Some chickens do snore, yes. It can sound like anything from a mild wheeze to full-blown heavy breathing. It can indicate a respiratory issue, but it’s also perfectly normal for some chickens to make snoring noises.
Do Chickens Really Snore?
Believe it or not, this is actually quite a contentious topic.
I’ve read comments from people who seem to be well-credentialed in poultry saying that it’s not possible for chickens to snore.
They state that physiologically, chickens are just not able to snore. Therefore, any snoring types of noises are more likely to mean they have some kind of respiratory issue or breathing difficulty.
This is interesting. Yet, I’ve also read accounts, seen YouTube videos (see below), and spoke with loads of backyard chicken owners that say their chickens snore - and they’re not sick in any way.
Here are a couple of videos of chickens snoring - at least making noises that sound like they’re snoring;
What do you think? Snoring, or making noises while sleeping?
Related - Chicken breathing with mouth open? Read this post for more.
Chickens Can Make a Lot of Different Sounds
Something I will add is that chickens use a lot of different sounds to communicate with each other.
To someone who has not kept chickens, or to the untrained ear it may sound like chickens just “cluck” and “bawk” at each other.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. There have been numerous studies into the noises chickens make and how they communicate with each other, and us.
It’s estimated that they make anywhere between 24-30 unique noises.
So, to hear one making snoring noises could easily be passed off as a chicken making trilling or purring noises. Both of which they do when they’re happy and content, as they would be sleeping or relaxing.
Related - A look at noises and sounds chickens make.
Does It Mean Your Chicken Has a Respiratory Issue?
I don’t think a snoring chook means they have a respiratory issue. Like I explained, they can just be making noises.
If you’re spotting some other symptoms, such as labored breathing, sneezing, wheezing, discharge, and so on there’s cause for concern.
If you have any concerns at all, it doesn’t hurt to take a close look at your chick or have them checked out by an avian vet.
Some respiratory issues that can cause snoring-type noises include:
Gapeworm - This is one of the most troublesome parasites that can infect and flock and do some serious damage. These worms live in a chicken’s trachea, often causing them to gasp for air.
Mycoplasma - Most chickens come into contact with this organism at some point. It’s not always a serious health issue but can cause breathing difficulties.
Infectious Bronchitis - Often accompanied with either a drop in egg production or eggs with soft and misshaped shells. Infectious Bronchitis can also cause wheezing, sneezing, and nasal type breathing.
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) - Blue flu can cause respiratory distress, such as a rattling noise, coughing, wheezing, and so on.
Fowl Pox - The wet pox form of this disease is more associated with respiratory issues. A chicken will have excess mucous, like a runny nose, and labored breathing among other symptoms.
Related - Can chickens get COVID-19?
In Summary - Do Chickens Snore or Is It Respiratory Issues?
There is no doubting the various videos and accounts from chicken owners that they’ve heard their chickens snoring.
Or at least making noises that sound like snoring while they’re sleeping.
Personally, I don’t think it always means a chicken has some sort of breathing issue causing the noise.
There are too many people saying they can hear a chorus of snoring noises coming from their coop at night for snoring noises to be linked to compromised breathing.
The jury is still out on whether or not it’s “snoring” however. There just isn’t enough scientific evidence to convince me at this point. (At least not that I was able to dig up).
Respiratory Disease in Chickens - EvolutionFarmVets.co.uk