Most Common Chicken Diseases & Symptoms!

Chickens are very prone to illnesses and that is no secret. Especially when weather changes occur you can surely expect that the chances of your flock getting sick are bigger than before. Many experienced chicken keepers are aware of this fact and have gone deeper in the subject by analyzing and taking notes of the most common chicken diseases and the symptoms for the same. What we wanted to do for our readers is put a list of the most common chicken diseases according to us in the sake of helping them having a safer and healthier flocks throughout the year.

1. Signs Of Cannibalism And Chickens Pecking One Another

Chickens/chicks pecking at each other in most cases means the lack of some nutritious material which is crucial for the well-being and overall productiveness of the chickens. Chickens turn to peck at their flock mates in search of calcium, protein and such. This is a very nasty habit that can occur in the flock so it is very important that the first culprit be separated from the flock and put in a separate box. With changes in the diet the chicken keeper can make sure that the rest of the flock don’t get the same nasty habit and therefore improve their well-being.

2. Fowl Pox

In many people`s vocabulary known as the chicken pox, this far from the same as the human disease. Mosquitoes are transmitting this illness from chicken to chicken. Concerning the symptoms – fowl pox is known to cause round lesions most likely in the comb, wattle and face areas. Some cases have proved that from time to time the same occur on the legs. The most dangerous lesions however, occur on the mouth and windpipe area which can lead to death by suffocation.

3. External And Internal Parasites

The difference between internal and external parasites is quite distinguishable – external parasites are those that infect the chickens from the outside, and the internal are those that infect the chickens from the inside.
External parasites such as fleas that can also feed on your pets. In most cases you can find them around the head area of the chicken.

They should be treated with medication that is made strictly for chickens because some of those universal methods can do a lot more harm to your chickens than good in the overall process. Other external parasites that are worth mentioning are mites – which are difficult to see for the human eyes and in most cases can affect the whole flock if left untreated – tics and lice, which are very common among birds. For prevention hygiene in the coop is crucial.
Internal parasite, fortunately are not as common as the external ones because chickens have with generation built their own immune system to fight them. Younger chicks however with not so strong immune system can be easily infected and then transmit the parasites to the older chickens. Weight loss and diarrhea are common signs of internal parasites in your chickens and the smartest thing a chicken keeper can do is take the feces for examination at the local vet.

4. Lack Of Vitamin A

If your chickens have dry and crusty material around their breathing areas that usually means that there is a deficiency of vitamin A in their system. Lack of vitamin A can cause younger chicks to develop slower and in some cases even die of organ failure. Adult hens however can experience a drop in their egg production and the overall quality of the egg will be lower than usual. The percentage of hatched eggs will be smaller with hens that experience a lack of vitamin A.

5. Fowl Cholera

One of the worst on this list fowl cholera can cause a sudden death without much indication. Managing to surprise chicken keepers even to this day but still there are some signs that you can find if you look closely enough. The skin going dark-purple along with depression and localized infection around the face, wattle, comb and limbs are crucial parts of the fowl cholera cocktail and more experienced chicken keepers can notice them.

6. Mycoplasmosis

If you have ever noticed a material similar to melted cheese around the eyes of your chickens –we have bad news for you. Your chickens are infected. Other symptoms include decrease in fertility, egg production and hatchability along with watery eyes, swelling around the face, constant sneezing and coughing.

7. Infectious Bronchitis

This menacing illness usually shows itself in early form by infecting the respiratory tract and what makes the menacing part is its high chance of infecting the rest of the flock. Chickens having to find hard to breathe during the night, and do not drink water as before are also symptoms. The worst part of this illness is that there is no clear method of treatment and it can go viral fast. Prevention can be keeping your chickens warm and comfortable at all times especially when weather changes occur.

8. Rickets

Maybe the worst to look at this disease is very familiar among chicken keepers that hatch their eggs. Symptoms are rubbery bones in the chicks and they having problems with moving and standing up. This illness comes at number 9 because of the facts that it infects chickens when they are young. The chicks that have this disease rarely manage to finish the process of growing up and those that do can have problems in the future.

9. Roundworm

One of the internal parasites that chicken keepers are mostly familiar with – common symptoms are weight loss and diarrhea. And sometimes if more adult worms are present in a chicken they can cause a blockage in the intestines with can be fatal.

10. Hairworm

Hairworm symptoms include paleness, chickens unwilling to eat and drink and diarrhea. If not treated in time the hairworm can be fatal for your chickens.


By being aware of the symptoms that are alerting you to these diseases every chicken keeper can be prepared to prevent them. Prevention is a key factor when these forms of diseases come to mind and that is why knowing the symptoms of the most common chicken diseases is important to every chicken keeper.

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1 thought on “Most Common Chicken Diseases & Symptoms!”

  1. I have been having a problem with a few of my chickens going lame. They start walking like they cant control their legs. When they eat they are off balance. Ages vary from young birds to adult birds. They are fine otherwise. No diarrhea or loss of appetite. I cant find any descriptions of this type of disease. Not all of my birds get it so it must be genetic??


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