I started raising chickens this year. They have amazing appetites, and I often wonder what eating is like for them. They have no teeth, so they don't chew their food as they eat it. They do seem to have some sense of taste, because they often bite off a bit of something and then spit it right back out. But the only equivalent of chewing for them occurs in their gizzard. Because the gizzard is pretty far down the digestive tract, I would assume that it's an involuntary muscle. But all chewing being unconscious for them also sounds kind of crazy.
I'm trying to discover the answer to this question on the internet and I'm surprised that the answer hasn't been easier to find. Does anyone here know? Do birds masticate unconsciously?