Strokes are known to happen to many different types of animals.
In theory, any animal with a circulatory system and a brain is capable of experiencing a stroke.
Knowing the signs, preventative methods, and recovery treatment are essential for the quality and longevity of any animal.
As a chicken farmer, you may wonder if your chicken can have a stroke.
Chickens have strokes. Like other animals, chickens can recover from strokes with special treatment and care but may never bounce back to their original physical capabilities and movement. Chickens also get heatstroke as it is difficult to regulate their temperatures in excessive heat.
If you want to be prepared in the unfortunate case your chicken has a stroke, this article will help educate flock owners on the issue.
Let’s look into different causes, prevention, and treatment options for strokes in chickens.
Do Chickens Have Strokes?
Chickens do have strokes.
Many flock owners find out about a stroke after it has happened.
They will notice signs of limited mobility or poor coordination.
Sometimes these symptoms last forever, while others will improve with time and care.
Unfortunately, the affected bird may have difficulty navigating the chicken yard after a stroke.
Many chicken owners will keep affected birds inside as companions for the remainder of their life.
Strokes are caused by a blocked artery inhibiting blood flow to the brain.
For humans, preventing strokes involves eating healthy foods, exercising well, and watching cholesterol and sodium intake.
Blood pressure also plays a vital role in strokes.
Keeping our birds healthy and reducing stress in chickens will help keep them in tip-top shape.
The most common type of stroke in chickens is heatstroke.
Chickens have a naturally high core body temperature, making them well-suited for cold climates.
However, it makes them much more susceptible to severe heat stress and stroke.
Feathers make it challenging to control internal heat.
Make sure to look into less fluffy and feathered chicken breeds if you live in a scorching climate, as they are better suited to staying cool, keeping a normal body temperature, and resisting amplified heat stress.
Signs Of A Stroke In Chickens
The signs of a neurological stroke in chickens vary based on the severity of the incident.
Most commonly, you’ll notice decreased mobility and poor coordination.
Some chickens experience poor coordination after a stroke, making it difficult for them to get food in their beaks.
This may lead to weight loss in infected birds and stress in chickens as they struggle to feed and hydrate themselves.
While there is a wide range of symptoms of strokes in chickens, there is a whole other set for identifying severe heat stress.
The signs of heat stress are a bit easier to identify and allow us to take action to lower the internal heat of affected birds quickly before it becomes too severe.
Here are some common signs of severe heat stress in chickens.
It is imperative to keep an eye out for these signs of heat stress during the hot weather months so you know when your flock is having a dangerous increase in the core body temperature.
- Panting with an open beak and rapid breathing.
- Excessive fluffing out of feathers and spreading of winds in an attempt to catch a breeze in hot weather.
- Increased drinking and decreased appetite. This often results in chickens dipping below their average healthy body weight.
- Diarrhea from excessive water consumption.
- Lethargy and brooding from lack of energy during hot weather.
- Decreased egg production from dehydration. Eggs have high water content, so laying hens will stop producing to keep themselves hydrated.
More severe signs of heat stress during hot weather include disorientation, extreme weakness, and seizures.
If you start to see any signs of severe heat stress in chickens, it is vital to take action to get them back to a normal body temperature to keep them safe.
If you live in a hot area, consider getting one of the hot-weather chicken breeds we list in our article here.
Preventing Strokes In Chickens
Sometimes strokes are the results of the chicken’s genetic makeup.
There is not much to do in these cases to prevent them from occurring.
However, it helps keep your chicken healthy and happy to reduce triggers for the risk of stroke.
Here are some great ways to keep your chicken happy and healthy:
- Maintain a healthy body weight in your flock. Obesity and underweight chickens are more susceptible to many health issues, including strokes.
- Make sure they get plenty of roaming time and exercise. The exercise keeps them strong and fit. Roaming also helps to keep stress and anxiety in the flock down.
- Read the food labels on commercial chicken feed. Check the sodium, cholesterol, and fat levels. Some commercial feed is the equivalent of junk food for chickens, so make sure you find high-quality feed for your beloved flock.
- Keep them hydrated year-round. Provide tasty and healthy treats like fresh fruit and vegetables as these tend to have high water content and help keep them well-hydrated during the hot weather.
Preventing heatstroke is a little different but carries many of the same principles.
As flock owners, we are responsible for keeping our birds as healthy as possible to prevent illnesses and chicken diseases.
Here are some ways to prevent heatstroke in your flock during the hottest parts of the year.
- Provide a fan and ventilation to keep the air moving and prevent heat from building up in the coop.
- Keep the coop and chicken run in a shady area to help them stay cool.
- Make sure they always have access to fresh, clean water.
- Provide frozen treats to help reduce the temperatures of the body systems. Frozen berries and vegetables are great options. Ice cubes are also fun and cooling treats for chickens.
Treating A Chicken After A Stroke
Treating a chicken after a stroke may be difficult if the stroke is severe.
Giving a safe, cool place inside, like a mudroom or bathroom, helps them recover without competing for food, water, and sleeping space.
Your chicken may never regain full mobility or coordination after a stroke, but the symptoms may lessen over time.
Giving them time, space, and attention will help increase their chances of recovery.