Chicken Vomiting Blood – Reasons & Solution

Chickens don’t vomit like humans – instead, they throw up contents from their crop, stomach, and the rest of the digestive tract. Unlike humans where involuntary muscle movements force out stomach contents as vomit, the chicken can’t remove solid contents themselves.

However, you might notice clear liquids and blood at times. If this happens, you need to consult an avian vet immediately.

The most common cause of throwing up among chickens is swallowing too much water. This condition is particularly prevalent among chicks. If the water doesn’t make its way down the gut, you’re likely to see your birds producing clear fluid from their mouths.

However, blood is a sign of a severe condition that needs professional input.

Four Reasons Why Chickens Throw Up Blood

Here are the four most common reasons why chickens vomit blood.

– Food Poisoning

It’s easy to assume that chickens are immune to food poisoning, given that they aren’t as choosy as other domestic animals when feeding. This isn’t the truth.

Your chickens are at risk of suffering from food poisoning if exposed to harmful foods. For example, feeding them with cereals affected by aflatoxin hurts their health. It affects blood parameters, damages liver, and kidney functions, and increases susceptibility to influenza and Newcastle disease.

It’s also unwise to give fatty and salty foods to your chicken. You must also avoid feeding your birds with avocado, citrus fruits, garlic, onions, raw potato, uncooked beans, and uncooked rice. These can cause lacerations in the digestive system, and result in vomiting blood.

Also, ensure that your birds have access to clean water, kept at a height where they don’t have to bend to drink it. During winter, warm the water to prevent freezing.

– Infectious Laryngotracheitis

Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT) is a viral disease that affects your chicken’s respiratory system. It’s highly contagious and spreads by contact with infected birds or indirectly by humans and contaminated surfaces.

ILT can affect a few birds or your entire flock. Its average mortality rate starts at 20 % and can get bigger, depending on how quickly you react to the first infection. Besides lethargy, these diseases predispose your birds to other respiratory conditions. You are likely to see different stages of ILT in the same flock.

Birds might develop immunity to ILT due to repeated exposure to the causative virus, and thus exhibit milder symptoms. In severe cases, the signs are similar to other viral diseases in poultry, such as avian flu, infectious bronchitis, and Newcastle disease.

The symptoms of clinical ILT include poor feeding, sneezing, swelling on the face and eyelids, coughing, and throwing up blood. If you notice these signs, quarantine the affected birds and call your vet immediately.

If you want to prevent ILT, maintain proper hygiene on your poultry farm. Also, keep away strange birds and test every new chicken you purchase before it interacts with your flock. It’s also useful to vaccinate your chicken.

Like most viral infections, ILT doesn’t have a cure. If your birds develop the disease, provide nutrient-rich food and plenty of clean water. Ensure that their home is well ventilated to quicken recovery. Your vet might also prescribe antibiotics to prevent and fight secondary bacterial infections.

– Swallowed Sharp Object

Swallowing sharp objects, also known as hardware disease, is a collective term for the complications resulting from chicken ingesting nails, pins, screws, nuts, etc. Experts call it traumatic ventriculitis.

When chicken ingests sharp objects, they damage the gizzard and cause severe inflammation of its lining. Your bird develops sepsis, a condition where its body inflames its tissues in response to a perceived blood infection. Sepsis causes severe bleeding and results in death.

Unless you’re willing to perform surgery on your chicken, there’s no solution to swallowing sharp objects. However, you can reduce the risk by using a magnetic sweeper to collect metals in your chicken coop. Also, avoid burning wood and other materials that might contain nails, screws, and other pointed metals.

– Coccidiosis

Protozoa cause coccidiosis, a disease that primarily affects the intestines and lacerated the gut lining. If it persists, it causes significant weight loss, diarrhoea, and blood in droppings and vomit. Eventually, it kills your chicken.

Research shows that Eimeria genera coccidia are host-specific, meaning that they affect different parts of the intestines in each infected bird. It’s why some birds, especially those with previous exposure to the pathogen, exhibit mild symptoms.

However, chickens that have developed immunity against Eimeria genera can still get coccidiosis. This happens when other diseases weaken their immunity or the pathogen mutates. Other causes include alterations in food rations and weather, overcrowding, poor hygiene, and transportation.

Indirect infection occurs when chickens feed on contaminated food or drink infected water. Contaminated foods and water usually contain sporulated oocysts, which can live on the surface for up to 18 months under warm and moist conditions.

The best way of combating coccidiosis is by observing proper hygiene on your poultry farm. While it’s impossible to keep off coccidia, you’ll regulate their numbers and allow your birds to develop natural immunity against the protozoa. Also, ensure that you sweep all the food scraps.

What to Do If Your Chicken is Throwing Up Blood?

As mentioned above, it’s wise to call a vet whenever your chicken throws up blood. Presuming that your birds are suffering from a particular disease by looking at the symptoms often results in a wrong diagnosis since some conditions have similar signs. You might worsen the situation by giving the wrong medicine.

On the other hand, calling an avian vet is a safe bet because they have the right equipment for testing your birds. A proper diagnosis increases the chances of survival, saving you from incurring potential losses.


All said the best way to take care of your chicken is by keeping their food and habitat clean. Ensure that they don’t interact with strange birds. More importantly, adhere to the recommended vaccination schedule.

Observing these simple steps reduces the risk of spreading contagious diseases. And even if your chicken gets infected, they are more likely to survive because they have a dependable immune system.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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