Can Chickens Drink Alcohol?

This is a question that pops up from time to time. It is a common curiosity among farmers as to whether their chickens can ingest alcohol and if it is safe for them or not. The idea of sharing a cold one with their chickens has crossed the minds of many farmers.

can chickens drink alcohol

There are some things that you need to know before you do this. This article explains the effects of your chickens ingesting alcohol and what amount will be detrimental to their health, among other interesting facts.

Effects of Alcohol on Chickens

Alcohol is toxic to some animals. Atop that list is cats, a category of animals that can’t handle alcohol. So, what sort of effects can your chickens get from ingesting articles? Here are a few key ones.

– Dizziness

Alcohol is known to cause sleepiness or dizziness in chickens. This results from depression in some centers of their brains, impairing their ability to stay alert and focused. Spells of nausea and diarrhea in some chickens can also accompany this dizzy state.

– Sleepiness

The ingestion of alcohol is known to make chickens lethargic and sleepy. In most cases, the chickens sleep for about six to nine hours. During this time, they will remain motionless in whatever pose they fall to the ground. Their breathing also becomes shallow. They are unable to detect or react to danger within their immediate environment.

– Reduced Activity

Drinking alcohol reduces the ability of chickens to fly, perch or move around. They can also not forage for food and typically stay still or motionless for prolonged periods. They may try to walk or run awkwardly but quickly give up and remain in the same position.

In the worst-case scenario, the chickens may end up in an alcohol-induced stupor or coma. This is a dangerous state, especially for your layers, as it may cause them to become egg-bound, which could cause discomfort and eventually death.

– Loss of Appetite

Ingestion of alcohol slows down many metabolic processes in the chickens. This causes them to eat less and spend more time being docile and sleeping. Losing appetite eventually affects their health as they cannot take in nutrients.

It also results in uncontrolled molting and weight loss. Prolonged ingestion of alcohol also causes damage to their digestive tract, making them unable to take in food.

– Aggression

Consumption of alcohol is known to cause aggression in roosters and hens. This results in them attacking each other, which can get very bad. In their drunken state, their pain receptors are inhibited, and they are unaware of how much damage they are causing to themselves and others. Durk chickens also make more noise and are generally a nuisance to those around them.

– Poor Egg-laying and Hatching

Constant ingestion of alcohol affects motor function and appetite, which has a direct negative effect on the egg-laying patterns of chickens. They lay less often, and when they do, the eggs are small and of diminished quality. The eggs have a low hatchability rate and produce sickly chicks with several defects.

– Death

The ingestion of alcohol can cause death in various scenarios. These include alcohol poisoning, bumping into rigid objects, falling into holes and water sources, and being unable to flee from predators successfully. Since alcohol also causes damage to their internal organs, they may rupture, leading to internal bleeding and death.

Can Chickens Get Drunk from Alcohol?

Yes. Alcohol affects chickens the same way it affects farmers. One of the key factors to how fast people get drunk is body weight. This is the same for chickens and judging from how small even the best-grown chickens are, you can surmise that it doesn’t take much alcohol to get your chickens tipsy and drunk.

Chicken Accidentally Drink Alcohol

If your chickens accidentally consume alcohol, the best approach is to seclude them in an open space where they will not risk bumping into anything. It is also advisable to give them plenty of water to help break down the alcohol content in their bodies and excrete it sooner. If they are in a stupor, take them to the local vent for treatment for alcohol poisoning.

The foraging nature of chickens makes them naturally curious animals. They will try out anything and everything just to satisfy their curiosity. They will move towards pleasing sounds and try to peck at anything that looks edible. This is why they get in trouble a lot of the time.

This risk is much higher for free-range chickens; farmers need to be on the lookout and ensure they keep their chickens as safe as possible. This means not leaving your beer, wine, or vodka glasses and bottles in the yard when your chickens are in free range. It also means avoiding disposing of your beer in the yard or the places where chickens get water and food.

How Much Alcohol Will Kill a Chicken?

Two to three grams per kilogram is the lethal dose of alcohol in most chicken species. This means that four grams of pure alcohol are enough to kill a chicken weighing three kilograms. This can be translated to 45 ml of cider, 60 ml of beer, 10 ml of vodka or spirits, and 25 ml of wine.

Do not take this as a challenge to try and see how much alcohol your chicken can tolerate. Even if it does not cause immediate death, most or all of the effects, as mentioned earlier, will be experienced by your chickens.


You should never attempt to feed your chickens alcohol purposely. It is terrible for their health, digestion, nervous, and immune systems. Do all you can to keep your chicken safe from alcohol poisoning, as even a tiny amount could wipe out most of your flock. You also risk affecting the next crop of your chicks and negatively impacting their egg production.

If you need more convincing, then simply look at the effects alcoholism has on humans and picture your chickens suffering the same. Alcohol is toxic to chickens. Keep your flock safe to avoid losses in the future.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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