Why Is Your Chicken Sneezing? Reasons, Treatment, and Preventative Measures
There is nothing more bizarre than the sound of a chicken sneezing. If it happens once in a while, it’s fine to smile and video-record it. However, if they sneeze more frequently than usual, could something be wrong?
This article will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatments for chicken sneezing.
How Does Chicken Sneezing Sound?
Like many other animals, chickens occasionally experience the uncomfortable feeling of a sneeze. Chickens make a high-pitched squeak sound and jerk their heads forward when they sneeze.
Even though it sounds a bit like the sneezes of other animals, it has a sharper tone.
When allergens like pollen, dust, and pet dander are in the air, it’s natural for some chickens to experience symptoms like these. However, there are many other, more serious causes of chicken sneezing.
What Causes Chicken Sneezing?
Chickens are prone to sneezing if they are kept in a dirty or polluted environment. A single sneeze is usually not a cause for alarm. But if they persist, it’s probably time to see a vet.
If a chicken sneezes but then continues to do what they were doing, there’s probably nothing to worry about. However, repeated sneezing combined with wheezing and coughing should be taken seriously.
The following are some of the possible causes of these symptoms:
Chicken sneezing is nothing more than a mechanism that the body uses to rid the airways of dust and other particles that can irritate our noses and make their way into the lungs. The same can be said about chickens.
They may sneeze more frequently because the air in their environment requires them to clear their airways more frequently. If they live in a dusty barn.
Chickens can also sneeze when there is a sudden change in temperature. Due to the fact that they have sensitive airways, pollen has the potential to irritate them and make them sneeze during the spring.
Their tendency to sneeze may also have something to do with what they eat.
Because their nose is so close to their beak, some particles can easily enter their nostrils, which can cause irritation that triggers chicken sneezing. Neither of these situations warrants any kind of action on your part.
If your chicken is sneezing and showing other signs of illness, you should act quickly to make sure that the disease, which could be dangerous, is correctly diagnosed and treated.
Gapeworm in Chickens
Gapeworms can spread to chickens if they eat the parasite’s larvae by accident after it has gotten into the environment, feed, or water through the feces of another infected bird.
Gapeworms can infect many different kinds of wild birds, and infected birds will pass the parasite’s larvae in their poop.
Chickens can also get the disease without knowing it by eating infected earthworms, snails, or slugs. This can then spread the disease to other animals.
Once the larvae have been ingested by the chickens, they will make their way through the gastrointestinal system until they reach the trachea.
It is in the trachea that they will reproduce, lay eggs, feed blood, and continue their lives. Eggs are either regurgitated by the chicken or swallowed by it after they have been laid.
When birds eat them, the worms come out with their poop, contaminating the environment with eggs that other birds or even the same bird can eat to get more worms or infect other birds.
Clinical Signs of Gapeworm in Chickens
Chickens with this condition often have their necks stretched out, and their mouths are open as if they are gaping or trying to get air.
The presence of multiple worms in the trachea, which causes a partial to complete obstruction in airflow, is the cause of the gaping that can be seen.
In the absence of treatment, birds that have a severe infestation almost always perish from suffocation.
Gapeworms have a greater impact on younger chickens, smaller chicken breeds such as bantams, and smaller chickens in general. This is because the size of the chicken’s trachea is related to this phenomenon.
If there is a larger amount of space available for the worms to attach to, then it is less likely that they will cause a blockage in the airflow that will prevent the chicken from being able to breathe.
The terrible parasitic worm known as the “gapeworm” makes its home in the tracheas of chickens. Gapeworms can be transmitted to humans.
If it is not treated or removed, it will eventually cause the chicken to suffocate because it will block its airway and steal the chicken’s resources while doing so.
When a chicken has a gapeworm, it will sneeze and cough in an attempt to get rid of the worm and be able to breathe normally again.
Infectious Laryngotracheitis in Chickens
The acute form of the infectious laryngotracheitis virus manifests itself 5–12 days after natural exposure with symptoms such as gasping, coughing up bloody mucoid exudate, rattling, and extension of the neck during inspiration.
There are a number of things that can cause laying flocks to produce fewer eggs. Birds that are afflicted with this condition are anorexic and lethargic.
The mortality rate varies, but it can reach as high as 50 percent in adults. When it comes to adults, the leading cause of death is usually a clogged trachea caused by bleeding or pus.
