Understanding the Risks: Will Chickens Eat Dog Poop and Its Potential Hazards?

Ever wondered what chickens will and won’t eat? You’re not alone. One question that often pops up among backyard chicken keepers is, “will chickens eat dog poop?” It’s a bit of a gross topic, but it’s important to know what your chickens are consuming, for their health and yours.

Chickens are known for their voracious appetites and seemingly indiscriminate tastes. They’ll peck at just about anything that catches their eye, including some things that might surprise you. But does that include dog poop? Let’s explore this topic further.

Key Takeaways

  • Chickens are opportunistic omnivores, consuming a wide array of things, including insects, seeds, small rodents, and green vegetation.
  • Due to their curious nature and pecking habits, chickens may show interest in and peck at dog poop.
  • Consumption of dog poop does not provide any nutritional benefits to chickens; instead, it poses significant health risks.
  • Dog feces can contain harmful pathogens like parvovirus, giardia, and worms, causing severe health issues in chickens.
  • The consumption of dog poop can also expose chickens to high protein content from the dog’s diet, leading to potential kidney failure.
  • To prevent chickens from consuming dog feces, maintain a clean environment and ensure their diet primarily contains seeds, grains, insects, and kitchen scraps.

Chickens may occasionally eat dog poop due to their natural foraging behavior, which can pose health risks due to the parasites and pathogens present in dog feces, as Backyard Chickens discusses the risky behaviors of poultry. To prevent this, it is important to maintain clean coops and monitor the interaction between chickens and pets, as Poultry Extension’s safety practices advise on proper coop hygiene. Owners should also ensure that vaccinations are up to date to mitigate the risks of transmission of diseases, which The Poultry Site explains in detail within their guide on poultry health management.

Understanding Chicken Behavior

Observing chicken behavior isn’t just essential for understanding what they will or won’t eat; it provides a deeper insight into their overall health and well-being. So let’s delve a little deeper.

Chickens are opportunistic omnivores. They eat a wide array of things which includes insects, seeds, small rodents, and green vegetation. Yep, “omnivores.” Because they favor protein-rich diets. You might see them scratching and pecking the ground, foraging for whatever they can find that’s edible.

Don’t be too surprised if you spot them enjoying an occasional mouse or lizard. That’s perfectly normal.

Chicken’s Pecking Habits

One distinct behavior in chickens is their proclivity to peck. Chickens use pecking as their primary means to explore their environment and look for food. This behavior is instinctive and is exhibited right from when they are chicks.

Furthermore, pecking in chickens isn’t just about food discovery – it’s also a form of social activity. Chickens establish and maintain their hierarchical order (also known as a pecking order) through this behavior. The lead chicken always pecks without receiving any retaliation from the rest of the flock.

So what does this mean for you, the chicken keeper? Well, you can expect chickens to peck at practically anything out of curiosity, and yes, this may include dog poop.

What’s vital to understand, however, is that while chickens have a vast diet range, it doesn’t mean everything they might show interest in is good for them. Dog poop falls squarely in that category – it’s something that chickens might peck at out of curiosity but it’s definitely not something conducive to maintaining their good health.

What Do Chickens Eat?

Chicken diet is pretty diverse and they are known for being opportunistic omnivores. Let’s delve into their daily menu, shall we?

Upon observation, you’ll notice that these birds spend the majority of their day pecking on the ground. They are quite keen on finding small bits of goodies that Mother Nature scattered around. These can include insects, seeds, grains, and tiny pieces of foliage, all of which contribute to a wholesome diet that boosts their health and productivity.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the plant-based foods that hold their attention. They can be quite the little predators too. You’d be surprised at the enthusiasm they exhibit while chasing and gobbling up small rodents or frogs.

But remember – chickens are curious creatures. While their exploratory pecking is mostly beneficial, it can also lead them to consume materials that aren’t really good for them. And yes, you guessed it right – dog poop can fall under this category.

Despite their interest, dog poop does not contribute anything beneficial to their diet. And definitely won’t help them lay the golden eggs you might be hoping for. In fact, consuming dog feces can expose these birds to a variety of diseases and parasites that can harm, if not jeopardize their health.

Can Chickens Eat Dog Poop?

You’re right to be curious. Despite their foraging nature, chickens should not eat dog poop. Even though they’re known for their propensity to peck away at anything that draws their attraction, dog poop poses significant health risks.

