Do chickens Fart?


This the original page with codename 'Do chickens fart? The final sort of scientific verdict'. It has been read thousands and thousands of times when the website was online. What makes it rather special is the fact that genuine professors of real universities were asked to come up with an answer to this question. Their thoughts and opinions can be read here, and who said that academics don't have a sense of humour?


Well, do they? So you want the know? Well, here's...


We thought it might be a good idea to answer this burning question that so many of you asked us in the past few months. The only problem was that we weren't quite sure if chickens farted. OK, we had some ideas, but no official somewhat scientifically based explication. So we thought it might be a good idea to ask 22 professors. The following universities replied: The Pennsylvania State University, The University of Florida, The Mississippi State University, The University of Georgia, The University of Kentucky and The University of Wisconsin-Madison.


These are the answers we were happy to receive so far (with a big thank you to Professor Elkin, Dr. Mather, Professor Lott, Nick Dale, (Staff Excretologist), Austin Cantor (Ph.D., Assoc. Professor) and Ron Kean, Senior lecturer.


I thought I had been asked everything about chickens but never this. I can't give you a yes or no; but if chickens fart, they do it silently.

You have posed an interesting question. One that has never occurred to me and about which I have never heard nor read anything. I would agree it seems that the digestion of food in the intestines of chickens could produce gas (flatulence) and this gas could be released to the outside (a fart).

In classical, they do not. Gas is formed by a incomplete digestion of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are worked on by anaerobic bacteria in the gut, thus gas formation. To be able to make a what we would call a real fart, the chicken would have to have a diaphragm. Chickens can not cough nor can they fart in the sense we think of farting.

You'll be happy to know there is a scientific answer to your question. Here it is: You were well advised to contact us on such a nebulous question, as our staff has given extensive analytical and philosophical consideration to this resoundingly volatile issue.
In fact, chickens do not fart. One would think they should, as about one third of what they eat are beans (soybeans), and as every 11 year old Boy Scout knows, you HAVE TO take a can of beans on your first camping trip to entertain your friends during the night.
Having said that, intestinal gas (ie., the fart) is the result of bacteria chowing down on undigested material in the colon. There are plenty of undigested carbohydrates in the chicken's colon, but in birds this intestinal segment is too short for much to happen. That is, undigested material passes through the avian colon (and out the back end) in much too short a time for the bacteria to get much accomplished. This is why chicken houses smell so refreshing.

You posed an interesting question.
I guess that I will have to give you a somewhat qualified answer. Chickens should be able to pass gas through their vent (anus). But, since they are now of such "fine breeding", they would never consider doing so in public.
The problem of flatulence relates to the buildup of gasses in the colon. Chickens have an extremely short colon, without all of the folding that occurs in humans and other mammals. We know that gas is produced in the ceca and small intestine of birds. However, since very little gas is trapped in the colon, it is unlikely that there are explosive releases. Usually there is enough manure around in chicken farms, so even if a chicken farted, you would not notice it. Since I am not really an expert on the topic of your question, this is the best I can do. I hope this is helpful.

That's a valid question. I'm sorry I've taken so long to get back to you. I know that chickens produce gas in their digestive system. Some of the plant fiber is digested by microorganisms in the cecum, and that definitely produces some gases. Typically, I don't think birds build up enough pressure to produce an audible sound when this gas is expelled. When picking up a hen, or manipulating her to do some management processes, we occasionally do hear audible sounds of exiting gas. So, I guess I'd say the answer is yes. I hope that helps!