After approximately two weeks, the signs should begin to improve; however, some birds may display signs for a significantly longer period of time.
Strains with a low level of virulence kill few or no people and cause mild respiratory symptoms and a slight drop in egg production.
After being cured, birds continue to harbor the infection throughout their lives and can pass it on to other species of birds that are more vulnerable.
Under adverse conditions, the dormant virus has the potential to become active again. There is also the possibility that the infection could be spread through physical contact.
Several outbreaks of contagious diseases have been linked to the movement of sick birds and to equipment and trash that the birds may have contaminated.
Because this disease is contagious, birds that show any signs of being sick should be kept apart. Sneezing, eye discharge, nasal discharge, and swollen sinuses are common symptoms in chickens, especially during the winter.
If not treated properly, it can be deadly. But if you notice the signs early, your bird may be able to slowly get better.
Bird Flu in Chickens
Avian influenza, also called “bird flu,” is a respiratory illness in birds that is caused by influenza A viruses.
There is a possibility that wild birds like ducks, gulls, and shorebirds can carry and spread these viruses despite the fact that they may not show any signs of illness.
Avian influenza, on the other hand, can kill chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese that are raised as pets.
The rapid spread of avian influenza requires direct contact between infected birds. It can also spread indirectly, like when birds land on surfaces or things that have the disease on them.
The bird flu, or avian influenza, is a viral respiratory illness that can spread to humans and other mammals. This means you might catch it from your chickens if they are infected.
Sneezing is one of the earliest symptoms of this unusual condition. Other symptoms include coughing, lethargy, less egg production, nasal discharge, face swelling, tremors, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and sagging wings.
Infectious Coryza in Chickens
Another disease brought on by bacteria is infectious coryza. Mucus builds up in the nasal passages of chickens, which is why they often sneeze and cough.
When infectious coryza is in its mildest form, the only symptoms that may be present are lethargy, a clear nasal discharge, and occasionally some swelling of the face.
As the condition gets worse, extreme swelling of one or both of the infraorbital sinuses and edema of the tissues around them can make it hard to open the eyes all the way.
It is possible for the edema to spread to the intermandibular space and the wattles in adult birds, particularly in males.
The swelling will typically subside within ten to fourteen days; however, if a secondary infection develops, it may continue for several months. Symptoms can show up in a number of different ways, depending on how bad the infection is.
A form of the disease reported as “bacteremia” has been documented in Argentina; this is most likely attributable to the presence of concurrent infections.
Egg production may be delayed in young pullets, and it may drop by a lot in older hens.
During the early stages of the disease, birds that have it may have diarrhea, and they usually stop eating and drinking as much.
Breathing difficulties, facial swelling, and loss of appetite are possible as symptoms worsen. A sick chicken with coryza is a big threat to other birds, so it must be kept away from them.
Infectious Bronchitis Virus in Chickens
Morbidity rates are almost always 100% in flocks that are impacted by infectious bronchitis. For the first 10 to 14 days of their lives, chicks might cough, sneeze, and have tracheal rales.
It is possible to experience conjunctivitis, as well as dyspnea, and even facial swelling, particularly when a bacterial infection of the sinuses is occurring at the same time.
Chicks may give the impression of being depressed and will huddle together under heat lamps. Both the amount of feed consumed and the amount of weight gained decreased.
Infection with nephropathogenic strains can start with respiratory symptoms, then lead to depression, ruffled feathers, wet poop, drinking more water, and finally death.
The production of eggs in laying hens may decrease by as much as 70%, and the eggs that are laid may be misshapen, have shells that are thin, soft, wrinkled, rough, and/or pale, and they may also be smaller and have albumen that is watery.
Normal egg production and egg quality can be achieved, but it may take up to eight weeks for this to happen. Mortality rates are typically around 5%, but they can reach as high as 60% in certain circumstances.
For example, death rates are much higher when the disease is complicated by a bacterial infection at the same time or when nephropathogenic strains cause interstitial nephritis in chicks.
An infection of the chicks can cause permanent damage to the oviduct, which can lead to layers or breeders who never reach normal levels of production. This condition is known as “false layer syndrome.”
Chickens can spread this virus to one another because it is contagious. It’s more likely that chicks and pullets are at high risk than adult chickens.
