Chicken Health

Chickens are prone to many diseases and disorders. As a chicken keeper, it’s important to understand what can go wrong with your chickens.

Common Health Problems

General Health

To make sure you’re chickens are healthy:

A common but pesky problem is dealing with wormy chickens.

Symptoms of Diseases & Treatment

Black Spots on a Chicken Comb & Wattleshealth issues like peck marks, Fowlpox, frostbite, …
Blood in Chicken Poopinternal damage due to parasites, diseases, cocci, or other infections
Bleeding Beakinjury, ruptured blood vessels, or diseases like wet fowl pox and canker
Belly, Swollenhearth failure & high blood pressure causes fluids to leak into the belly
Coughingrespiratory diseases like bronchitis, chronic respiratory disease, coryza, laryngotracheitis, fowl cholera, new castle disease
Comb, Palea chicken’s comb should always be a blush pink or red. A pale comb may be a sign of severe health issues
Comb, Purplea purple comb and wattles are seen in fowl cholera
Diarrhea, yellowissues with liver or gallbladder, bacterial or viral infections
Diarrhea, greengreen and yellow diarrhea is seen in fowl cholera
Feathers, losing, dullnormal during molting, can also be due to fights, worms, lice, or mites
Eggs, Soft Shelledquirks in the eggshell-building process, normal in young birds, can be caused by stress and several diseases
Eggs, Blood on the shella small injury or stretching of the vent, be alert when it’s frequent or when there is blood in the chicken poop, or when the hen has a dirty bottom
Eggs, Blood in the yolkburst blood vessels in the ovary of a chicken, fine to eat, occurs frequently
Eggs, Abnormal Shapemany egg abnormalities can occur during a hen’s lifetime. Let’s see which types and whether the egg is safe to eat.
Eyes, Foamy Bubblesa respiratory disease causing excessive tearing of the watery eye or an eye injury
Eyes, Cloudyammonia irritation, eye injuries, or caused by one of several (respiratory) diseases
Eyes, Infectionseveral causes, independently or as part of more complicated conditions
Gurgling Soundssign of a respiratory tract infection, viral or bacterial, common in Infectious Bronchitis, Chronic Respiratory Disease, Infectious Coryza, or Infectious Laryngotracheitis
Head-Shakingirritation caused by flies, difficulties swallowing, water in the nares, lice, mites, or an underlying respiratory disease or neurological disorder
Head Position AbnormalWry neck in chickens manifests with an abnormal head and neck position.
Legs, Scabbyscaly leg mites, caused by microscopic critters that nestle under the keratin scales of a chicken’s legs and feet
Nosebleedmost common are injuries, but can also be air quality, rat poison or vitamin k deficiency, or infectious laryngotracheitis
Penguin Standa common sign of egg binding in chickens, when an egg gets stuck in the oviduct, or egg yolk peritonitis, where a yolk enters the body cavity. But also Salpingitis, the condition causing lash eggs or water belly are possible reasons.
Sneezingrespiratory diseases like bronchitis, chronic respiratory disease, coryza, laryngotracheitis, fowl cholera, new castle disease
Throat, Sorescommon in (wet) Fowl Pox, Canker, or Sour crop, but can also occur in other bacterial infections
Vent, DirtyCommon in Vent Gleet, pasty butt or fly strike
Vent, Protrudes Outside the BodyProlapsed vent, also known as a vent prolapse or a ‘blowout,’ is a health issue where the chicken’s cloaca protrudes outside the body
Wormsseveral types of worms affect chickens, use dewormers for treatment and prevention like Ivermectin or fenbendazole
Yawningsomething stuck in the throat, panting to cool down, rearranging the crop, or symptom of several diseases that can cause yawning


BehaviorDiscussion & Prevention
Aggressive RoostersHow to Tame an Aggressive Rooster?
Chicken Saddle DIY (Free Pattern)
Drinking ExcessivelyChicken Drinking Excessively: Causes & Treatment
Dust BathingCreating a Dust Bath for Chickens
Finding their way homeCan Chickens Find Their Way Home?
Living AloneCan Chickens Live Alone?
Look HungryWhy do Chickens Always Seem Hungry?
MourningDo Chickens Mourn?
MoltingChicken Molting Care Guide
PantingHow To Cool Chickens Down (And What NOT To Do!)
Penguin StandEgg Bound Chickens: Symptoms and Treatment
Egg Yolk Peritonitis
PurringWhy Does A Chicken Purr?
Scared Behavior5 Reasons Why Your Chicken Is Scared
Sleeping, bedtimeHow Do Chickens Sleep?
SquattingWhy Is My Chicken Squatting?
Walking BackwardCan Chickens Walk Backward?
Egg EatingSigns of egg eating in chickens and how to solve it

Common Chicken Diseases

DiseaseMain SymptomCause
CankerSores in the throatParasite
Chronic Respiratory DiseaseCoughing, Sneezing, GurglingBacteria
CoccidiosisBlood in droppingsParasite
Infectious BronchitisCoughing, Sneezing, GurglingVirus
Infectious CoryzaCoughing, Sneezing, DiarrheaBacteria
Infectious LaryngotracheitisCoughing, SneezingVirus
Egg Yolk PeritonitisPenguin Stand, Swollen BellyYolk
FavusWhite Spots on the CombsFungus
Fowl CholeraPurple Comb, Green DiarrheaBacteria
Fowlpox (Dry)Black Spots on the CombsVirus
Fowlpox (Wet)Yellow SoresVirus
Marek’s DiseaseParalyzation, tumorsVirus
Newcastle DiseaseGasping, Stumbling, DiarrheaVirus
Pasty ButtClogged vent in ChicksWater Balance
Scaly Leg MitesThick, Scabby LegsMite
Sour CropPatches in the mouth, DiarrheaYeast
Water Belly (Ascites)Swollen belly full of liquidHearth Failure

Prevention & Treatment

Common prevention and treatment methods include: