Can chickens feel changes in air pressure?


Feb 15, 2020
We brought our girls to our little beach cabin today. As we drove, I noticed that they, in their crates, were yawning and shaking their heads and making gulping motions. Five out of six did this. (That I saw).
My first thought was ‘CARBON MONOXIDE’ or something silly like that. But I realized we had reached the summit of the mountain we were driving over, and I realized that they might be feeling the pressure and trying to pop their ears.
Am I being silly, or did this really happen?
Here are my girls, all cozied up in their tractor.
Actually their ears are extremely sensitive to air pressure and sound. We have airforce jets that fly over sometimes very low along with a sonic boom. Scares the heeby geebies out of everything. Anyway, a couple of years ago I was down to one bird in the coop. A jet flew over at sonic speed and afterwards I found this hen constantly yawning and shaking her head. Continuously for a couple of weeks. I did some research on line along with talking to an avian rehab worker and found that pressure changes do in fact effect birds ear drums to the point of rupturing the drum! However they can and do heal over time. After about 15 days she stopped yawning and head shaking, I assumed she had healed. So yes, certain noises and air pressure changes will have them yawning to relieve pressure in the ear canal.

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