Coughing and sneezing are common early symptoms of this disease. Additionally, you may witness watery eyes, strange sounds, nasal discharge, swollen sinuses, and wheezing.
Newcastle disease is less common, but if it isn’t treated quickly, it can kill. Your chicken may experience symptoms anywhere in the body due to this respiratory disease.
Common symptoms include sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, diarrhea, and feeling tired. Some of these symptoms are also seen in other diseases. It can cause life-threatening paralysis if not detected early.
Humans aren’t normally affected, but people in direct contact with infected birds may develop a very short-term eye infection, which passes without treatment.
Clinical signs of Newcastle Disease
The clinical signs in affected birds can vary. The disease can be present in a very acute form with sudden onset and high mortality or as a mild disease with respiratory distress or a drop in egg production as the only detectable clinical signs.
The main signs are:
- nasal discharge
- greenish, watery diarrhea
- muscular tremors
- drooping wings
- complete paralysis
- tissue swelling in the area around the eyes as well as in the neck
- sudden death
- increased number of deaths suffered by a flock
- There is a possibility of a partial or total decrease in egg production in laying birds, as well as an increase in the production of eggs with thin shells.
How the Newcastle disease is spread
The disease is passed on from infected birds to healthy birds through their droppings as well as secretions from their mouth, nose, and eyes.
Direct contact between birds that are not infected and the bodily discharges of infected birds is the primary means by which the disease is spread.
Material carrying the virus can also be picked up on shoes and clothing and transported from a flock that is infected to one that is healthy.
Therefore, the possibility of transmission exists through the movement of contaminated vehicles, equipment, manure, feed, and water as well as through direct contact between chickens and other poultry.
The virus is able to live for several weeks in an environment that is warm and humid on materials such as the feathers of birds, manure, and other substances.
Direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected birds, particularly their feces and aerosol contact, is the primary means by which the disease is spread.
Mycoplasma Gallisepticum in Chickens
This condition is also called “bulgy eye,” and it is common in chickens kept in a backyard. Watery eyes, discharge from the eyes, and facial swelling are all symptoms of this bacterial disease.
It is possible that the individual will have nasal discharge as well as conjunctivitis along with frothiness around the eyes.
In turkeys, the disease is typically more severe than it is in chickens, and swelling of the infraorbital sinuses is a common symptom. There is a decline in both feed efficiency and weight gain.
Because of airsacculitis, commercial broiler chickens and market turkeys may be subject to high condemnation rates during the processing stage.
There is a possibility of a persistent rise in the rate of mortality among laying flocks, as well as a fall in the overall production rate.
Catarrhal sinusitis, tracheitis, and airsacculitis are relatively mild symptoms that manifest themselves in chickens that have uncomplicated M gallisepticum infections.
E coli infections frequently occur simultaneously and lead to severe thickening and turbidity of the air sacs, as well as exudative accumulations, adhesive pericarditis, and fibrinous perihepatitis.
These symptoms can also occur in the heart and liver.
Turkeys often suffer from severe mucopurulent sinusitis in addition to tracheitis and airsacculitis, albeit to varying degrees.
Mucous membranes that are involved can be identified microscopically as being thickened, hyperplastic, necrotic, and infiltrated with inflammatory cells.
There are localized areas of lymphoid hypoplasia and germinal center formations in the mucosal lamina propria.
Sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, and head shaking are additional symptoms. It can spread from one chicken to another, so sick birds should be kept away from the rest of the flock.
These are just some possible reasons why a chicken is sneezing. If your chicken is exhibiting strange symptoms and you can’t figure out what’s wrong with it, you should contact a vet as soon as possible.
Chicken Sneezing Treatment
Chicken sneezing treatment may alter depending on the underlying cause. If the problem is small, like too much dust in the coop, some extra cleaning should fix it.
However, if your chicken is exhibiting other symptoms besides sneezing, you should consult a veterinarian to determine the best course of action.
There may be a need to treat your chickens with antibiotics, herbal supplements, or even prescription drugs. It is recommended, however, that you take the advice of your veterinarian when purchasing such items.
Choosing the wrong treatment for your birds could make the problem worse.
Make a clean living environment for your chickens while they recover from a disease. Make sure their coop doesn’t have too much dust and give them clean water and fresh food every day.
