Chicken Keeps Twitching Her Head

One of the things that we tend to overlook in chickens is their habit of twitching their head.

Pretty sure you have already encountered these birds doing this every time.

However, have you ever wondered why chickens twitch their heads almost all the time?

Find out the reasons why! 

In reality, chickens twitch their heads to break up large food, to water up their nose, and if there is food stuck in their throat.

Some owners do not particularly make this behavior a big deal, unless it becomes a continuous and gets worse

If your chicken keeps twitching their head in a worrying manner, there might be a sign of infection and irritation in their head.

It might also be a symptom of a respiratory disease caused by a gapeworm. 

Why Does My Chicken Keep Twitching Her Head? (4 Possible Reasons)

Chickens twitch their head for various possible reasons.

Some may be just normal, while others can be pretty concerning for their health.

It is important to know the behavior of your chickens, so you can immediately know if something is wrong.

That way you can take quick action and get your chicken checked up at the vets

Here are some of the reasons why chickens twitch their heads all the time.

1. They twitch and shake their head to break up large food 

Chickens only have a pretty small mouth for their body.

Once they have caught or got a large food, they would twitch and jerk their heads to break it into consumable pieces. 

They can even try to run with the food and hit it on the ground just to break it into pieces.

There is no reason to worry if you see your chicken working hard to eat a food. 

2. They twitch their head to dislodge food in their throat

If your chicken swallowed a large food, chances of getting it stuck in their throat is high.

To resolve this problem, they would normally twitch and shake their head to dislodge it.

It may be pretty worrying if they failed to dislodge it properly, so it is best to always feed them food in consumable pieces.

Talking about feeding chickens have a look at some articles about what chickens can eat

3. They may be trying to water up their nose 

Chicken’s nose is located in their beak, so it is likely that water may have got into their nose when drinking.

They would twitch, shake, and jerk their heads until they can finally get rid of the discomfort. 

4. Infections and Respiratory Diseases

Now, the worrying part of their twitching behavior is when it becomes a symptom or a sign of discomfort.

Chickens will uncontrollably twitch their heads accompanied by scratches when they are showing signs of irritation. 

This irritation might be from infections of ear mites or other parasites.

They will also repeatedly twitch and shake their heads in an attempt to gasp more air.

This is often the case when they are suffering from a respiratory disease, particularly from gapeworm. 

Related article – Chicken keeps shaking her head

How To Stop Your Chicken From Twitching Their Head? 

Head twitching can be resolved on their own, without doing anything.

Most of the time, chickens twitch their heads because of non-serious reasons or situations.

Stuck food in their throat and watered up nose will eventually be fixed in no time.

It is better to treat their twitching behavior as a normal chicken action.

However, this will only be possible if the underlying reason for their head twitching is not concerning. 

If you suspect that your chicken is suffering from respiratory diseases like gapeworm, or they have been infected with ear mites, then seek a veterinarian’s help.

What Are The Symptoms Of Gapeworm In Chickens?

Gapeworm is a parasitic infection in a chicken’s respiratory system.

This is a type of parasitic infection that needs to be treated immediately, or it will become a life-threatening situation for your fowls. 

Gapeworms can become numerous to the extent that it will block your chicken’s airflow.

After all, gapeworms are thin, red worms that live in the trachea, bronchi, or even in the lungs of the birds. 

It is best to know the symptoms of this infection, so your chicken will get the necessary treatments it needs. 

For your information, the symptoms of gapeworm include gaping or head shaking in an attempt to dislodge the worms, coughing, open-mouthed breathing, gasping for breath, and wheezing. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Marek’s Disease In Chickens?

One of the most common, yet also highly contagious diseases among chickens is Marek’s Disease.

This is sometimes referred to as Fowl Paralysis as well.

Sadly, this disease can not only be easily transmitted from flock to flock, but it also doesn’t have any cure or treatment.

Meaning to say, once a chicken has been infected of Marek’s disease, it will forever carry it until death.

This disease will eventually cause chickens to be paralyzed, unable to stand, and some may also become blind. 

They can also occur as tumors in the internal organs of the chickens, significantly impacting day-to-day living and other natural occurrences like reproduction. 

Symptoms of Marek’s disease include paralysis of legs, wings, and neck; loss of weight, irregular pupils, vision impairment, and roughened skin around feather follicles.

Chickens with this disease may also show signs of depression, loss of appetite, dehydration, and sometimes diarrhea. 

Wrapping Up

Head twitching may either be a common chicken behavior or a symptom of something more serious.

Typically, chickens will twitch and shake their head to dislodge food in their throat, break larger food, or to water up their nose. 

However, head twitching may also be a sign of infection and respiratory diseases.

It is best to always keep an eye on your chickens’ health, so you can know if they need immediate treatment or a consultation from a veterinarian. 


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