Ammonia Burn Keratoconjunctivitis i ...

Ammonia Burn Keratoconjunctivitis in Laying Hens

Ammonia Burn Keratoconjunctivitis


Observed Clinical Signs Happenings


Visibly sick birds

  • Few visibly sick birds
  • Birds may rub their head and eyelids against their wings


  • Affected birds keep their eyelids closed
  • They rub their heads and eyelids against their wings
  • The cornea has a grey cloudy appearance and may be ulcerated
  • Edema and hyperemia  may be present in the conjunctiva
  • The condition is generally bilateral
  • Affected birds do not eat and become emaciated

Feed Consumption Changes

  • Feed intake reduced (sometimes difficult to measure)


Ammonia Burn Keratoconjunctivitis, Ammonia Fumes (High Levels 50 to 75 ppm or greater than 100 ppm) persistent in Laying Hens DOES NOT exhibit or manifest any of the following clinical signs happenings:


  1. Egg drop
  2. Mortality above the standard
  3. Flock behaviour activity change
  4. Droppings abnormalities
  5. Respiratory abnormalities
  6. Neurological Nervous
  7. Lameness or unusual movements, incoordination, ataxia
  8. Head, Comb, Wattles, Face, Nostrils, Sinuses, Mount, Beak, Earlobes, abnormalities
  9. Body Parts (Neck, wings, breast, abdomen, shanks, legs, hocks, feet, joints, vent, and skin) abnormalities
  10. Feathers abnormalities
  11. Diet or Feed Changes
  12. Shell quality defects
  13. Internal Egg defects
Causing Agents
Toxicity, due to high concentrations of atmospheric ammonia in enclosure or litter. Ammonia burn describes conjunctivitis in poultry caused by exposure to ammonia fumes resulting from unsanitary conditions. (1, 2). Ammonia levels should be less than 25 ppm, but in poorly ventilated litter-type houses, ammonia exceeds 100 ppm. (1, 2)
Affected Systems/Organs
Respiratory System: Eyes (even low but constant exposure to 10-20 ppm ammonia is enough to cause some damage to the respiratory tract)
Mainly Affects
Performance: It could act as trigger for respiratory tract infections/complications
Appropriate environmental control. Prevention of the condition is based on proper ventilation and litter management. The ammonia fumes are formed in wet litter. Feed additives and ammonia reducing agents
Suggested Actions
  • Can be confirmed with clinical signs and gross lesions
  • Can be dealt with in house
  • Technical assistance recommended
  • Can be managed with feed additives, off-the-shelf medications

Impact on Egg quality


Impact on Liveability


Impact on Production


Overall Economic Impact


  1. Y.M. Saif. 2008. Diseases of Poultry. 12th Edition. page 1178
  2. David E. Swayne. 2013.  Diseases of Poultry 13th Edition. page 1258




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