Why is that you may wonder? Dog feces can contain a cocktail of potentially dangerous pathogens like parvovirus, giardia, and worms. These parasites can affect chickens severely disrupting their digestive systems.

Moreover, toxins present in dog feces can result in serious health implications. If your chicken pecks on dog feces and ingests these toxins, it can compromise the overall health of your bird, leading to a reduction in the quality of eggs and meat. Ultimately, this can significantly downgrade the value and productivity of your flock.

That’s not all. Eating dog poop can also expose your chickens to toxic elements present in the dog’s diet. The high protein content in most dog food can lead to kidney failure in chickens. It can also increase the chicken’s susceptibility to diseases such as coccidiosis and cholera.

Understanding the associated risks, one would want to prevent chickens from indulging in consuming dog poop. But, how can you prevent this? Ensuring a clean and hygienic environment is paramount, and, in most instances, sufficient to keep chickens away from harmful substances like dog feces.

While chickens can seem to have an ‘eat everything they see’ attitude, it’s critical to point out that their health heavily depends on the quality of their diet. While their foraging can lead to a few odd and unhealthy choices, ensuring they stick to their core diet of seeds, grains, insects, and some kitchen scraps is crucial.

With a diet rich in variety, your chickens can be at their healthiest – laying eggs consistently and providing quality meat. By maintaining hygiene in their surroundings and a careful eye on their feeding habits, you can keep them safe from consuming unwanted substances, hence ensuring their health and productivity isn’t compromised because of poor diet choices like dog poop.

Risks of Chickens Eating Dog Poop

If you’re raising chickens, the last thing you want is for them to consume dog poop. This not only makes them susceptible to disease, but also affects the quality of their meat and eggs. But what exactly are these risks, and how do they impact the health of chickens?

One major concern is exposure to pathogens. Dog feces can be teeming with harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasitic microorganisms. Chickens that consume dog poop may then ingest these pathogens. This puts them at risk of developing severe illnesses.

Eating dog waste may also lead to digestive complications in chickens. The digestive systems of chickens aren’t designed to break down the contents of dog feces, as these are often high in proteins. When consumed, they can disrupt the chicken’s digestive process. In significant quantities, it can lead to digestive disorders like constipation or diarrhea.

The high protein content in dog feces can usher in kidney problems in chickens. Too much protein places extra pressure on the kidneys. Over time, it may even cause the kidneys to fail.

In addition, the chickens’ egg and meat quality could drop due to the consumption of dog feces. Their health and productivity may get compromised, which would impact your flock value.

Undoubtedly, there’s a clear need to prevent chickens from eating dog feces. Maintaining a clean environment for them is paramount. By doing so, you minimize the chances of your chickens coming into contact with dog poop. Equally important is ensuring they stick to their diet of seeds, grains, insects, and kitchen scraps. This not only satiates their curiosity but promotes their health as well.


You’ve learned that chickens can eat dog poop, but it’s certainly not good for them. The risk of exposure to harmful pathogens and the potential for digestive and kidney problems are just too high. More so, the quality of the eggs and meat they produce can significantly decline. So, it’s in your best interest to keep their environment clean and provide a well-balanced diet. By doing this, you’re not only promoting their health but also ensuring their productivity. It’s a simple step with significant impacts. Let’s keep our chickens healthy and safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

What risks are associated with chickens consuming dog poop?

Chickens consuming dog poop are exposed to harmful pathogens, which can lead to severe illnesses. This consumption can also cause digestive complications and kidney problems due to the high protein content.

How does dog poop consumption affect the quality of chickens’ eggs and meat?

The high protein content found in dog feces can decrease the quality of eggs and meat produced by the chickens, making them less desirable or potentially unsafe for consumption.

How can you prevent chickens from ingesting dog poop?

Preventing chickens from ingesting dog poop largely focuses on maintaining a clean environment and ensuring they are fed a proper diet of seeds, grains, insects, and kitchen scraps. This promotes their health and productivity.

What kind of illnesses can chickens contract from consuming dog poop?

Chickens can contract a range of severe illnesses due to harmful pathogens in the dog poop. Though the specific diseases can vary, they often affect the digestive system, and in severe cases, can lead to kidney problems.

Why does dog poop contain high protein content?

Dog poop contains high protein content because dogs are primarily carnivores and their diet is generally rich in proteins. This undigested protein is expelled in their feces, which can be harmful if consumed by chickens.