chicken coughing?


8 Years
Sep 3, 2011
I am new to the website and hope someone can steer me in the right direction. I have 2 Australorps (roosters), 3 Rhode Island Reds (hens), 3 Brahmas (hens), 3 New Hampshire Reds (hens), and 3 Buckeyes(hens). I purchased the Australorps and New Hampshire Reds from TSC earlier in the year when they get all their chicks in. I purchased the rest from our local fair in July. I lost a hen(australorp) about 2 weeks ago. She became listless and eventually did not get up and move around. Thought maybe I heard her cough once or twice, but did not think much of it. They root around in the dirt all the time and throw it up over their feathers. Figured it was from all the dirt. I removed her from the rest and she had died by the next morning. Every thing seems fine, but I have noticed that one of my roosters is coughing??? I don't know if it is coughing or do they clear their throats if they eat something that gets caught. They all seem to be healthy and happy. They see me walking up to the coop and fight over who will meet me at the fence first. I just maybe am worrying too much. I went to TSC today and got a vitamin/electrolite powder to add to the water. The coop is cleaned often and they have fresh water in two different places. I feed them Layena Crumbles. They get snacks about everyday. Popcorn, spaghetti, oatmeal. I live in west central Ohio and we have had several hot days, but that is the norm this year. No fans on. No drafts. Window is up high. Any suggestions? Do they need wormed? If so, with what. Do I need antibiotics? I am new to this and just built them a big run off the coop. The chick-mahall is what we call it. Thanks in advance for any advice.

We also have 5 goats, 6 dogs, numerous cats, and 6 rabbits.

Hi Ediemae,

Welcome to the forum.

Sorry that you lost one of your hens, and I hope that there are experts here that could point you in the right direction.

it's good that you are paying close attention to your flock, and any unusual noise, behavior, appearance is about the only way that a chicken keeper can diagnose the problem. It soiunds like your chickens have very adequate care. I think people here will say that it is always a risk to bring a new bird home and put in with your flock. Te suggested process is to keep new birds apart from the rest in a 'quarantine' for 1-month.

Since you say you hen that died was listless and not eating, but your other chickens seem fine perhaps that hen had something that was not going to affect the rest of your flock.

Separate the rooster if you have a way to do that without stressing him. Or if any bird seems ill then take that one away from the others.

Should any other of your chickens die, call your county extension agent and see if they can arrange for a necropsy for the bird, and what you need to do. OSU should have a poultry program where you could get information.

Sometimes we worry too much about our chickens, and sometimes our worries are justified. Continue to keep a close eye on the birds.
You may want to search on this forum in the upper right corner of the page on 'coughing' and see what other discussions on the subject have said.

Here is a link to the Merck Vet manual on line. There is a place toward the bottom on the left side that says poultry.

Hopefully someone with a lot of expertise will chime in and give you more information, or pop some questions to help you either get peace of mind, or find out if there is a problem you need to deal with and exactly what steps you need to take.
Thanks for the info. I will see if others reply with any help. I am going to walk out now and spend a little time with them. They are so funny when they run to the fence and climb over each other to get to me.

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