Chicken Health

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Symptoms of a sick chicken


We have listed below the names of the top diseases and illnesses related to chickens as well as the related symptoms. Select the name of the disease or illness to read our blog articles and advice for treatment. Certain diseases and illnesses in chickens can be fatal in a very short period of time so it is important to treat the sick hen as a matter of urgency.



Bloody or watery diarrhea
Lack of appetite
Pale combs and wattles
Droopy posture and wings
Ruffled or puffed up feathers
Droopy, dull or glazed eyes
Poor growth in chicks
Fowl Pox  
Newcastle disease
Respiratory stress
sneezing, gurgling or rattling
Possible gaping beak
Watery, liquid yellow/green poop
twisted neck may be apparent
possible tremors or paralysis



high mortality rate
almost no visible symptoms
older hens may present fever, dehydration and also a pale comb
Mites and Lice
dirty vent feathers
pale coloured comb
decrease in egg production
feather pulling
red, skin irritation
visible mites on skin or lice on feathers
Gaping (stretching the neck, shaking the head, in an attempt to dislodge the worms)
Open-mouthed breathing or panting
Gasping for breath
Wheezing or hissing
Strong smelling, frothy or bubbly diarrhoea
Eggs may have pale coloured yolk
Increase in eating
Weight loss
The Chicken poo often gives you the best diagnosis
Watch for signs of paralysis in the legs which moves onto the wings before the neck
Final stage results in sudden death
Fowl Cholera
Chronic localised swelling in the eyes
joints, feet pads and also the throat
Very high mortality rate if not treated promptly
Infectious Bronchitis
Breathing distress such as gasping
nasal discharge, coughing, as well as wheezing
Laying hens can show a reduced egg output
Shells may be odd shaped. Also they can be different than their normal colour
(Sour Crop) Thrush
Seems more quite than usual
Slow or stunted growth
Poor appetite
May have diarrhoea
Drowsy or sleepy
Air Sac disease
A respiratory disease in one or more of the air sacs
Causes inflammation in the air sac
Tail bobbing
breathing difficulty
Splay Leg
generally occurs in baby newly hatched chicks
Caused by injury or a weakness in the tendons in the feet or legs
May be present in one or both legs
Obvious deformation of leg

Chicken Respiratory Disease


Wheezing or laboured breathing
Discharge from the nostrils and/or eyes
Swelling around the eyes and/or beak
Poor comb or wattle colour
Decreased appetite
Loss of condition
Reduced egg production


The list above are the main diseases which affect chickens. Our blog has a wealth of information for backyard chicken keepers to help keep their ladies in fine form. To find more interesting related articles please visit our Main Chicken Health Blog Articles for advice, tips, tricks and more.