Although there are several reasons dogs eat chicken poop, the main reason for this habit is because they simply enjoy the taste. Other reasons include a lack of B vitamins in their diet, an attempt to hide their tracks from predators, a coping mechanism for separation anxiety, and attention.
If you have chickens and a dog, you may have noticed a gross behavior your dog likes to engage in. While dogs may have many disgusting habits, poop-eating certainly ranks up there as one of the nastiest!
You may find your dog “cleaning up” after your chickens whenever you look away. While there are many reasons dogs like to eat chicken poop (more details on that below), it does not make it any less disgusting.
You may also be worried about the health of your dog. Poop is not food, so there are some health risks to consuming it. Chicken poop has a chance of containing harmful bacteria, such as salmonella.
Poop-eating (also called coprophagia) is very common in dogs. As many as 1 in 4 dogs have been caught eating poop. And as you can imagine, this does not do their breath any favors…so why do they do it?
If your dog eats chicken poop, there’s a good chance they’ll also eat the poop of other animals. Depending on what they have access to, your dog may eat horse manure, chicken poop, or their own feces.
This is absolutely repulsive to humans, but very normal behavior for dogs. The root of this behavior goes back hundreds of years and is a combination of psychology and physiology.
Your dog does not see anything wrong with eating poop. In fact, they may view it as a positive behavior. As part of their learning process, puppies (who use their mouths to explore the world around them) will often consume poop.
If your dog continues to eat poop into adulthood, you may want to explore other potential causes of coprophagia.
Your dog may eat poop because they are not getting enough nutrients in their diet. If your dog does not receive B vitamins or enough protein through their regular food, they will seek it out however they can. Often, this includes poop-eating.
Undigested proteins are present in many forms of feces, so your dog may sniff them out and eat them to fill the gaps in their nutrition. If this is the cause of your dog eating poop, try consulting your vet to find a different dog food that is more nutritious.
Dogs will also eat poop for a deeper, more primal reason. In the wild, canines eat the poop of other dogs to cover up their tracks. If another dog is sick or leaves its poop in the open, the smell of this feces can alert both predators and prey to the dogs’ location. In this way, your dog thinks they are protecting their family by eating poop that is left outside…including chicken poop.
Another potential cause for canine coprophagia stems from a deeper psychological issue. Your dog may have problems with anxiety. If this is the case, and you leave your dog alone with access to feces, they often eat poop as a coping mechanism.
If your dog is from a puppy mill or other stressful environment, it may also develop coprophagia. If they were abused in this environment, they may have made the connection between the “mess” created by poop and the abuse, causing them to compulsively try to clean up.
Dogs are always looking for more attention from their owners. They look up to you and want the social connection that comes from interaction.
If you only give your dog attention when they are doing something bad, this will reinforce the action in their mind. While you think your actions may be punishing your dog and teaching them not to do a particular action, you might actually have the opposite effect.
The way to fix this issue is based on positive reinforcement. Give your dog lots of praise when they do something you want to encourage.
Make sure you are giving your dog enough attention. Take them on walks and play with them so they do not think they have to eat poop when they want attention!
Your dog may eat poop simply because they like the taste. Dogs will scavenge their environments for anything edible. Poop may just appeal to your dog’s taste buds. As odd as this seems, this is the most likely reason dogs eat chicken poop.
- Use cayenne pepper or chili sauce. I’ve not tried this with chicken poop, but our dog used to eat our cat’s poop until I started dropping chili sauce and cayenne pepper onto it. …
- Add pineapple to your chicken’s diet. …
- Keep the coop and run area secure and clean.
Why Is My Dog Eating Chicken Poop?
Your dog might be eating chicken poop because they are curious. Puppies, in particular, are curious creatures and like to explore. Sometimes puppies explore by putting things in their mouths!
Similarly, your dog might be bored, and eating chicken poop seems like a reasonable way to spend their time.
If you yell at your dog after they’ve eaten chicken poop, they may have begun to associate doing so with attention. Dogs don’t always differentiate between positive and negative–they just want you to pay attention to them.
It’s also possible that your dog is seeking out chicken poop to eat because they are missing vitamins, minerals, or protein in their diet. And as strange as it might sound, your dog might even enjoy the taste of it.
Why Dogs Eat Chicken Poop – 6 Reasons
Dogs, especially puppies, are well known for using their mouths to explore their environment.
So, it’s not surprising to find dogs eating all sorts of things, like chicken poop, although it’s absolutely repulsive for dog owners to witness.
The root of this behavior can be one or a combination of physiological and psychological issues.
Dogs are social beings, so expect them to seek connection and interaction from their owners. To many dogs, any form of attention, whether positive or negative, is desirable.
They may be eating chicken poop because they know that you’ll come to yell at them.
While you may think that your action is teaching or reprimanding them, the dogs may see it otherwise.
If you only give dogs attention when they do something bad, it could reinforce the action in their mind. The next time they want your attention, they could start eating chicken poop again.
Focus on spending plenty of positive quality time with your dog, and, as hard as it may be, ignore him when he sneaks a “treat” from the chickens.
With time, he’ll learn to seek out positive interaction instead of focusing on getting a rise out of you.
Is chicken poop toxic?
Can dogs get sick from chickens?