Can Chickens Choke On Food?

Chickens are omnivores, meaning they will eat just about anything, including other animals as well as other birds. They are able to properly digest their food because of their special digestive system, which consists of a cornfield, proventriculus, gizzard, & intestines. Chickens, like any other creature, are susceptible to eating-related issues, such as choking. In this post, we will discuss whether or not chickens may choke on food, as well as the signs and treatments for choking in this species. 

When does a Chicken Choke? 

Medical professionals consider choking to be an emergency situation when anything, usually food, closes the airway & prevents oxygen from reaching the lungs. Choking is a universal problem that can affect humans, animals, and even birds. Having restricted or obstructed airways due to a tumor or infection, not chewing food properly, swallowing too quickly, or ingesting huge bits of food are all potential causes. 

Can Chickens choke on Food?

Chickens can experience choking if they consume too quickly or if they swallow a chunk of food that is too big to fit down their windpipe. Chickens, in contrast to humans, have a single organ called the pharynx which connects the oral cavity to the respiratory system. This implies that something as simple as food stuck in the throat might block the airway & lead to choking. 

How Common is choking in hens, and what are the warning Signs? 

Choking in chickens can be caused by a number of different things, but some of the more prevalent ones are: 

Eating rapidly: 

When famished or pressed for time, hens may gulp down their meals whole, skipping the gizzard’s necessary grinding process. 

Consuming unhealthy foods: 

Chickens are naturally inquisitive birds that like to poke and prod at everything from pebbles and dirt to toys and their very own feathers. Non-food things can cause choking or other gastrointestinal issues if ingested. 

Having a hidden medical issue: 

Choking and other breathing problems are more likely to occur in chickens who have a deviated trachea, swollen crop, or respiratory illness. 

Can Chickens Choke On Food

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Chickens can show signs of Choking like: 

  • Mouth wide open, as in gasping for air 
  • Audible wheezing or rasping 
  • Nausea and/or vomiting 
  • Gusts of salivation or frothing at the mouth 
  • Problems with eating and drinking 
  • fatigue, drowsiness, or incoherence 
  • Choking can cause serious respiratory difficulty, brain damage, or even death if not addressed immediately. 

How to Save a Choking Chicken?

If you see that the chicken appears to be choking, take urgent steps to free their airway. The procedure is as follows: 

If the chicken’s beak is blocked, you can try opening it to check whether the obstacle can be seen. If the foreign object is within easy reach, you may try to pick it up and pull it out carefully. Take care not to hurt the chicken’s throat by forcing the thing further into its pharynx. 

A Heimlich technique can be performed on the chicken if you are unable to see or grasp the object. You can try to dislodge the object by placing the hand underneath the chicken’s chest & pressing upward firmly but gently. Flip the chicken over and give it a light shake to see whether the thing falls out. 

If the choking doesn’t stop or if the chicken goes unconscious, you must take it to the vet right away. The veterinarian may require the usage of ancillary tools Choking in hens can be avoided with minimal effort and just a few basic precautions. 

How to save your chicks from harm by following these procedures

  • Choose the Proper Food Source 

Choking can be avoided by selecting an appropriate meal. Always provide your birds with food that is suitable for their age and size. Chicks & young birds should not be fed large pellets since they can become stuck in their throats. Choose smaller, crushed feed instead. 

  • Put Holes in Your Feeder 

If you use a feeder with small openings, your birds won’t be able to get any one piece of food stuck in their throats. They’ll have to pick up less food at once and chew it more carefully because of the holes’ reduced diameter. 

  • Don’t Overcrowd the Feeder

If there are too many birds at the feeder, they may feel stressed and consume too quickly. If they swallow large pieces of food without chewing them correctly, they risk choking. Make sure every bird has plenty of room to spread out and feed. 

  • Supply Potable Water 

Pure water aids in digestion & can even be used to save someone from choking. Always have clean water available, and disinfect water dispensers on a regular basis to avoid the spread of bacteria. 

  • Keep an Eye on the chickens 

Make sure your birds aren’t choking on their food by keeping a close eye on them as they eat. If you see a bird having trouble swallowing, give it a light massage around the neck to see if that helps. It may be necessary to intervene & remove the obstruction manually if the bird continues to struggle. 


Choking is a common & possibly fatal problem for chickens, but it may be avoided with a little TLC. To keep your birds healthy and secure, choose a feeder with tiny holes, give them plenty of room to spread out while they eat, offer them clean water, & keep an eye on them as they eat. Do something fast if you detect a bird coughing, and get it to a vet if it needs it.

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