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Chicken Health Issues: What to Look For

With concern ramping up regarding Avian (Bird Flu), we wanted to make sure you knew what to look for if your flock isn't feeling their best. So, while there are various chicken health issues, we will do a quick rundown of the most common illnesses. Then, if you know what to look for, you’ll learn how to describe things to your trusted exotic vet and get them the care they need.

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Signs Something's Wrong

You probably won’t find one of your hens rummaging in the bathroom closet for some kleenex when they don't feel well, but here are some other signs of chicken health issues. Ensure that if one of your girls is under the weather, you isolate them immediately until you figure out what's wrong. According to the CDC, here are the signs of sick chickens:

  • Be less active than normal
  • Eat or drink less than normal
  • Have ruffled feathers, discharge from the eyes or nose, difficulty breathing, or runny diarrhea
  • Produce fewer eggs than normal
  • Produce discolored, irregular, or misshapen eggs
  • Die unexpectedly of no apparent cause
Crested chicken and sunflower

Common Chicken Health Issues

It can be hard to figure out eggs-actly what’s wrong when it comes to your sweet girls. We’re going to touch on the most common chicken health issues, but isolate them and call your vet as soon as you notice something is wrong. Finally, we share links to our in-depth blogs for you to do a deeper dive.


Chicken health issues can be second-order effects of behavioral issues. For example, backyard chicken flocks have a pecking order (pun intended). Additionally, if the coop and run are overcrowded, bullying may ensue. Check out our helpful blogs to ensure your backyard chicken setup is adequate and tips on keeping it clean.

Helpful blogs:


If your hens aren’t eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise, their egg production might be affected. Calcium is key to healthy bones, beaks, and eggshells. If your eggs aren’t looking right or you're unsure what to feed your flock, contact our helpful Customer Service Team for recommendations. However, before changing your hens' diet, consult your vet first.

Helpful blogs:


Your chickens don’t want or need any extra hitchhikers. However, if their feathers are looking rough or you see something unusual in their 💩, get with your vet right away for treatment. Additionally, keeping your flock’s coop and run clean reduces the chances of parasites popping up.

Respiratory and/or Fungal Infections

Chicken coops are full of allergens, which makes keeping them clean challenging. Additionally, most infectious poultry diseases are spread from bird to bird. Any of these diseases can affect multiple chicken anatomy systems. To keep the infections from spreading in your backyard flock, isolate the sick birds and seek treatment from your vet immediately.

Hens at a picnic table

Our Chicken Spokesperson and More Helpful Reading

If you’re new to Small Pet Select, you may not know that we’ve got a chicken spokesperson: Lisa from Fresh Eggs Daily! Additionally, we have tons of chicken blogs and a care guide to raising chickens. Finally, we also have blogs on other chicken health issues:

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Raising a backyard flock is fun, and having fresh eggs can’t be beaten (well, they can be if you like scrambled). However, we always recommend prevention and bio-security as the best way to keep your hens from developing chicken health issues. 

DISCLAIMER: The links and information are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Small Pet Select of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual.

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