Why is Chicken Beak Turning Black?

Anyone who rears chickens will notice some of their birds have black beaks. Leaving them wondering why their chickens’ beaks are turning black, particularly if their birds seem healthy. Many reasons can make your birds’ beaks turn black.

Some of them shouldn’t worry you, while others can demand your intervention. Your birds’ beaks, for example, could appear black due to dirt buildup, or the birds could have a health condition that makes their beaks turn black.

5 Reasons Chicken’s Beak Turning Black

There are several reasons why your chickens’ beaks are turning black. Some of these reasons are nothing for any chicken keeper to worry about. Others could be an indication of a severe condition. Here are five reasons your chickens’ beaks are turning black.

– Beak Is Just Dirty

Some chickens aren’t keen on keeping their beaks clean. You won’t be the first chicken owner to deal with chickens that aren’t great at keeping their beaks clean, although most chickens will keep their beaks clean even after foraging outdoors.

If your chicken doesn’t clean its beak, it might start turning black due to dirt. Take your chicken and take a careful look at its beak to see if it has dirt. If there is dirt buildup on the beak, you should automatically know that the chicken has a black beak due to dirt.

Clean up the beak gently using a damp cloth. However, avoid using any chemicals that could be harsh on your bird’s beak.

Here is a procedure you can follow while cleaning your chicken’s beak

  • Lift the chicken gently and dip its beak in the water, but be cautious not to drown the bird.
  • Clean the beak gently using soft clothing, paying attention to the edges of its beak until the beak is thoroughly clean.
  • Dry its beak with soft dry clothing, again paying attention to the edges of the beak

– Breed Specific

Some chicken breeds have black beaks, or these breeds’ beaks turn black as they age. For instance, some breeds such as Kadaknath and Ayam Cemani develop black beaks as they age.

If your chicken beak is gradually turning black, it could be because of its breed. It could be a natural change in a chicken’s life cycle, so you shouldn’t worry about this natural change in your bird.

Nonetheless, try to research whether your chicken’s breed changes its beak color as it grows. If your breed changes its beak color as it age, you shouldn’t worry after noticing its beak turning black over time.

– Broken Beak

Sadly, there could be a possibility your chicken could have broken its beak if it starts turning black. A broken beak is a serious issue that chicken owners can’t deal with, especially if the beak has serious problems.

If your chicken’s beak has a black color due to breaking, it is likely the bird has been breeding. Besides its beak turning black, the chicken could also be in pain and unhappy, unlike other chickens with normal beaks.

Take your chicken to a vet if you suspect its beak is turning black because of breaking. Chickens can break their beaks for several reasons. Fights can make chickens break their beaks. Chickens can break their beaks because of pecking at hard objects.

Moreover, chickens have a high possibility of breaking their beaks if their beaks are too long.

– Beak Necrosis

Beak Necrosis is a common condition in turkeys and chickens. The condition can also affect ducks, although it is rare for birds to have Beak Necrosis. Chickens suffer from this condition after consuming excessively fine feed.

The feed accumulates on the beak, making it turn black over time. Beak Necrosis also makes chickens have ulcers in their mouths. Chickens with this disease will not only have black beaks, but the birds will also be unable to eat normally in the long run.

Check for signs of Beak Necrosis if your chicken’s beak is turning black. If there are feed particles along the edges of its beak, your bird could be having Beak Necrosis. You can prevent Beak Necrosis by ensuring your chickens don’t eat extremely fine feed.

– Fowl Pox

Fowl pox is another disease that makes turkeys’ and chickens’ beaks turn black. It causes lesions on your chicken’s skin. The condition can also cause rapid weight loss, swelling of the eyelids and eyes, loss of appetite, and lesions on a chicken’s wattles, comb, and feet.

If your chicken beak is turning black and the bird is showing symptoms of Fowl pox, your bird could be suffering from Fowl pox. Sadly, there isn’t a cure for Fowl pox. Fortunately, some measures can help reduce the severity of Fowl pox.

For instance, you can treat the lesions on your chicken’s body with an antiseptic to counter the seriousness of this disease. Moreover, you can stop the severity of Fowl pox by giving your chickens a concoction from the Neem tree.

Other herbal remedies chicken owners can use to keep this disease at bay include herbs such as Aloe Vera, turmeric, and garlic.

How to Keep Chickens’ Beaks Healthy?

The perfect solution to stopping your chicken’s beak from turning black is by keeping its beak healthy. Check these tips for keeping your chickens’ beaks healthy.

  • Trim the beak– Chickens’ beaks can grow too long. A long beak can harbor dirt and bacteria that make your chicken sick. Trimming isn’t only essential for keeping your chickens’ beaks healthy. It is equally vital for preventing cannibalism in chickens. If your chickens’ beaks grow too long, they might break, making your birds experience pain and discomfort. However, be cautious while trimming your birds’ beaks to avoid causing injuries.
  • Mind what your chickens eat-The type of food your chickens consume can affect the health of their beaks. If you give your bird moldy feed, the bacteria in the feed will stick on their beaks. Dirty water is also not healthy for chickens, and it can make their beaks harbor harmful bacteria. Healthy and fresh feed isn’t only helpful in keeping your birds’ beaks healthy, but it also helps improve their overall health.
  • Clean their beaks- A clean beak is a healthy beak. If your chickens’ beaks remain with dirt buildup on their beaks for too long, there is a possibility of their beaks getting infections that could affect them in the long run. Check their beaks for dirt regularly. Clean their beaks if they are too dirty using soft clothing. However, don’t clean your chickens’ beaks with detergents since they have chemicals that will be harsh on their beaks.
  • Keep inspecting your birds’ beaks-Most chicken owners don’t take time to look at their birds’ beaks. Therefore, they can’t tell whether their chickens’ beaks are healthy or not. Inspecting your birds beaks can help you notice when the beaks have a problem, and, therefore, you will be able to take action if you notice something unsual with your birds’ beak.
  • Take your birds to a vet– Take your chickens to a vet if you notice something unusual with their beaks. A good vet will treat your chickens from diseases that could potentially affect their beaks. For example, a vet can help diagnose conditions like Fowl pox, affecting chickens’ beaks and overall well-being. The earlier you take your chickens to a vet, the better since the vet will diagnose serious diseases that are likely to affect their beaks.


Chickens’ beaks can turn black for several reasons. However, it is unlikely for chickens to have a black beak if they are healthy and clean. Furthermore, some chicken breeds’ beaks can turn black as they age. However, you should take swift action if you notice any chicken in your flock having a black beak.

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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