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Chicken Gurgling When Breathing:7 Questions Explained

by Robert Blaylock


Have you ever wondered why your chicken makes a gurgling sound? Is my chicken sick?

If these are questions you intend to ask a veterinarian in your next appointment, then we suggest you pay attention as we are set to discuss all you should know about chicken’s gurgling sound.

Chicken Gurgling


What Are Gurgling Sounds?

Gurgling sounds are noises that sound more like bubbling or splashing water. It can equally be described as sounds with unequal frequencies. They are similar to the sound of gargling water in someone’s mouth.

Why Is My Chicken Making Gurgling Noises?

Your chicken could be making a gurgling noises due to various reasons. First gurgling noise can be caused by some environmental issue like dust or respiratory problem
your chicken might be experiencing or maybe there is a digestive issues .

It is also possible that your chicken has swallowed something and what it swallowed has gone down, blocking its digestive system all together.

There is still a possibility of a case of infection which has affected its respiratory tract.

Chickens are prone to diverse diseases which can affect different organs and parts of the body.

Respiratory diseases affect the lungs thereby making it very difficult to breathe. Chickens make a gurgling sound while eating or breathing due to the discomfort or pain caused by the infections.

Meanwhile, the most popular respiratory infections in chickens are sneezing, open-mouthed breathing, ruffled feathers, and unstable or shaky head.

Gapeworm is another cause of respiratory infection responsible for gurgling sounds in chickens.

Gapeworm is caused by the Syngamus trachea worm which is common in snails and earthworms. Chicken that consumes infected snails or earthworm is liable to contact Gapeworm, and will eventually make gurgling noises because its respiratory organ is affected.

Diseases that makes chicken makes Gurgling Noises:

We will like you to know the type of disease and infection that can affect your chicken and make that gurgling noises.

Respiratory infections: Diseases Avian Influenza,Mycoplasma and more also infections such as Bronchitis, Coryza, Laryngotracheitis could make your chicken gurgle and this usually happens when the disease or infection causes respiratory distress.

Gastrointestinal issues: when there is infection or blockages or even Impactions, in or around your chicken digestive system , it can makes your chicken to start Gurgling.

Parasites: coccidia and worms, which are all Intestinal parasites can make your once sweat looking chicken start to gurgle, most especially when they cause digestive distress.

Congestive heart failure: this happens in the rarest scenario. This means it is not commonly seen or notice but if it eventually happens, it could make your chicken start Gurgling.

Does Your Chicken Sneeze And Gurgle At The Same Time?

Chicken just like every other animals out there can actually sneeze and Gurgle just at the same time, they mostly or might do this just to get rid of particles or any foreign object that is blocking their respiratory system. So Yes it is quite possible for your chicken to sneeze and Gurgle at the same time

But if the sneezing is persistent and continues then it shouldn’t be taken lightly because Cold like symptoms in chickens such as coughing, wheezing could indicate a contagious respiratory disease that needed to be treated as quickly as possible and the affected chicken should be quarantine all through the treatment period.

How Do You Treat A Sneezing Chicken?

The best option to get your chicken treated of whatever respiratory disease is to get a blood test.

Getting a blood test will likely help you know what you are dealing with because It is difficult to treat chicken with respiratory diseases without a proper diagnosis.

If a chicken is sneezing, it could indicate an illness or an environmental issue such as dust or respiratory irritants. To treat a sneezing chicken, you can follow these steps:

  • Isolate the chicken from the rest of the flock to prevent the spread of any illness.
  • Keep the chicken’s environment clean and dust-free to reduce irritants.
  • Provide fresh, clean water and a balanced diet to help support the chicken’s immune system.
  • Consult a veterinarian for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment, as some respiratory illnesses can be serious and require antibiotics.

Remember, early detection and treatment of illnesses in chickens is important to maintain the health of the flock.

How Do Chickens Get Respiratory Infections?

Your Chickens can get respiratory infections or disease from the following sources :

From Virus and bacteria: we have talked about bacterias and viruses and also the pathogens. We are still listing some of the well known pathogens that causes this respiratory infections and they are Avian Influenza,Mycoplasma and Newcastle Disease virus.

From Poor ventilation: if you don’t want your Chickens to be susceptible to respiratory infections, then you should avoid their living space from being overcrowded and also make sure that it is well ventilated and there is enough space.

From Dust and ammonia: Dust and ammonia could cause serious irritation to your chicken most especially when it is from thier litter, feces of your chicken. All this compound together will increase the chances of your chicken getting infection.

Stress: Stress could come from overcrowding, it could also come from shipping or transportation of birds from one location to the other. More also rapid changes in weather can cause stress. The end result of all this could led to a weaken immune system and when the immune system is down, diseases that invade the farm and easily infect the chicken .

Direct contact: to prevent this from happening always isolate sick birds because disease can be spread through direct contact with either a contaminated equipment in the farm or with an infected chicken.

