Can Chickens Get COVID?

By Chicken Pets on
Can Chickens Get COVID?

With the COVID-19 pandemic on everyone’s mind, it’s natural for backyard chicken enthusiasts to wonder, “Can chickens get COVID?”. In this blog post, we’ll explore their susceptibility and what it means for the poultry industry.

Can Chickens Get COVID?

Chickens are not known to be susceptible to COVID-19. Current research indicates that the virus mainly affects humans and has not been shown to infect or cause illness in chickens.

A Deeper Look Into COVID-19 and Chickens

As we all know, COVID-19 is primarily a human health crisis. But it’s essential to understand how the virus may or may not impact our backyard chickens. Let’s dive into the details and learn more about the relationship between chickens and COVID-19.

Official Guidance on Chickens and COVID-19

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), there is currently no evidence that chickens can contract or spread COVID-19. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there is no known risk of the virus spreading to humans from poultry or their products.

What Does This Mean for Backyard Chicken Owners?

This means that, as of now, there is no need to worry about your chickens being carriers of the virus. However, it’s always a good idea to continue following appropriate hygiene and biosecurity practices to maintain the overall health and well-being of your flock.

General Hygiene and Biosecurity Tips for Backyard Chickens

Whether we’re in the middle of a pandemic or not, keeping your chickens healthy should always be a top priority. Here are some general tips to ensure that your flock remains happy and healthy:

  • Wash your hands before and after handling your chickens or any of their products.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect the chicken coop, nest boxes, feeders, and waterers.
  • Provide your chickens with a balanced diet, freshwater, and proper shelter.
  • Keep your flock separated from wild birds and other livestock to minimize the risk of disease transmission.
  • Monitor your flock for signs of illness, and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Managing Stress in Your Chickens

Stress can compromise a chicken’s immune system, making it more susceptible to various diseases. So, it’s crucial to keep stress levels low for your chickens. Here are some tips to minimize stress in your flock:

  • Give your chickens plenty of room to roam, forage, and dust bathe.
  • Provide a spacious and well-ventilated coop with proper roosting and nesting spaces.
  • Limit the number of disturbances your chickens experience throughout the day.
  • Implement a routine for feeding, cleaning, and interacting with your chickens, as they appreciate consistency.
  • Add some natural stress relievers to their environment, such as herbs, flowers, and soothing scents like lavender.

Monitoring the Health of Your Chickens

While we’ve established that chickens aren’t known to carry or transmit COVID-19, it’s still vital to keep a close eye on their health. By doing so, you can identify and address any potential issues before they become serious problems. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Lethargy or decreased activity
  • Loss of appetite or significant weight loss
  • Wheezing, coughing, or other respiratory issues
  • Swollen eyes or face
  • Unusual droppings or diarrhea
  • Decreased egg production or abnormalities in egg quality

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, contact your veterinarian for advice on what to do next.

Common Chicken Diseases Unrelated to COVID-19

While your chickens may not be at risk for COVID-19, they can still contract other diseases. Here are some common illnesses that backyard chickens can catch:

Marek’s Disease

Marek’s disease is a viral condition that affects a chicken’s nervous system. It can cause paralysis, weight loss, and even death. Vaccination is the best way to protect your flock from Marek’s disease.

Infectious Bronchitis

Infectious bronchitis is a respiratory disease that can lead to coughing, sneezing, and decreased egg production. It’s vital to keep your chickens’ environment clean and well-ventilated to prevent the spread of this illness.

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

Avian influenza or bird flu is a viral infection that can be deadly for chickens. Signs of bird flu include respiratory issues, swelling, and decreased egg production. Keep your flock away from wild birds and practice good biosecurity measures to protect them from avian influenza.


Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease that attacks a chicken’s intestinal tract. It can cause diarrhea, weight loss, and in severe cases, death. Maintaining a clean environment and providing proper nutrition can help prevent coccidiosis in your chickens.

Keeping Chickens Safe From Other Coronaviruses

Although chickens aren’t susceptible to COVID-19, they can contract other types of coronaviruses. One example is Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV). To protect your chickens from these diseases, follow the same general biosecurity and hygiene practices outlined earlier in this article.

Conclusion: Keeping Your Chickens Healthy and Happy

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, backyard chicken owners can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this particular virus poses no known threat to their flocks. With that in mind, it’s still crucial to support your chickens’ overall health and happiness by providing them with a clean environment, proper nutrition, and preventive care. Remember to consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your flock’s health, and as always, enjoy the many joys and benefits of raising backyard chickens!

COVID-19 and Our Pets

While we’ve established that chickens are not susceptible to COVID-19, many pet lovers may still have concerns for their other furry or feathery companions. Here’s some information on COVID-19 in relation to common household pets:

Cats and Dogs

There have been some cases of cats and dogs testing positive for COVID-19, mostly after close contact with infected humans. While it’s rare for pets to be affected by the virus, it is crucial to practice good hygiene and follow local health guidelines to protect both you and your pets.

