving the chickens food using scrambled eggs or plain yogurt mixed with the pellets. Feed the chickens 3 to 4 small meal during the first 1 or 2 days, and give them lots of water

Remove the fluid

You will need to get the fluid it is the chicken’s body of there is any leaking from the beak. And take it seriously, since the fluid can possibly go to the lungs.

When doing so, try sitting down and kneeling down while wearing old pants, and wrap the chicken in a towel to hold her gently.

Now lean the chicken over its head toward the ground, then massage the crop from bottom to top to get the fluid out. Do this for only about 15 to 20 seconds and put the chicken back to its normal position again.

The process can be repeated 3 to 4 times but no more than 4 times per day. If there is no fluid coming out, the crop may have little fluid, to begin with. But if there is a lot coming out, you will experience fowl-smelling liquid.

Go get the experts

If you have don’t all of the above methods and your chickens’ conditions aren’t improving at all. You should bring them to a veterinarian for assessment and further medication.

Final thoughts

So, can chickens vomit? They technically can’t vomit. The content you see coming out from a chicken’s beak is possibly undigested food with water from the crop where the food is stored. Since the crop isn’t equivalent to the stomach, it can’t be called vomiting.

However, the fluid coming out of the beak can mean sour crop, which can lead to bad consequences if left unattended, so pretty attention to your chickens’ behavior to prevent it.