Raising chickens requires a clean, healthy environment at all times, but it’s especially important when the birds are ill.
When it comes to diseases that are brought on by bacteria, antibiotic treatment can assist in removing the bacteria from the body and gradually reducing the symptoms of the illness.
Treatment for the condition can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on what stage it is at when it is started until the chickens have fully recovered.
Even if the chickens have a virus, some vets will still recommend administering antibiotics to them.
Antibiotics do not work against viruses, but they can protect against secondary bacterial diseases, which are more likely to strike when a person’s immunity is compromised and is therefore more likely to strike.
Chicken Sneezing Prevention
“An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”. As the saying goes. In order to keep chickens healthy, prevention is essential. To avoid diseases in the future, it’s best to take preventative measures even if your chickens haven’t been sneezing.
Important Tips and Advice on Chicken Sneezing Prevention
Keep the Chicken Coop Clean
Keep your chickens in a clean environment at all times. The accumulation of dust in the coop increases the likelihood that infectious diseases will spread.
As diseases can be transmitted through chicken feces, removing bird waste is an important step in preventing the spread of risk.
They probably won’t notice, but a clean coop will be better for your chickens’ health.
Ensure Proper Ventilation
Not only should their coop be clean, but it should also have a lot of airflows. Make sure the indoor areas where the chickens spend most of their time are roomy and get plenty of fresh air and oxygen.
Chickens, like people, need adequate exposure to sunlight in order to produce sufficient levels of vitamin D. The sun is an excellent source of this vitamin.
If you let them bask in the sun during the day, it will not only make it simpler for them to produce healthy eggs, but it will also strengthen their immune system and protect them from developing certain diseases that could be harmful to their health.
The coop doesn’t have to be in the sun, but your chickens should be able to run around in the backyard for a few hours every day.
Make Sure the Food and Water are Fresh
Chickens should consume a consistent amount of food and water each day. Chicks should eat more protein than adults because their food should be appropriate for their age. Also, adult hens need more calcium in their food.
When the water in your chicken coop begins to look cloudy, you should replace it immediately.
If the water in your chicken’s dish is not changed frequently enough, it may become contaminated with dirt, debris, and bacteria, which may lead to health problems.
Your chicken’s immune system can be strengthened and their risk of sneezing reduced by giving them clean water and a healthy diet.
Vaccinate Your Chickens
Like other domesticated animals, chickens can benefit from vaccinations. Diseases such as Newcastle, infectious bronchitis, and infectious laryngotracheitis are preventable in chickens through vaccination.
Have a discussion with your veterinarian about the recommended immunizations for your flock.
Sick Chickens Should Be Isolated
If you have chickens that are exhibiting symptoms of a disease, such as coughing, sneezing, or wheezing, you should separate them from the rest of your flock as soon as possible.
In order to protect your other chickens from contracting contagious respiratory diseases, it is best to quarantine the sick ones.
It is important to isolate any new chickens that you add to your flock in a quarantine area. To ensure their health, separate them isolated from other chickens for at least two weeks.
It’s best to quarantine any chickens that have traveled from afar to make sure they’re healthy before introducing them to the rest of the flock.
Pay a Regular Visit to the Veterinarian
In contrast to dogs and cats, chickens do not require annual checkups at the veterinarian. In spite of this, you should familiarize yourself with local veterinarians who specialize in chickens.
Then, in the event that any of your chickens display symptoms that are out of the ordinary, you will know precisely where to take them.
If you are concerned about the health and well-being of your flock, it is in your best interest to have access to a vet who has prior experience treating chickens.
It has been said that “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”. Prevention is absolutely necessary to keep chickens remain healthy.
Even if your chickens haven’t been coughing or sneezing, it is still best to take preventative measures to reduce the risk of disease in the long run.
The majority of the time, chicken sneezing is not a major cause for concern. Anyone who is exposed to even a trace amount of dust in the air may sneeze, but this does not necessarily make them sick.
So, other symptoms should be watched for if you’re worried about your chicken. There may be a more serious problem going on with your birds’ health if, in addition to sneezing, they are exhibiting other peculiar behaviors.
Even though the vast majority of chickens are in good health, it is always possible that something could go wrong. In order to keep your chickens healthy and free from contagious diseases, you must keep your coop clean and secure at all times.
In this manner, you will not only have healthier chickens but also eggs of a higher quality.