Can Chickens Get High?

In the world of animal behavior and physiology, the question of whether chickens can experience intoxication, or “get high,” is both intriguing and complex.

This topic not only sheds light on the biological responses of chickens but also raises awareness about responsible animal care.

Understanding Avian Physiology

To grasp the possibility of chickens experiencing a high, we must first delve into their unique physiology. Chickens, like other birds, have a distinct neurological system compared to mammals. This system dictates how they react to various substances, including those that might induce a high in humans or other animals.

Neurotransmitters and Receptors

Key to this discussion are neurotransmitters, the brain’s chemical messengers. Chickens produce similar neurotransmitters to humans, such as dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals play a crucial role in mood regulation and could potentially be affected by substances that induce a high.

However, the density and distribution of neurotransmitter receptors in chickens differ markedly from those in humans. This difference means that substances affecting human brain function might not have the same impact on chickens.

The Effects of Psychoactive Substances


Cannabinoids, found in cannabis, are known to affect animals differently. Research indicates that chickens do have a rudimentary endocannabinoid system (similar to humans), which interacts with these substances.

However, the effects are not well studied, and it’s unclear if exposure to cannabinoids would result in a recognizable high.

Other Substances

Other psychoactive substances, such as alcohol or caffeine, can indeed affect chickens. However, these effects are more likely to be toxic or harmful rather than intoxicating in a way humans might experience as a high.

Ethical Considerations

It’s crucial to address the ethics of exposing chickens or any animals to substances that could alter their mental state. Administering psychoactive substances to animals without a veterinary purpose can be considered unethical and potentially harmful. Chickens, like all animals, deserve to be treated with respect and care.


While it’s theoretically possible for chickens to experience altered states due to their neurological makeup, the reality is more complex and largely unexplored. The ethical implications of such experimentation are significant and should guide our approach to this intriguing question.

As responsible caretakers, it’s paramount to prioritize the health and well-being of our feathered friends over curiosity-driven experiments.