Chicken Discharge Questions

Unusual chicken discharges can come from the nares, mouth, vent, eyes, and wounds. Infections of respiratory system, digestive system, and other areas in or on the body can cause chicken discharges. Color and consistency may vary, but all indicate cause for concern.

Antibiotics are effective against most infections and broad spectrum antibiotics may cure most. Any discharges not cured by a broad spectrum antibiotic, may need a stronger more specific antibiotic, which would have to be tested by a veterinarian and diagnosed. 

Often veterinary care may be out of reach financially for the small flock keeper, or there is just no avian or poultry vet near. 

When you notice an unusual chicken discharge and you’re not sure why, a good vet is an important tool for large or small flock keepers working to avoid costly losses. Some diseases are capable of wiping out entire flocks, spreading to wildlife & neighbor’s chickens and other poultry. 

Some diseases will infect all, making all chickens exposed carriers, even with no signs of disease. You shouldn’t sell them or transport them, or bring in new chickens. Sometimes all must be destroyed to prevent the spread of the disease. 

Some diseases are incurable and can remain in the environment. Time can render some diseases harmless and replacing the flock with vaccinated stock should be considered when such diseases have been present.

A chicken discharge like: blood and body fluids may contain viruses or disease and further the spread, so isolating chickens with unusual discharges is always the safest thing to do.

Any chickens in the flock displaying symptoms should be removed and isolated. Coops, including all floor litter and nesting materials should be removed and disposed of, probably burned.

Chlorine bleach is an inexpensive and effective way to disinfect all surfaces, but some diseases can live in the soil. Creating a quarantine area away from the main flock or flocks is a smart way to make sure new chickens brought in don’t bring disease or parasites with them.

Walls, roosts, nests and floors, anywhere unusual chicken discharge could be, should be sterilized with the bleach solution and well aired before allowing chickens to enter.

There are diseases that must be passed from one bird to another bird by intermediate hosts, such as mosquitoes. Sometimes an isolated chicken is still capable of spreading disease in this manner.

There are many good reasons that euthanasia of sick chickens has been standard operating procedure in the chicken farming industry. The cost of treatments and losses can far outweigh the value of individual chickens.

On the other hand, some of us would do anything for our chickens and willingly do what we can, even in the face of deadly diseases. There may be rewards, but you should be aware that it’s risky.

Sometimes a chicken discharge is the sign of something a little first aid will cure. But often by the time we realize a chicken is ill, they have been trying to hide it for some time. Helping any sick chicken is important, but protecting the others is equally or more important.

Common discharges are mucous from the mouth, nares and eyes, bubbles from eyes, diarrhea, puss or bloody fluids from wounds. A chicken with an impacted crop may spit up watery discharge; their hardened crop contents blocking water from passing through.

A hen with laying problems may have a broken egg she is trying to pass, which can cause bleeding with yolk and albumen passing. A hen with a prolapsed oviduct (internal parts pushed outside her vent) may be pecked at by other chickens, further injuring her, causing bleeding and infected material to discharge from her vent. Hopefully you are reading this for educational purposes and haven’t found signs of chicken discharge in your flock. Know that locating a good avian/poultry veterinarian in your area before you notice a problem can save much time and the lives and health of your chickens. If you have a question you would like answered click here or type your question below.

Chicken Discharge Questions


Chicken with nose discharge

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Question I have 2 Golden Comets, they started laying eggs 1 month ago at the same time noticed a slight clear discharge from nose. They are active …

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