chickens and covid-19

people are justifiably concerned about the recent outbreaks of human covid-19, but there is a lot of misinformation circulating on the internet. one is with regards to chickens. despite what some news outlets have reported, covid-19 did not originate in chickens and you cannot get covid-19 from chickens. there is some speculation that it originated in bats – another mammal.

covid-19 is a coronavirus. yes, chickens get coronavirus – but not all coronaviruses are the same.

the diagram below should give you an idea of what a coronavirus looks like. the projections on the outside of the envelope will determine which species the coronaviruses can attach to. covid-19 is specific to mammals, not birds. right now it is mainly human cases that are being detected, although one dog has tested positive.

diagram of the covid-19 coronavirus source:

coronaviruses are not new. many livestock and poultry diseases are caused by a coronavirus. for chickens, infectious bronchitis (ib) is caused by a coronavirus. ib is not transferred from birds to humans.

so – do not be afraid of your chickens. good biosecurity is important to keep disease of any kind from your flock. and always wash your hands with soap and water to make sure that you do not get sick with salmonella, a bacteria carried in the intestines of many animals, including chickens (and humans).

8 replies to “chickens and covid-19”

  1. could covid-19 virus br carried on the skin of hatchery chickens due to being handled by an exposed person in the hatchery? or could the virus get on the skin while being shipped?

    1. there is no research to show that – but this is a novel coronavirus so nothing is known for sure.
      the actual handling of the chicks by a person is limited.
      i think the down feathers would prevent the coronavirus from getting to the skin.

  2. my 8 month old indoor handicapped chicken passed suddenly. my only family had covid when she passed. is it possible that she caught the virus?

    1. chickens can get a coronavirus, but it is not the covid coronavirus. you can’t give it to chickens or get it from them.

    2. this same thing happened to me this week with my 5 month old chicken and i was thinking that maybe it just has not been experienced enough to confirm for sure! i don’t know, but anything is possible! just a coincidence maybe until it happens to others too?

  3. i’ve had chickens all my life. since the covid 19 outbreak i have had to deal with sick chickens of an unknown source. chickens in the same pen, some get sick & die, some get sick & recover, then some never get sick at all.. all chicken sickness i’ve had in the past if one got it they all got it if in the same coop eating & drinking from the same bowls. i can’t say for sure that this new sickness is in fact covid 19 but it has all the signs of it….

    1. i don’t know what health issue your flock has, but i assure you, chickens cannot get covid-19. the research indicates that they cannot even be experimentally infected.

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