Chicken Closing Eyes And Opening Mouth

Robert Blaylock

Updated on:

Chicken Closing Eyes

Have you ever wondered why your chickens won’t stop opening mouths and closing eyes? Do you desire to know how to prevent your chicken from opening its mouth and closing its eyes regularly?

If yes, then we advise you to sit back, relax and pay concrete attention to everything on this page because this article will disclose everything you should know about your chickens’ decision to open mouths and close eyes all day.

Chicken Closing Eyes

We have had so much for the introduction, let’s dive into action without taking more time.


What does it mean when a chicken keeps opening its mouth?

Is your chicken opening its mouth frequently? If Yes, we have made a list of possible reasons why your chicken is opening it mouth all the time.

So Here are some possibilities you should take a look at:

Heat stress: unlike we humans that do sweat all the time when the atmosphere is hot, chicken on the other hand does not sweat whenever they get overheated due to weather changes. Rather the only way to get the heat out is to open their mouth to pant, in an attempt to cool down.
So if your chicken is having this problem, you might see other similar signs like panting with their wings, they do this to as well get cool down. They could as well be having a decrease appetite and lethargy.

Respiratory illness: have you noticed your chicken opening it mouth or its mouth hanging open and it’s breathing with its beak open? If such is happening then it means that your chicken might be having a respiratory illness. This illness might be Newcastle disease, or mycoplasma gallisepticum, infectious bronchitis etc. Some symptoms you might come across in your chickens are coughing, wheezing, sneezing, difficulty breathing and nasal discharge.

Thirst: when your chicken is thirsty you may see them opening their mouth, chicken should have access to clean and fresh water all the time. So try and give them plenty of water to quench their thirst so that they wont be dehydrated ; you shouldn’t leave them without water most especially when the weather is hot because if you do, you might see them opening their mouth frequently signalling that they need water.

Stress: situation like overcrowding, predator threat, poor diet are possible to cause stress to your chicken and if this happens there is every possibility that your chicken will start opening their mouth so as to take in more air or breath rapidly.

Other signs your chicken will display might include the following :

  • feather picking,
  • aggressive behavior,
  • or decreased egg production.

Treating Chicken with Closed Eyes

They are suffering from Gapeworm:
Gapeworm is a parasitic organism affecting the trachea, thereby causing health problems like wheezing and gasping in chickens and other animals. Luckily, you can treat Gapeworms without breaking the bank. Add flubenol or Aviverm to their drinking water to kill gapeworms. However, you can consult your vet for advice and direction on how to use the products mentioned above.

Something is hanging in their throat:
Chickens are known for their decision to perch anything that looks like food, even if it is not edible for consumption. They are prone to perch substances too big to swallow which will end up hanging in their throat.

Why do chickens close their eyes and open their mouth?

The reason why your chickens close their eyes and open their mouth varies based on their age, breed, and time of the season. Having said that, let’s discuss some possible factors that could influence your chicken’s decision to close its eyes and open its mouth.

1. Infection

Infection is the primary factor that can make your chickens open their mouths and close their eyes. The chickens will remain inactive and will look unhealthy.

Newcastle disease can also make chickens open their mouths and close their eyes while they remain at a spot looking as though they are about to lose their final breath.

2. Heat or Hotness:

We have discussed this earlier. Heat or high temperature is another causative factor that could make your chickens open their mouth and close their eyes simultaneously.

How do you treat a chicken with closed eyes?

Before you can rightly prescribe treatment for a chicken that is closing it eyes, you should ensure that you have properly diagnosed and determine the actual causes.

Closed eyes in chickens can be a sign of a variety of problems, this problem can be confusing at times, this signs could be any of the following :

  • respiratory infections,
  • eye infections,
  • nutritional deficiencies,
  • or injury

After proper diagnosis, then you can now decide what type of treatment you can give to the chicken.

However, let’s walk you through some of the steps you can follow quickly to address any problems like closed eyes in chicken, this is a general procedure:

Inspect your chicken’s eyes: first thing you should do is to quickly check your chicken’s eye for any signs of discharge. you can also check for redness of eyes or rather check for swelling of the eyes and lastly you should check for injury mostly around the chicken’s eyes. If it happens that you notice anything like discharge then it is an infection. You should call the vet.

Clean the area around the eyes: check if there is dirt or debris around the eyes of your chicken. If there is dirt or debris then you should make use of a damp cloth or a cotton swab to gently clean the eyes area. Remember that this should be clean enough so as not to cause further infection.
By using damp cloth or a cotton swab to gently clean the eyes area, you can easily remove irritants that makes your chicken close it’s eyes.

Isolate the chicken: you have to isolate any chicken that shows sign of illness from the rest immediately you suspect an outbreaks’ of disease or infection. By doing this, you will do a lot of good, because the disease won’t be spread to other chicken.

Provide supportive care: provide care and adequate support. Also provide enough food and fresh water through out this period. You can consider adding electrolytes Into their water because this will help against possible hydration.

Seek veterinary care: If your chicken still closes it eyes after taken every steps written above or it is getting worse instead of improving, you are better of taking your chicken to a vet who specializes in poultry and things like this for an accurate diagnosis.

Is your Chicken opening its mouth and shaking head?

If your chicken is opening its mouth and shaking its head, it simply means it has breathing difficulties.

As stated earlier, it must have eaten something obstructing its partial passage or something that has hung in its throat or esophagus. It will open its mouth and shake its head trying to remove it.

Meanwhile, respiratory problems or infections can also make your Chicken open its mouth and shake its head to signal its restlessness and inconveniences.

Is chicken opening the mouth to breathe a sign of a breathing problem?

Some respiratory problem might cause your chicken to start opening its mouth to breath but not all the time because the causes might be attributed to other factors not necessarily respiratory problem.

Like for an example, when the temperature is hot and your chicken is heated it will employ a mechanism which allows for an increase in airflow ; while it opens it mouth in an attempt to cool down.
Another situation is when a chicken is stressed, there is every chances that it will pant and while panting it will open its mouth to breathe.

What we are saying is that when you see your chicken opening its mouth to breathe, we should be looking at other illness or factors rather than only respiratory problem. Other symptoms like wheezing or coughing should also be observe.

Your best bet is to consult with a veterinarian whenever you suspect any respiratory problem.

Are your Chicken opening mouth and stretching neck at same time?

There are various reasons why your chicken might be opening its mouth or beaks; it could be an illness or just because of stress and some times it might just be their normal behaviour because they might be thirsty or hungry and they want to reach out to it.

Also, You should be ready to treat gapeworm if your chickens are opening mouths and stretching necks. This is because gapeworms are one of the infections that can make your chicken shake its head and stretch its neck simultaneously.

You shouldn’t treat your chicken based on assumptions, so you must consult your vet and explain all the signs and symptoms you’ve observed in your chickens. The vet will examine your chicken and decide the best and most effective medication.

Other things to look out for in Your Chicken

Shaking head and stretching neck for long

This means your chicken is suffering from Gapeworms which can be cured by vaccination.

shaking head and sneezing

Your chicken is down with respiratory problems, especially cold issues. Treat it as soon as possible because severe cases might lead to death.

Shaking head and closing eyes

Numerous severe health conditions are responsible for this. Consulting your vet’s opinion or hiring their services is non-negotiable.

Shaking head side to side

Your chickens have a crop or ear mite issues if they keep shaking head side to side. Chicken tends to shake their head side to side while suffering from any health complications.

Shaking head and making noise

Your chicken is probably suffering from respiratory injuries or infections. Breathing issues are the primary factor responsible for this. Meanwhile, click here to read more about the signs.