Why Do Chickens Sneeze? Understanding the Causes and Solutions

Chickens are fascinating creatures, and observing their behaviors can be both entertaining and educational. Have you ever wondered why chickens sneeze? In this article, we will explore the reasons behind chicken sneezing and discuss common causes such as respiratory infections, environmental factors, allergies, and dust. Understanding why chickens sneeze is important for their overall health and well-being. So, let’s delve into the world of chicken sneezing and learn more about these feathered friends.

You may also want to read about the best chicken feed.

Why Do Chickens Sneeze?

Sneezing is a natural reflex in chickens, just like in humans and many other animals. It helps them clear their nasal passages and expel any foreign substances or irritants. Occasional sneezing is normal for chickens and is usually nothing to worry about. However, persistent or frequent sneezing can be a sign of an underlying issue that requires attention.

Common Causes of Chicken Sneezing

Several factors can contribute to chicken sneezing:

  • Respiratory Infections and Diseases: Chickens can contract respiratory infections caused by various pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi. These infections can lead to sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, and other respiratory symptoms.
  • Environmental Factors: Poor ventilation, high humidity, extreme temperature changes, and overcrowding in the coop can all contribute to respiratory issues and sneezing in chickens.
  • Allergies and Irritants: Chickens can be sensitive to certain allergens and irritants in their environment, such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, or strong odors. These can trigger sneezing and other allergic reactions.

Respiratory Infections and Diseases

Respiratory infections and diseases are a common cause of chicken sneezing:

  • Infectious Coryza: This bacterial infection affects the upper respiratory tract, causing sneezing, swollen sinuses, facial swelling, and foul-smelling nasal discharge.
  • Mycoplasma Gallisepticum: This chronic respiratory disease is caused by a bacteria-like organism and can lead to sneezing, coughing, and wheezing.
  • Newcastle Disease: This highly contagious viral disease affects the respiratory and nervous systems of chickens, causing severe respiratory symptoms including sneezing.

Environmental Factors

Environmental conditions play a significant role in chicken health:

  • Ventilation: Poor airflow and inadequate ventilation in the coop can result in the accumulation of ammonia, dust, and other airborne particles that can irritate the respiratory system and cause sneezing.
  • Temperature and Humidity: Extreme temperature fluctuations and high humidity levels can stress chickens and compromise their respiratory health, leading to sneezing and other respiratory issues.
why do chickens sneeze

Why Do Chickens Sneeze?

Allergies and Irritants

Chickens can develop allergies and sensitivities to certain substances:

  • Pollen and Allergens: Just like humans, chickens can be allergic to pollen from certain plants or trees. Exposure to these allergens can trigger sneezing and respiratory discomfort.
  • Mold and Dust Mites: Damp environments and moldy beddingcan harbor mold spores and dust mites, which can cause respiratory irritation and sneezing in chickens.
  • Strong Odors: Strong and pungent odors from cleaning products, chemicals, or certain foods can also irritate the respiratory system of chickens, leading to sneezing.

Sneezing and Dust

Dust can be a significant factor in chicken sneezing:

  • Bedding and Dust Particles: Bedding materials such as straw, hay, or wood shavings can generate dust particles that can irritate the respiratory system when inhaled by chickens.
  • Feather Dander: Chickens produce feather dander, which can become airborne and contribute to respiratory irritation and sneezing, especially in sensitive individuals.

When to Be Concerned

While occasional sneezing is normal, there are signs that indicate a more serious issue:

  • Persistent Sneezing: If a chicken continues to sneeze frequently or exhibits other respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or nasal discharge, it may indicate a respiratory infection or disease.
  • Decreased Appetite and Lethargy: If a chicken’s sneezing is accompanied by a loss of appetite, decreased activity, or lethargy, it may be a sign of a more severe illness and should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

Preventive Measures

Prevention is key to maintaining respiratory health in chickens:

  • Good Ventilation: Ensure proper airflow and ventilation in the coop by providing adequate openings and ventilation systems. This helps reduce the accumulation of moisture, ammonia, and airborne particles.
  • Clean Environment: Regularly clean and maintain the coop, removing soiled bedding, droppings, and dust. Use dust-free bedding materials to minimize dust levels.
  • Dust Bathing: Provide a designated area for chickens to take dust baths, as it helps them naturally clean their feathers and reduce the buildup of dust and dander.
  • Balanced Nutrition: Feed your chickens a well-balanced diet to support their immune system and overall health, which can help prevent respiratory issues.

Why Do Chickens Sneeze? Conclusion

Why Do Chickens Sneeze? Sneezing is a natural reflex for chickens, but persistent or frequent sneezing may indicate an underlying issue. Understanding the causes of chicken sneezing, such as respiratory infections, environmental factors, allergies, and dust, is crucial for maintaining the health and well-being of your flock. By implementing preventive measures and providing a clean and well-ventilated environment, you can minimize the risk of respiratory issues and ensure happy and healthy chickens.


1. Can chickens catch colds from humans? No, chickens cannot catch colds from humans. They can, however, contract respiratory infections from other chickens or specific pathogens in their environment.

2. Are there any home remedies for chicken sneezing? While home remedies may provide temporary relief, it’s best to consult a veterinarian if your chickens are consistently sneezing or showing other signs of respiratory distress. A professional diagnosis and appropriate treatment are crucial for their well-being.

3. Can I use essential oils to alleviate chicken sneezing? Using essential oils around chickens can be risky, as they may have adverse effects on their respiratory system. It’s best to consult with a veterinarian before using any essential oils or aromatherapy products in the vicinity of your chickens.

4. Can chicken sneezing spread to other chickens? Respiratory infections can be contagious among chickens. It’s important to isolate sick chickens and practice proper biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of diseases within your flock.

5. Should I be worried if my chickens sneeze occasionally after dust bathing? Occasional sneezing after dust bathing is usually normal, as dust can temporarily irritate the respiratory system. However, if the sneezing becomes frequent oraccompanied by other respiratory symptoms, it’s advisable to monitor your chickens closely and consult a veterinarian if necessary.

About the Author
The Poultry Feed Team

The Poultry Feed Team

I am Ehsan from The Poultry Feed Team. We all started out as poultry novices ourselves, so we know just how confusing it can be to try and figure everything out on your own. That's why we're here! We want to help you become the best caretaker of these lovely feathered animals.