Hen’s Sneezing


Sneezing hens may have an upper respiratory problem and there can be discharge from the nose with this.

Hens are prone to respiratory problems.

There can be a number of causes:

  • poor ventillation (droppings give off ammonia),
  • sawdust (larger wood shavings sold in pet shops usually has the ‘dust’ extracted to prevent these problems),
  • straw may carry dust in it.
  • viruses – such as infectious bronchitis, pneumovirus, aspergilliosis, mycoplasma, infectious laryngotracheitis, Avian Influenza, Fowl pest / Newcastle disease, Coryza to name some.

All of these conditions show very similar symptoms which makes it difficult to know which it is, so the more symptoms you can describe or notice the more able to pick out what it might be.

My advice is to consult a vet, you may be able to phone your vet and ask for advice over the phone, without taking your hen in?

Here are some questions to conside if you hen is sneezing:

  • Are they off their water or are they drinking more?
  • When you pick them up do they feel thin?
  • How are they standing, are their wings droopy?
  • Is the area around their eyes puffed up?
  • What are their droppings like, what colour and consistency?
  • Does the hen’s breathing rattle?
  • Are they laying eggs? If so are the eggs ok, or are they thin shelled, mis-shapen etc

Answers to these questions can help to identify what might be wrong as sneezing could be related to a number of illnesses.

One of our farmingfriends forum members recently posted about her poorly hen and was seeking advice on what might be the matter. She let us know as much information as possible about her hen by answering a set of questions, which I thought was very useful.
I thought that these were useful questions to consider if you have a poorly hen and you are seeking advice.

What age is your hen? What breed if known and what gender?

What is wrong? What symptoms have you noted? – As much detail as possible please.

Full droppings description.- colour, consistency, frequency, offensive smell.

Respiratory Changes?- eg. breathing sounds, discharge, laboured breathing, facial swelling

Digestive Changes?- eg. eating, drinking, crop filling & emptying

Change’s in The Hen’s Condition?- eg. Weight, comb/wattle colour, skin, feathering

Behavioural Changes?- inc. socialising, laying, crowing, broodiness

Agility Changes? – eg. any lameness, favouring, energy levels

Have you wormed your hen? Do you have a cycle that you use for worming eg. every 3 months, or every six months?

1. When was the bird last wormed??- approximate date.

2. What product was used to worm the bird, and how was it given? ? eg. in the drinking water, on the skin, by injection?

3. Was a follow up dose given? (eg. 10-14 days later)

Any other recent medications?- antibiotics, coccidiosis meds, herbal remedies, etc

Other changes? – additions to the flock, diet, housing, extreme weather, predators, vermin, etc

If you have any photos of your poorly hen then they can also help others to suggest what might be the matter, but a phone call to your local vet is always helpful.

If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

Visit Wells Poultry For All Your Poultry Equipment & Housing

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