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Chicken Health

Common chicken health and behavioural problems

Like humans, chooks occasionally do get sick and can also develop behavioural problems. They will try to hide their symptoms (an evolutionary defence against predators), so be on the lookout for any tell-tale signs. Not all vets are experienced with the treatment of chickens, so it’s important to do some research before you have a crook chook.

Common health problems

  • Ammonia poisoning (due to poor litter conditions and ventilation)
  • Aspergillosis (a fungal disease which causes respiratory problems)
  • Blackhead (a protozoan infection)
  • Bumblefoot (severe swelling of the foot)
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Coccidiosis (intestinal parasites)
  • Dehydration
  • External parasites (such as ticks, lice and mites)
  • Sour crop (yeast infection)
  • Vent problems (anus infection)
  • Worms
  • Wounds

Common behavioural problems

  • Broodiness (when a hen insists on sitting on eggs, hoping they will hatch)
  • Egg eating (when a chicken develops a liking to breaking and eating eggs)
  • Feathering, pecking and cannibalism (usually a result of overcrowding, lack of feeding and drinking space, idleness and poor coop conditions).

Information sourced from Ridley AgriProducts 2017, The Barastoc Chook Book, 9th edn.