Can Chickens get Rabies?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by DancesWithWolves, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. DancesWithWolves

    DancesWithWolves Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    My chickens have been coming down with a strange disease I have no clue what it is...... the symptoms include:


    .Head Bobbing

    .Paralysis of wings or legs

    .Floppy Combs

    .Loss of Balnce

    .Ruffled Feathers around Neck

    .Crooked Necks

    .No fear of humans....

    I think thats it... I was wondering if chickens could get rabies.. I don't recall them ever getting bitten but you never know.
  2. Turtle

    Turtle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2009
    to my understanding only mammals can get rabies, I would look through the disease section on BYC to see if you find something else it might be
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Nope, only mammals get rabies, not avian species. Could be mareks or other diseases, but you won't know for certain unless you have a poultry lab in your state necropsy one of the birds.
  4. Pine Grove

    Pine Grove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2007
    Lakeland, Ga
    Hello Cynthia, Everything going good for you I hope.. I don't know how reliable this is..
    Birds can be infected with rabies. (B102.29.w2, B416.44.w44, J1.12.w8, J1.12.w9, J1.24.w7)
    A variety of birds have been infected with rabies experimentally, sometimes with development of nervous signs, often without development of clinical signs, or with recovery from clinical signs. However, "very little definite proof of the occurrence of spontaneous rabies in fowl can be found in published reports." There is a report of a patient injured by a rabid hen. (B102.29.w2)
    Transmission to the domestic chicken by a naturalistic route (having a rabid dog bite the chicken on its comb) has been carried out successfully. (B102.29.w2)
    Rabies has been reported occasionally in birds, including domestic chickens. (B416.44.w44)
    In one study, low levels of antibodies to rabies virus were detected by the passive haemagglutination test in birds of prey (both owls and diurnal raptors) and some other species (starlings, crows and ravens). (J1.12.w9)
    A Bubo virginianus - Great horned owl was successfully infected with rabies by feeding it with the head and then the rest of the carcass of an experimentally-infected spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius) (Mustelidae - Weasels (Family)). (J1.12.w8)
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Wow, I have never heard that, William! I have always heard that avians cannot contract rabies. Well, maybe my information is outdated, then. Learn something new all the time. I'd think that it would be relatively rare, though, right? Hmm.
  6. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    Rabies would be veeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyy unlikely, especially in more than one bird. It is much more common in animals that hunt/fight because they get exposed to blood and saliva of infected animals. And even in those types of animals, it is very very rare. If you lose any I would send to the state lab for necropsy.
  7. DancesWithWolves

    DancesWithWolves Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    I have lost 4 so far........ hen they die we burn the bodies and if they go more than 2 days with symptoms we kill them. I think sending them to the lab would be a good idea.
  8. Afrochicken

    Afrochicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2010
    Toms River, NJ
    wierd.... [​IMG] theres another topic with chickens foaming and acting crazy. and yes i agree to send the bodies to a lab
  9. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    Quote:I read an article on it awhile back (sorry no link, it was saved on the puter that crashed) and you're correct. It's very rare for avians of any kind to get rabies. This study concentrated on why raptors, vultures etc. could feed on infected animals without apparent harm. As I recall they were able to infect a few birds in the study with rabies under labratory conditions, but it was very difficult and even then all but one (I think) of the infected birds recovered from the infection. The conclusion was that why it's not impossible for a bird that is bitten by a rabid animal or one that feeds off the carcass of a rabid animal to be infected it is VERY unlikely to happen and certainly an entire flock would not become infected.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  10. Peckar

    Peckar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2013
    My chickens mouth is foaming slightly and he breaths weird

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