Asphyxiation or Smothering or Pilin ...

Asphyxiation or Smothering or Piling up Birds in Laying Hens

Happenings / Clinical Signs


  • High mortality or increases rapidly

Dead birds

  • Good  body fleshing condition  (sudden high mortality)

Flock behaviour activity change

  • Increase flock mobility or activity
  • Birds crowing or pilling up in a corner
  • Birds  are moved to new quarters. Birds arebcrowing or pilling up
  • Birds are frightened

Asphyxiation is generally caused by birds crowding or piling in a corner or in a spot for laying eggs in the same place. It may occur when birds are moved to new quarters, when they are frightened. Asphyxiation also happens when power fails or ventilation system is faulty in controlled-environment houses that have no windows.

Causing Agents
Husbandry related. Hysteria or Piling up of birds in response to noise, predators, lights and moved to new premises or quarters amongst other factors. Crowding of birds trying to lay in the same spot. Power fails power fails or ventilation system is faulty in controlled-environment houses that have no windows.
Affected Systems/Organs
Respiratory System (Asphyxiation)
Mainly Affects
Appropriate management and husbandry practices. Increased vigilance when birds are moved to new housing. Some panics may be caused by inputs that mimic predators while others may be novel stimuli. When birds are moved to new quarters, the use of a dim light or lantern the first few nights will decrease the possibility of smothering.
Suggested Actions
  • Can be confirmed with clinical signs and gross lesions
  • Can be dealt with in house
  • Technical assistance recommended

Impact on Egg quality


Impact on Liveability


Impact on Production


Overall Economic Impact


Y.M. Saif.2008.Disease of Poultry. 12th Edition. page 1150


Mark Pattison, Paul F. McMullin, Janet M. Bradbury. Dennis J. Alexander. 2008. Poultry Diseases. 6th Edition.

Paul McMullin. 2004. A pocket Guide to Poultry Health and Disease. First Edition. page 539

Steven Leeson, John D. Summers. 2008. Commercial Poultry Nutrition. Third Edition.

Donald D. Bell, Williams D. Weaver. 2009.  Commercial Chicken Meat and Egg Production. Fifth Edition.

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