5 month old rooster wheezing and making weird noises?


In the Brooder
Jul 7, 2015
Suddenly over the last 2 days my Silkie rooster has been wheezing, sneezing and making other strange noises. Today he was opening his beak and making this loud screeching noise. He doesn't seem terribly lethargic and he's eating drinking and pooping fine. I have 5 silkies total and the other 4 seem perfectly fine. They're kept in our screen porch in a very large wooden box without the roof (we cover them at night)

which generally stays about 10-15 degrees warmer than outside. Temps are about 30-50 degrees outside in winter here. I know the pine shavings are making things a little dusty in the room so is that what's happening? Should I move them to their outside coop? I'm worried I'm doing something wrong. But their hen house is small and they can't figure out how to use the ladder to go outside so we've just been keeping them in their other house inside. I attached a picture of their inside "coop" because it's hard to explain.

What should I do for the rooster? I moved him to a warmer area and have been keeping a close eye on him.


I Love Autumn
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Jul 16, 2015
Are you covering them with a solid material, they need ventilation more than warmth, I've kept silkies and we can get -20 to -30, they all were fine. You could be having an ammonia build up because they are covered. Is he lethargic and does he improve when removed from the pen.

Lady of McCamley

Free Ranging
11 Years
Mar 19, 2011
NW Oregon
I'm not a Silkie expert, but I do know Silkies can be more delicate (although mine have never seemed to mind the weather).

I have used pine shavings extensively and not had an issue with chicks or birds, although I've not kept Silkie chicks, just adults.

I agree that it may be ammonia build up or humidity build up. Silkies, like most chickens, can handle cold, but they cannot handle damp and cold. They will need good ventilation and dry litter as bird poo has a lot of ammonia and moisture.

Make sure there is no mold growing as that can also cause respiratory issues.

I would keep the rooster a bit warmer, dryer, and watch him for Aspergillis, MG and general ventilation issues. I'd also keep good ventilation and dryness for the rest of them as well.



In the Brooder
Jul 7, 2015
Thank you for the advice. I should've been more specific, we have a styrofoam piece that we just put over about 3/4 of the top of the box only at night like a little roof so they feel protected. During the day we open the door to the outside to let in fresh air and ventilation.
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