Do Chickens Smell? Unscrambling the Myth

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 22 July 2020

Clean, healthy barnevelder chickens in the backyard

When telling people of your love of chicken keeping, (or your hopes to soon keep chickens), often the response includes a scrunched up nose and unimpressed face- ‘but don’t they, like, stink?’.

Contrary to popular belief, chickens themselves do not actually stink- they may be a fowl, but they don’t have to smell foul!

Most people that have this fear aren’t experienced with chickens, and may have only seen them in a farm or poultry operation- where often a foul smell will come from chickens as they are often kept in poor conditions and not cared for properly.

However, a few birds in a backyard setting is very unlikely to create such a problem.

The odour that is sometimes emitted from your backyard chicken coop is coming from their faeces, which is also true of other pets like cats, dogs or other animals that deposit their waste in the yard.

Where cats and dogs will often answer natures call in a neighbor's yard or public place, chickens droppings are confined to the coop and your own yard, and is much smaller in size and quantity. To put it in perspective, a forty pound dog generates more solid waste than ten chickens. One 40 pound dog generates about ¾ (0.75 pounds) of poo every day. Ten chickens generate about two-thirds (0.66 pounds) of that. Makes the poop situation seem much more manageable!

Better yet, chicken poo is a very valuable resource. Unlike dog or cat poo, chicken manure is a wonderful fertilizer-  just add it to your garden or compost and it won’t be long before your plants and veggie patch are thriving! (Your naysaying neighbours will be green with envy!)

Like with all animals, if they are neglected and not cared for properly, whether it be a cat, dog or chicken, it will create filth and smell. Regular and proper care will prevent the instance of odours, pests and flies in your backyard. Backyard flocks are relatively easy to maintain- just be sure to set a little time aside to clean their coop, and make sure they have adequate dust bathing facilities so they can keep up their own personal hygiene.

So the next time someone comments on your stinky chickens, be sure to give them your ripest tomatoes from your thriving garden, and enquire about their dog's sizeable waste…

As chicken keepers, we all want to do an eggcellent job when caring for our feathered friends. There are just so many things to consider when becoming a chicken parent from health to nutrition. Many chicken keepers struggle to handle chicken health or behaviour issues, especially in the first few years of having a flock.

This is why I recommend Chickenpedia to all my readers. They have comprehensive online courses on everything you didn’t know you need to know and then some more! From healthcare to raising baby chicks to feeding and behavior, you’ll find beginner-friendly courses that’ll give you the knowledge and confidence to successfully look after your chickens.

As a member, you will get access to ALL their fantastic courses. No need to wing it, become the ultimate chicken eggspert! Check out Chickenpedia today!

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