Chicken Breathing With Open Mouth

One can often measure their chicken’s needs from afar just by noticing how they breathe. Chickens, like any other land animal, usually breathe through their nostrils.

A healthy chicken may breathe with its mouth open on a hot day. This helps them to cool themselves. However, stress or respiratory issues can also make a chicken breathe with an open mouth.

A chicken that breathes with an open mouth which is accompanied by a loud noise from the respiratory channel is definitely not okay. If your chicken is breathing with an open mouth that is accompanied by respiratory noise, then the chicken is probably ill.

Causes of chicken breathing with an open mouth

There are other open-mouth breathing occurrences that might vary with the circumstances and environment. Possible causes of chickens breathing with their mouths open include stress from overheating, yard contamination, and virus infections.

1. Stress and overheating

Chickens breathe rapidly through their mouths to cool themselves if their body temperature is high. They may also hold their wings away from their bodies and lie flat on the ground.

Chickens may also breathe through their mouth if they are stressed. Stress causes include predators like rats in a coop, wild cats, dogs, loud bangs, or even improper handling. This painting continues for a short while until they become less frightened.

2. Yard contamination

Inhaling contaminated items while chickens are foraging can also make chickens open their beaks as they breathe. Chicken use their feet to scratch and disperse soil and vegetative matter in search of food items. In this process, they may inhale or eat contaminated material.

The contaminated material may have infectious substances like bacteria or mold. They may also contain poisons like fungal and bacterial toxins, heavy metal from screws, wires, nails, or chemicals.

Composting hays, kitchen refuse, leaf litter, and garden fertilizers are very hazardous to chickens. The likelihood of contamination increases with warm wet weather. Warm wet weather increases the rate of decomposition and the growth of micro-organisms.

These organisms can contaminate the chicken’s throat, resulting in open-mouth breathing. Staphylococcus is an organism that is a common cause of moist cough and open-mouth breathing. Contaminated composting hays are the most common cause of this kind of infection

Aspergillosis infections also make chickens breathe with their mouths open. Contaminated straw or composting hays used as bedding material may cause this infection. The infection is also associated with mouth and throat ulceration, resulting in a chicken breathing while its mouth is open.

3. Viral infections.

Some viral infections may cause open-mouth breathing in chickens. These viral diseases are laryngotracheitis and infectious bronchitis.


This viral disease is associated with open mouth breathing, neck stretching, and gasping for air. The chicken has a sudden moist cough while gasping for air.

Infectious bronchitis.

Infectious bronchitis is usually found in baby chicks, resulting in open-mouth breathing. The symptoms include coughing, gasping for air, sneezing, nasal discharge, and rattle problems. Older birds may display increased thirst and egg laying problems.

Chicken panting with mouth open

Gapeworms are a common cause of this kind of phenomenon in chickens. Gapeworms are small parasitic red worms that infect the tracheas of chickens. They cause wheezing, panting, and gasping for air.  

The first sign of a gapeworm attack is typically seeing the chicken walking with its beak open. They also extend their necks to relieve some of the pain and draw in more air.

To deal with gapeworms, visit the vet so that they can prescribe treatment like flubenol or aviverm. This treatment is added to the birds drinking water to help kill the worms.

Chicken breathing with mouth open and sneezing

You should suspect a respiratory disease when a chicken breathes with an open mouth while sneezing. The chicken respiratory illness tends to develop slowly, so catching the infection early may be key to a good recovery.

Signs of respiratory illness include:

  1. Sneezing
  2. Coughing
  3. Wheezing and labored panting
  4. Decrease appetite
  5. Breathing with mouth open
  6. Reduced egg production
  7. Decreased appetite

Chicken breathing with mouth open at night

Chickens may breathe with their mouth open at night. This is caused by a lot of heat within the coop. The chickens will open their mouths to cool themselves off during the night.

Breathing with the mouth open at night is not a huge cause of concern. However, you should ensure to keep the coop temperature at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The coop should never e too hot for them.

Chicken closed eyes with open mouth

This phenomenon in chicken is probably a result of the infectious coryza. It is an acute respiratory disease caused by a bacterium called avibacterium paragallinarum. The signs of infection include decreased activity, sneezing, closed or swollen eyes, and mouth opening.

Birds recover well when they receive early treatment by the use of antibiotics. The disease can be prevented by practices such as vaccination.

Chicken opening mouth and stretching its neck

Gapeworms are a common cause of this kind of phenomenon in chickens. After infection, e chicken will sow sins of wheezing, panting, and gasping for air.  

The first sign of a gapeworm attack is typically seeing the chicken walking with its beak open. They also extend their necks to relieve some of the pain and draw in more air.

Treatment like flubenol or aviverm can still ep in containing gapeworms. This treatment is added to the birds drinking water to help kill the worms.

Baby chick breathing with mouth open

Baby chicks opening their mouth while breathing may result from blockage, obstruction, or a lot of heat in the brooder.

Maintaining the right temperature is key to ensuring that the baby chicks do not suffer from overheating. You should also keep them confined for some time until they are old enough. This will prevent them from having particles lodged in their throats.

What should you do when a chicken is breathing with the mouth open?

Treatment may sometimes be unsuccessful when the cause is a viral infection or delayed treatment. However, most chickens can pant and breathe with their mouths open when they are stressed or after a rough physical activity like running. In this case, let them relax until their normal breathing pattern resumes.

Here is what to do when your chicken is breathing with an open mouth:

1. Check for gapeworms and administer the right treatment

A chicken with an open mouth and stretching the neck is a sign of a gapeworm attack. To deal with gapeworms, it is important to go to the vet so that you can get a prescription for medicine such as flubenol and aviverm.

This treatment is added to the birds drinking water to help kill the worms.

2. Vaccination

It is very vital to vaccinate your birds against diseases like infectious bronchitis. Viral diseases such as infectious bronchitis are responsible for chickens breathing with their mouth open. Ensuring the chicken are vaccinated early reduces the risks of infection. Vaccination is administered to day-old chicks and then at intervals to ensure continuous protection.

Vaccines such as 793B are widely used in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world.

3. Maintaining a good temperature in the coop

As stated earlier, an extreme temperature is a major reason why chicken breathes through their mouth. It is vital for one to maintain an optimum temperature within the coop to make the chicken comfortable.

Ensure the coop has good airflow and ventilation to avoid overheating during hot weather. You can also add a vented ceiling and a small fan to keep the air circulating within the coop. This will help keep the chickens cool. You should always provide plenty of fresh, clean water.

A temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit is optimum for chicken.

4. Keep the coop secure

Chickens may breathe through their mouth because wild animals and predators like eagles may scare the chicken. It is therefore paramount to keep the coop secure by installing a fence that will prevent any entry of wild animals and predators.

You should also check the coop for loopholes that wild animals may use to enter the coop and ensure that they are blocked. Note: severe ILT can make chickens breathe with their mouths open, which should never be ignored. Therefore, persistent open-mouth breathing should be checked before the underlying cause escalates.