It is highly recommended that farmers or owners of chickens ensure good practices when raising birds . Farmers should also make the living space of chicken less crowded and well ventilated. If you suspect your chicken is sick, they should be isolated and treatment should commence immediately.

Can Worms Cause Respiratory Problems In Chickens

Yes warms can cause respiratory problems in chickens, this is very possible . In fact it is a well known fact that capillaria worms are capable of causing respiratory problems in chickens.

Once such warms find their way into the chicken they can causes your chicken to sneeze, cough and have difficulty breathing.

To eliminate this kind of warms, you need to administer anti-parasitic drugs which helps to kill this type of warms and also helps your chicken recover from respiratory infection.

4 Reasons your Chicken is making Gurgling Sounds explained here

Infectious Bronchitis:

Infectious Bronchitis- disease is very infectious to the extent that it badly affects chicken respiratory system, most especially causing considerable damage to the windpipe making it vulnerable to other kind of infection.
When your chicken is infected they will always sneeze continuously, cough and more also make this Gurgling Sound.

Other signs to watch out for include the following :

  • facial swelling
  • infection of sinuses with nasal discharge
  • wet droppings
  • deformed eggs and reduced egg-laying
  • eye inflammation, watery, bubbly eyes
  • reduced food intake and weight
  • ruffled feathers

Chronic Respiratory Disease:

this disease is often prevalent amongst poultry farms and could easily affect stressed birds and young chickens.
The bacteria behind this disease is known as Mycoplasma Gallisepticum. This disease is known to cause Gurgling in chicken. Other sign of this disease are as follows:

  • nasal discharge and sneezing
  • coughing and gaping
  • eye inflammation, weepy, foamy eyes
  • head shaking
  • facial swelling

Infectious Coryza:

this disease are mostly spread through food, water, aerosols and contact between chicken. When a chicken has contacted this disease it affects its respiratory system entirely making the chicken to Gurgle due to difficulty in breathing unless something is done to get rid of the bacteria that causes it.

Other symptoms you will notice are :

  • eye infection, cloudy eyes
  • nasal discharge
  • the eyes might be completely shut down
  • decreased egg production
  • swollen face,
  • foul-smelling pus
  • head shaking
  • diarrhea,
  • reduced food intake

Infectious Laryngotracheitis:

herpes virus is responsible for this infectious disease. It mainly affects the respiratory tract and hence will make your chicken to Gurgle when it comes in contact with this disease.

  • sneezing,coughing, strange breathing
  • coughing blood,
  • gasping for air
  • nasal discharge,
  • facial swelling
  • eye discharge,
  • tearing,
  • foamy and bubbly eyes
  • head-shaking

How Do You Treat A Chicken With A Respiratory Infection?

Treating any chicken with any respiratory infection, you should the following steps:

Isolate the infected chicken: i am sure you wouldn’t want the spread of the infection to other birds? So the first thing to do is to quickly isolate the sick chicken.

Consult a veterinarian: A veterinarian should be consulted, this is because they are in better position to carry out a proper diagnosis and also prescribe the right antibiotics and medication for your chicken.

Keep the chicken warm and dry: their living space should be warm and dry if you really want them to get well as soon as possible because an environment that is dry and warm is going to have a positive impact on the bird’s respiratory function.

Provide adequate nutrition: without adequate diet, the bird immune system will be down and there will be slow or no response to drugs and hence healing process will not take place.

Keep the coop clean: your chicken coop needs to be kept clean regularly and not all that, you should also try as much as possible to get rid of wet bedding.

Monitor the chicken’s progress: you have to track the progress of the medication by closely monitoring the chicken breathing behaviour and report back to your veterinarian.

What Is The Best Antibiotic For Chickens?

There is no best antibiotics that can cure all kind of bacteria in chickens, each antibiotics are designed to fight specific bacteria or infections in chickens, so it is best you understand the particular disease that is affecting your chicken before determining the appropriate antibiotics or treatment for the chicken.

The dosages of the antibiotics will only be determined by several factors, such as the age of the chicken, the severity of the infection on the chicken and the antibiotics interactions etc.
Please don’t just jump at antibiotics, before making use of any antibiotics, it is advisable to consult an expert in this field or a veterinarian.

the following antibiotics are the best options in their respective categories:

  1. Aminoglycosides: They are effective antibiotics for intestinal infections.
  2. Ionophores: They serve as a cure for bacterial infections
  3. Lincosamides: They work against joint and bone infections
  4. Macrolides: They are used to combat necrotic enteritis, which is mostly caused by overeating.
  5. Quinolones: They are broad-spectrum drugs that fight a wide range of bacteria.
  6. Streptogramins: These help to prevent cell wall formation and protein synthesis. They also help in preventing necrotic enteritis.
  7. Sulfonamides: They combat pathogens like Salmonella, E. coli, etc.

What to do if a chicken is wheezing?

Ensure you provide all the treatments or steps you take while treating chickens with sneezing issue.


Robert Blaylock

My name is Robert Blaylock, a Veterinarian doctor who practise here in the US; I and my wife precilia manages this blog