how to know if chicken has bird flu

Chickens can have the flu (avian influenza) and you don’t even know it. Until it’s too late. Chickens with a low path virus may not have many symptoms. If a high path virus is involved, you may find all your birds suddenly are dead one morning.

Your best defense is to check your birds every day. Note any changes in appearance, behavior, and eating/drinking habits. Some of the signs for avian influenza include eating less, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, reduce egg production, lack of energy, swelling around the face, purple discoloration around the face, lack of coordination, diarrhea, muscle tremors, drooping wings, twisting of the head and neck, and inability to move. If your flock is infected with bird flu you may see one or more of these signs.

Sometimes a blood test is required to determine if the flock has been infected. Large poultry companies blood test a lot, especially their breeder flocks.

Signs of bird flu are also indications of other diseases. If your chicken sneezes it does not necessarily mean they have bird flu. It is best to check with your local veterinarian.

Signs And Symptoms Of Avian Flu In Your Chickens

Pathogenic avian influenza viruses can show many warning signs, but the majority appear suddenly and spread swiftly. The respiratory (gasping) and digestive (diarrhea) symptoms of HPAI in chickens are frequently followed by a swift demise. Swelling around the head, neck, and eyes are among the less common indications and symptoms that your flock may experience.

Common bird flu symptoms in chickens include:

  • Trouble breathing, sneezing, gasping or coughing
  • Purple discoloration / cyanosis of the wattles, combs, and legs
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased egg production
  • Soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
  • nervous signs, tremors or lack of coordination
  • Swelling around the head, neck and eyes
  • Lack of energy and appetite
  • Ruffled feathers
  • Sudden death

Any one of these signs could be a sign that the poultry you own is infected. Keep in mind that HPAI can kill chickens quickly, and that high death rates and sudden HPAI onset are frequent occurrences. The illness may go unnoticed by you, and infected chickens may pass away in a day.

It’s critical to take action to safeguard your birds if a sudden decline in health or death occurs in any part of your flock.

How Your Chickens Can Get Sick

Bird flu is spread in two ways:

If humans have recently come into contact with an infected bird, they may be able to infect chickens with bird flu. It’s advisable to restrict who visits your birds at home during the current bird flu outbreak. If you need someone to look after your flock, make sure they wear clean clothes and shoes and wash their hands.

Avian influenza can infect wild migratory birds, like geese and ducks, and spread rapidly to your flocks. Influenza viruses are common among wild aquatic birds. Even though they are infected, they may be carriers of the fatal virus and not exhibit any symptoms.

Your hens may be susceptible to bird flu if they are in close proximity to infected birds because the virus does not require physical contact to spread.

For instance, your flock may get infected without coming into contact with the infected wild geese if they share the same pond as your chickens.

Make sure that your hens aren’t near ducks, geese, turkeys, or other birds in the same pond or outdoor space.

What Do You Do If You Suspect A Bird Is Sick?

  • Have flocks tested
  • Remove flocks that exhibit symptoms of infection for a minimum of thirty days.
  • Report bird flu symptoms in poultry to the USDA immediately

The CDC warns that, while the current public health threat to people from H5N1 virus is low, people should avoid direct and close contact with sick or dead wild birds, poultry and wild animals.


Can chickens survive bird flu?

Avian influenza, or “bird flu,” is a respiratory disease of birds caused by influenza A viruses. Wild birds, such as ducks, gulls, and shorebirds, can carry and spread these viruses but may show no signs of illness. However, avian influenza can kill domestic poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese).

Can you eat chicken that had bird flu?

Avian flu is not a foodborne illness, which means you cannot contract it from eating poultry that has been cooked properly. And in the event a flock does test positive, it will not enter the food chain. But as always, you should follow proper handling and cooking when preparing raw chicken.

What should you do if you suspect bird flu in chickens?

Report avian influenza immediately Immediately report suspected cases of HPAI in any bird, or of H5 or H7 LPAI in poultry, to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the applicable state animal health official(s).

What does a bird with bird flu act like?

What are the signs of illness of birds infected with avian influenza? – LPAI signs are typically mild. Infected birds show signs of decreased food consumption, respiratory signs (coughing and sneezing) and decreased egg production.