Hamsters and Rodents

COVID-19 does not appear to pose any significant risk to hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, or rats. However, it’s always a good idea to practice good hygiene and maintain a clean environment for your pets to prevent illnesses unrelated to COVID-19.


Aside from chickens, other household pet birds, such as parrots and canaries, also do not seem to be susceptible to COVID-19. Nonetheless, it’s essential to keep their environment clean and monitor their health closely to ensure their well-being.

Other Considerations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As a responsible and caring backyard chicken owner, it’s important to stay informed about any potential health risks for you and your flock. Here are a few other things to consider while managing backyard chickens during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Supply Chain Disruptions

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to disruptions in global supply chains which can affect the availability of feed, bedding, and other necessary supplies for your chickens. Make sure to plan ahead and have an adequate stock of essential items on hand to avoid potential shortfalls.

Wearing a Mask and Social Distancing

Even though it’s unlikely for chickens to contract or spread COVID-19, it’s still a good idea to follow public health guidelines when interacting with others—especially if you’re teaching friends and neighbors about raising backyard chickens. Wear a mask and maintain appropriate social distancing whenever possible.

Coop Maintenance

During these unprecedented times, it’s also crucial to keep your chicken coop in tip-top shape. Regularly inspect the coop for signs of wear or damage and make any necessary repairs. This will help ensure your flock’s safety and comfort while also reducing the potential for disease transmission.

Sharing Eggs and Chicken Products

If you share eggs or other products from your backyard chickens with friends, family, or neighbors, make sure to follow local health guidelines and maintain proper food handling practices. This includes washing eggshells, refrigerating eggs, and using clean containers when transporting or distributing your chickens’ products.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this FAQ section, we’ll address some common questions related to backyard chickens and COVID-19. These questions and answers will provide readers with additional insights and information, helping them keep their flock healthy and happy during these challenging times.

1. Can I catch COVID-19 from my backyard chickens?

There is currently no evidence that suggests humans can catch COVID-19 from chickens. The virus primarily spreads between people through respiratory droplets.

2. Do I need to wear a mask when caring for my chickens?

Wearing a mask while caring for your chickens is not necessary, as they are not known to be susceptible to COVID-19. However, you should wear a mask and practice social distancing when interacting with other people outside of your household.

3. Can wild birds bring COVID-19 to my chickens?

There is no evidence to suggest that wild birds can transmit COVID-19 to your chickens. However, it’s still essential to keep your flock separate from wild birds to protect them from other diseases or parasites.

4. My chicken is showing respiratory signs. Does it have COVID-19?

It’s unlikely that your chicken has COVID-19, as chickens are not known to be susceptible to the virus. However, there are other diseases and conditions that can cause respiratory issues in chickens, so it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian to determine the cause and proper treatment.

5. Can I still visit friends and family with chickens during the pandemic?

It’s important to adhere to local health guidelines when it comes to social interactions outside your household, including visiting friends or family with backyard chickens. Wear a mask, practice social distancing, and follow recommended hygiene practices to protect yourself and others.

6. Will my chicken’s egg production be affected by COVID-19?

COVID-19 has not been shown to affect the egg production of chickens. However, other factors, such as stress, diet, and age, can impact egg-laying performance. Be sure to provide your flock with proper nutrition and a stress-free environment.

7. Can I share my chicken’s eggs with others during the pandemic?

Yes, you can share your chicken’s eggs with others during the pandemic. Make sure to follow local health guidelines, wash the eggshells, refrigerate the eggs, and use clean containers when transporting or distributing them.

8. How can I ensure proper biosecurity for my chickens during the pandemic?

Practice good hygiene, like washing your hands before and after interacting with your chickens. Regularly clean and disinfect their coop, waterers, and feeders. Keep your flock separated from wild birds and other animals, and provide them with a balanced diet and clean water.

9. Are there currently any vaccines for chickens against COVID-19?

No, there are no vaccines for chickens against COVID-19, as chickens are not known to be susceptible to the virus. Vaccines are primarily focused on protecting humans from COVID-19 infections.

10. Can I still buy backyard chickens during the pandemic?

Yes, you can still buy backyard chickens during the pandemic. Just make sure to follow any local health guidelines, practice good hygiene, and maintain social distancing when picking up your chickens from a breeder or store.

11. How can I protect my chickens from other coronaviruses?

To protect your chickens from other coronaviruses, such as Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV), follow the same general biosecurity and hygiene practices outlined in this article. Provide your flock with proper nutrition, a clean environment, and preventive care.

12. Are other poultry birds susceptible to COVID-19?

There is currently no evidence that suggests other types of poultry, such as ducks, turkeys, or quail, can contract or transmit COVID-19. However, it’s important to follow the same biosecurity and hygiene practices to maintain their overall health and well-being.

13. How can I stay updated on the latest information regarding chickens and COVID-19?

Stay informed by following reputable sources like the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They provide regular updates and guidelines on COVID-19 and its potential impact on animal and human health.

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