Understand These Signs of Sick Chickens

Chickens are commonly considered as hearty pets, however, they can also get infected by a number of diseases, and this is one of the main challenges of breeding chicken. To be able to tell if a chicken is sick is not as easy as you think.

You need to observe the number of changes in their behavior and appearances, including the skin, feathers and even the feces. Many signs belong to a variety of diseases, so it is very important to have your sick chicken checked by a vet.

The question is how you can tell that your chicken is sick. Don’t worry, here are the detailed signs to tell that your chicken is sick. And also when your chicken is sick, don’t forget to pay attention to these ways on how to take care of a sick chicken. The signs are basically classified into two big groups: the physical and behavioral.

Physical Signs

Physical signs are commonly seen through the parts of the chicken’s body, such as the legs, eyes, foot, belly and others. These physical signs can be easy to notice. Here are the physical signs telling you that your chicken is sick.

  • Limping – when a chicken is limping, it can indicate that it has a broken bone or bumble foot.
  • Swelling body parts (eyes, belly, foot, etc.) – there are some causes of swelling body parts, such as an insect bite or sting, eye worm, foreign particle in the eye, water belly or bumble foot. If your chicken gets infected by eye worms, make sure you do these treatment for eye worms in chicken.
  • Pale comb and wattles – the pale comb and wattles can be caused by anemia. Anemia is caused by parasites or illness. If this happens, check your chicken’s body to see if mites are present between feathers and under wings.
  • Sores or wounds – sores and wounds can be caused by accidental injury or predator attack. Fowl pox can also cause white sores on the comb and wattles.
  • Nasal discharge – indicates respiratory illness
  • Thick or crusty looking legs – indicates scaly leg mites
  • Watery eye discharge or bubbles in the corners of the eyes – indicates respiratory illness
  • Runny, foamy or bloody stool – it can be caused by internal parasites and coccidiosis both causing the bird’s droppings to change
  • Coughing or gasping – indicates respiratory illnesses, such as infectious bronchitis and gapeworm.
  • Bad breath – indicate sour or impacted crop.

Chickens are also possible to get exposed by these common but deadly chicken diseases. Familiarize yourself with those and prevent your chickens from getting any of them!

Behavioral Signs

Besides the physical signs, you can also notice the behavior signs. You can refer to the usual behavior your chicken always shows and if there is something strange or suspicious, then you can suspect that your chicken is sick. Here are the behavior signs you can observe from a sick chicken, as follows:

  • Waddling like a penguin or walking funny  – this commonly happens because of the egg bound hen waddles when she walks or there’s a leg injury
  • Not interested in food or treats – loss of appetite is a common symptom of most illnesses. Many digestive illnesses can also cause a chicken to lose interest in regular feed too.
  • Standing in one place with closed eyes – this is a sign of a chicken feels poorly and can also indicate many illnesses or injury.

If you notice that your chicken exhibits one or more signs above, then the first step you need to do is isolate the sick chicken from the rest of the flock. This should be done to make sure that the illness is not contagious.

Quarantining the chicken is important to prevent the spread of the illness through the whole flock. While being quarantined, make sure you provide the sick chicken with plenty of food and water as well as the quiet place to rest while it feels sick.

If the sick chicken doesn’t want to eat, try giving it a treat as eating anything is better than nothing. You can also add some minced garlic to the food and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to every 1 liter of water in order to boost its immune system.

After quarantining the sick chicken contact your vet. Let the vet diagnoses the sick chicken by doing some blood tests for some common diseases in chicken, such as avian influenza or salmonella pullorum.

If you plan to build a farm with chickens, make sure you read these challenges of breeding chicken. Understand the challenges and get ready to build your own!