Throat on Cockerel puffs out like a bullfrog


12 Years
Jul 9, 2011
Mechanicsville, MD
Has anyone ever had a chicken that looked like a bullfrog when it breathed while roosting?
I haven't had any abnormal symptoms with anyone, and the cockerel that is doing this seems all around fine. I just don't know why, when he breaths while roosting, his neck blows out a little. If he turns his head to tuck it in his wing, his neck puffs out like a small balloon is in there blowing up and then getting and out ????? The little space of skin next to his nostrils puff up a little too. He doesn't have any noise when I listen to him breath, and he doesn't seem to be in distress. His comb is bright red, and he acts completely fine.

Good thought and good question! ?? I have never seen this before, but I am not very experienced with chickens either. None of the others do this.

Have you seen this before?
Some birds have larger air sacs than others. Thinner birds tend to have air sacs that look more prominent than a heftier bird. Cockerels are more streamlined than pullets/hens, so when they stoop in certain ways the air sacs can be seen more clearly. As long as you are not seeing air bubbles under the skin and he has no respiratory symptoms then I would guess he is going to be OK.

Good luck with him. Let us know if he starts showing any signs of respiratory distress.
Fascinating to see a thread on this. I have a 4.5 year old barred rock hen whose neck puffs out when she breathes, as does the little space of skin next to the nostrils, just like the OP described. This has been going on for about 2 years, and the hen is otherwise healthy. In fact, she has been one of my best layers ever, even in her advancing age.

However, she is currently going through a very heavy molt, and the breathing symptoms appear worse. And, yesterday she started showing mild neurologic symptoms of sideways walking. I found another thread where people report emergence of sideways/drunken walking during a heavy molt.

I would love to hear from the OP to see if her bird is still breathing this way, and if he still seems to be in good health otherwise. Would also love to hear from anyone else who has seen these symptoms, or who has any thoughts on this. I kind of think my hen has some sort of mild respiratory/neurologic illness, which generally doesn't bother her, until the stress of molting unveils symptoms.

I have had mild respiratory and neurlogic symptoms show up in my birds before. Very low death rate, though. Could it be endemic newcastle disease??
Hello :)

My boy has never had any other symptoms. I did treat him and all others with an oxine spray as a precaution, but he is just fine and VERY fertile. I have not seen any respiratory issues from any of the flock. Now that he is bigger, the "bull frog" appearance is not as pronounced. His offspring is great, and none of them have had any signs of his breathing likeness.

I am not certain what to say about your hen. My cockerel isn't a year old yet and has not had a heavy molt yet. I hope she recovers quickly!

I never heard from anyone else about this question, so I never got a conclusion and have felt like his was just a breathing anomaly :) It would be interesting to see if others respond.
Thank you for responding! Glad to hear yours has done well! Yeah, I found nothing about this symptom other than your thread here. Maybe it is not a contagious problem in my bird either. Like I said, it has been going on for quite a long time (though worse now), and this bird has been very healthy in general until the current molt. Even now she is eating and drinking well, foraging, harassing younger birds, etc. I hope it's nothing....

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