Do Chickens Have Kidneys? Chicken’s Anatomy

Do Chickens Have Kidneys

Every culture or generation is sometimes known for the goods they leave behind. The Stone Age people got their name from the stone-decorated tool they made. If today’s humans get the same moniker, we will probably be referred to as the chicken people.

The chicken was initially raised for special ceremonies and cockfighting and not for food. Today, humans keep chicken primarily as a source of food. They consume both chicken meat and eggs.

The chickens are the most common domesticated birds. Due to their popularity, humans are eager to have an inner understanding of the chickens’ organs, from the location of their organs to how they function.

However, the birds’ systems do function differently from humans, particularly their excretion system. This has made many ask.

Do chickens have kidneys?

Yes, chickens do have kidneys. The kidney is the main organ in the chicken’s excretory system. The excretory system is responsible for the excretion of water and metabolic waste.

It also ensures there is an acidic-base balance in the chicken’s body.  The kidneys are soft and fragile, making them easy to damage when removing.

How Many Kidneys Do Chickens Have

The chickens have two kidneys, left and right. The kidneys are firmly attached to the depression in the bone (synsacrum).

The kidneys have three distinctive lobes, which are the caudal, middle, and cranial. The kidneys are dark red to almost dark brown. The ureter, which is a small white tube, connects each kidney to the cloaca.

Kidney Damage In Chicken

It’s estimated that more than 50 billion chickens are reared annually. However, chicken farming is not an easy venture. It requires a lot of keenness and maintenance of their health.

You have to be keen on their growth ratio and the type of feed they give. Healthy chickens that are free from pests and diseases will ultimately make you profits, hence the growth of your business.

The renal disorder is one of the common diseases that occur in chickens. It’s a kind of kidney disease, which is characterized by the inflammation of the kidney. It can lead to the loss of kidney function and kidney failure in extreme conditions.

The renal disorder might lead to a condition known as urolithiasis. Urolith is formed in the ureters of laying hens.

It occurs when the uric acid becomes too high in the chicken bloodstream. This is caused by the failure of the kidney to remove the excess uric acid from the chicken’s body.

The accumulation of toxins in the chicken’s bloodstream lowers its ability to absorb nutrients from feeds. This adversely affects its growth and health, and it also leads to death.

Understanding Avian Physiology

Like other birds, chickens possess kidneys that play a vital role in regulating their internal environment. These avian kidneys efficiently filter waste products from the bloodstream and maintain proper fluid balance. However, when discussing avian physiology, it’s important to note that different bird species, such as quail chicks, may have variations in kidney structure and function tailored to their unique evolutionary adaptations and environmental requirements.

Are Chicken Kidneys Edible?

Many people do not often consume the chicken’s internal organs. It is because of the fear of toxins/ diseases and many more.

Most internal organs indeed do act as toxin filters. However, the organs also have some great nutritional benefits. When prepared right, these internal organs are always so delicious.

The chicken kidneys are challenging to extract raw. They lie alongside the backbone. When cooked, the kidneys have a different texture and flavor from the rest of the meat. Regardless they are perfectly edible.

Common Internal Organs in Chickens

1. Liver

It’s the largest organ in chicken. The liver’s edges are prominently sharp and defined. Its color varies depending on the type of feed/ diet given to the chicken.

Matured chicken tends to have a yellow-tan-colored and soft liver if fed on a high-fat diet. While the chicks have a yellow liver, this is because of the York absorption.

Similar to mammals, the chicken liver performs various functions such as excretion, metabolism, and detoxification.

Also, the chicken liver is termed as a great source of nutrients. It is inexpensive and easy to cook organ. The chicken liver is rich in proteins and some essential fatty acids. It also contains vitamins E, A, C, and B12, riboflavin, niacin, copper, etc.

However, the amount of vitamin A in the liver is too high for pregnant women. They should avoid chicken liver when pregnant. If not properly stored, it can cause food poisoning.

2. Gizzard

The gizzard is the reason why chickens do not need teeth. It performs similar functions to those of the teeth.

The gizzard is the muscular part of the stomach. It uses grit which consists of particles of sand and pebbles to grind food into smaller particles.

It is an edible and delicious part of the chicken. It actually among one the most healthy organs and contains a high amount of proteins.

It has low-fat content and several vitamins such as vitamin B12, an essential vitamin for the growth of the brain. The gizzard offers an array of health benefits.

3. Heart

Like humans, the chicken’s heart has four chambers. It ensures that blood reaches all the parts and organs of the body. However, chicken has a high metabolic rate compared to humans.

The average temperature of a chicken ranges from 41 to 45 degrees Celsius. Therefore their heartbeat rate can reach as high as 400 beats per minute. All these factors make the chicken heart an essential organ. It works much harder compared to the human heart.

The chicken heart has several nutrients such as iron, selenium, and zinc. Its also a source of vitamin B2, B6, and B12. The B vitamins found in the chicken heart and other organs have a cardioprotective effect. This means they can protect the heart against heart diseases.


The chicken’s body is quite complex too. It does have several organs that are tasked to perform functions. The most notable of the organs are the heart, liver, and lungs.

If not keen, one might not be able to locate or know the chicken kidneys. The chicken kidneys do have their unique role and are an essential part of the chicken excretory system.

The kidney can also be affected by diseases, and its failure can have adverse effects on the chicken. The kidney failure might lead to reduced growth of the chicken, and in extreme cases, it can lead to the death of the chicken.