Chicken Foaming At The Mouth, (3 Reasons Why +What To Do)

Chickens, just like any other animal, can get sick.

There are a variety of avian diseases that a chicken owner needs to look out for when raising these birds. If your chicken develops a disease that is not contagious you’re in luck, but if the disease is contagious this illness can wreak havoc on your flock.

It’s best to catch an illness in the early stages, treating illnesses earlier on will give the bird a fighting chance to recover with treatment. If your bird is showing signs of suffering from an illness, like foaming at the mouth, it’s important to get in front of this, this article will help you do that.

A bird foaming at the mouth is not normal, the reason behind chickens foaming at the mouth include: food being stuck in the bird’s esophagus, sour crop in the bird (if the foaming is accompanied by a sour smell coming from the bird’s beak) or aspergillosis if the birds mouth is yellow and foaming 

Chicken foaming at the mouth, 3 reasons why this happens, and what to do

Foaming at the mouth can happen because of a illnesses or a blockage in the birds esphegus.

If the bird is not showing other signs of being ill it may be difficult to figure out what ailment your bird is suffering from. Here are common reasons behind chickens foaming at the mouth: 

Something stuck in the esophagus:

Birds don’t chew their food before swallowing, they have no teeth to chew with. In addition, their mouths and throats are not big enough to swallow large chunks of foods in one go.

Because of this, they have to break their food into small pieces, small enough to be swallowed.

Still. sometimes, birds eat foods that are too large for their esophagus, a birds esphegus is not very large, foods that are too large can be as small as a grape.

If the bird manages to get this food past its mouth then the food item may become stuck in the bird’s esophagus preventing saliva from being swallowed.

This saliva can bubble up out of the birds mouth, this may also look like the bird is foaming from the mouth.

Sour crop:

Sour crop can develop when food becomes stuck in a bird’s crop, over time, this food will break down and ferment in the crop. If food breaks down and ferments in the birds crop then candida albicans will begin to overgrow in the crop. This becomes a yeast infection.

Foam can develop in the bird’s crop if the bird is suffering from sour crop. If this is the case, this foam will move up the esophagus and pour out of the bird’s mouth.

The foam that comes out of the birds mouth is acidic and can burn the bird’s insides, if this happens, you’d need to treat the bird for both sour crop and burns in its esphegus and mouth

Other signs of sour crop include: a squishy crop that feels like a water balloon, a crop that does not deflate when it should, a lethargic bird, the bird not eating, gurgling sounds coming from the bird, and a foul smell coming from the bird’s mouth. 


This is another ailment that can affect your bird. Aspergillosis is the most common respiratory infection that birds can get. Not only can it affect chickens but it can affect a wide variety of domesticated and wild birds.

This disease develops when a bird inhales aspergillus fumigatus spores from it’s environment. The aspergillus fumigatus spores can be present in everyday, common items such as bread, contaminated litter, chaff, and even feed.

This fungal disease attacks your bird’s respiratory system, namely the lungs and the air sacks. This causes the bird to grow a yellow cottage cheese material in its mouth and this can look like foaming at the mouth.

Other signs of birds having this illness is suppressed growth, shortness of breath, fever, and respiratory distress.  

How to treat a chicken foaming at the mouth:

Blockage in the esophagus:

You, as the chicken’s caretaker, will have to get the bird to throw up to get the food lodged in the bird’s esphegus to come out. Alternatively, you can try to massage the bird’s oesphegus to get the food to go down

Sour crop:

There are a variety of treatments that can help remedy your bird’s sour crop.

Treatments include: massaging the bird’s crop, giving the bird Epsom salts diluted in water, giving the bird diluted molasses, giving the bird diluted apple cider vinegar, or giving the bird Miconazole cream, Nystatin or fluconazole.


A variety of antifungal treatments can be given to your bird to treat aspergillosis, these can come in the form of intravenous, oral, aerosolized, or topical products. The fungal plaques can also be removed surgically  

Note: If you can, taking your bird to a vet for assessment and treatment is recommended

Can foaming at the mouth be fatal?

Yes, chickens foaming at the mouth can be fatal. If the bird has something stuck in its throat, the saliva can choke the bird if not swallowed.

If the sour crop is not treated it can cause digestive problems in the bird which can hinder digestion and kill the bird. Aspergillosis can also be fatal to the bird if not treated correctly and in good time.


In conclusion, foaming at the mouth can be caused by a blockage in the bird’s throat, sour crop, or aspergillosis. All of these can be treated and your bird will recover if treated in good time.

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other chicken related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Chicken has fluid coming out of its mouth, why this happens, How to drain water belly in chickens, Chicken spitting up clear liquid, why this happens, Chicken’s crop is full of liquid, why and what to do, Can sour crop kill a chicken?, Chicken vomiting yellow liquid, what to do

Chicken Foaming At The Mouth, (3 Reasons Why +What To Do)
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