Check Your Chicken Health - How To Tell If Your Flock Is Healthy

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 21 July 2020

If you’re worried that your chicken flock might be feeling a bit under the weather, there are a number of warning signs that will indicate if something is wrong.  Their physical features are a great alarm bell - and their visual cues are often quite obvious if something is amiss with your hen's health.

different-signs-to-tell-if-your-flock-is-sick-or-healthy The Chicken Comb

Your chicken may be sick if you spot these symptoms with their comb:

  • Limp
  • Pale
  • Discolouring (purple, blue)
Potential chicken illness:
  • Frostbite (pale discoloured comb)
  • Worms (pale and limp comb)

Chicken Eyes

Your chicken may be sick if you spot these symptoms with their eyes:

  • Cloudy eyes
  • Excess fluid in the eyes
  • Mucus around the eye area
  • Dull eyes

Potential chicken illness:

  • Cholera (swollen eyes with mucus)
  • Conjunctivitis (cloudy, watery eyes)

Body weight and Appetite

Your chicken may be sick if you spot these symptoms with their weight and appetite:

  • Overweight
  • Underweight
  • Sudden changes in eating habits

Generally, if chickens are unhealthy, you’ll notice that they will dramatically reduce their food intake, or stop eating altogether.  If you notice that they’re overweight, try reducing their treat intake.

Potential chicken illness:


Your chickens feathers should look strong, glossy and sleek. Unless they’re moulting - in which case patchy feathers is perfectly normal, and will pave the way for shiny new plumage!

  • Patchy feathers
  • Lice or mites in the feathers

Potential chicken illness:

  • Poultry lice or mites (feather loss around vent and under wings)
  • Pecking order issues (feather loss around neck and back)

Please treat this article as a basic guide and consult your vet if your chickens show symptoms. Getting professional advice is always recommended if you think your chickens may be at risk of illness or death, but you can always help prevent chicken health issues with the right tips and tools. Have a peck at our guides to chicken health and get the jump on any nasty problems your chickens might face.

From hydration to healthy diets, we all want to do an eggcellent job when caring for our feathered friends. It's crucial that you've got the right expertise you need to raise happy, healthy chooks. Did you know 67% of chicken keepers surveyed experienced a chicken health or behaviour issue in the first 12 months that they didn’t know how to handle?

But don’t worry! Our feathered friends over at Chickenpedia have created a Chicken Healthcare Course. It is a comprehensive online course that includes everything you need, including what to look for in an unhealthy chicken and how to support your egg-laying hens to optimal health. All of their courses are really well structured and filled with vital expertise, which is why I highly recommend them to all of my readers! From raising baby chicks to feeding to behavior, you’ll find valuable information that’ll give you the knowledge and confidence to successfully look after your chickens.

Check out Chickenpedia today and as a member, you will also get access to the ALL of their chicken courses!

Sources and further reading