What Diseases Can Rabbits Get From Chicken?

What diseases can rabbits get from chickens?

They have similar housing requirements, and they both enjoy company this may mislead people into thinking that keeping rabbits and chickens together is entirely safe. The truth is, it is not entirely safe.

In this article, we will identify the diseases that rabbits can contract from chickens and also highlight other important factors to consider when keeping rabbits and chickens together.

Rabbits can get these diseases from chickens

  • Streptococcus
  • Salmonella
  • Myxomatosis
  • Newcastle Disease
  • Coccidiosis

What Diseases Can Rabbits Get From Chicken?

Animals living with another specie can share certain diseases even though they are kept in enclosures with large spacing. 

Like other animals, chickens carry bacteria and pathogens which may not affect them but could make other animals including rabbits sick.

Chicken droppings are a major concern as any rabbit can pick up a variety of infections from them.

It is important to ensure that chicken poop is kept well out of the reach of the hutch of rabbits. 

Some of the diseases that rabbits can contract from chickens include:

1. Streptococcus

Various streptococcus bacteria are common in poultry especially chickens and can result in different illnesses in rabbits.

A major illness that rabbits can contract from streptococcus bacteria from chickens is acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Streptococcus can spread to rabbits when they come into contact with chicken feces or the feeding instruments of chickens. 

2. Salmonella

This is usually found in chickens but it can also be contracted by other animals including rabbits which may result in severe illness.

In rabbits, salmonella has an extremely high mortality rate of over ninety percent and if you harbor chickens and rabbits together, salmonella will definitely be a major source of worry.

3. Myxomatosis

This was employed by humans as a rabbit-killing virus to control wild rabbit populations.

However, it worked a bit too well and now remains a threat to rabbits in various parts of the world.

If a rabbit contracts myxomatosis, it will most certainly go through excruciating pains before dying.

Most times, chickens don’t carry myxomatosis and it doesn’t affect them. But the myxoma virus is spread through vectors like fleas, which feed on both rabbits and chickens.

When rabbits and chickens are kept together in one coop, the same flea may bite both animals and the myxoma virus may likely be contracted by the rabbit from the chicken. 

Myxomatosis is a very fatal illness in rabbits.

Once one rabbit contracts the infection most likely from a chicken, the other rabbits will contract it as well and that will result in a full-blown epidemic that could prove fatal to all the rabbits. 

4. Newcastle Disease

This is a disease that primarily affects chickens but can also be contracted by rabbits.

Rabbits can contract the infection through direct contact with infected chickens or through their droppings and secretions like saliva. 

Symptoms of Newcastle disease in rabbits include respiratory symptoms like sneezing, coughing, and nasal discharge.

The infected rabbits could also develop nervous symptoms like tremors, convulsions, etc which could prove fatal to them.

There are no specific means of treatment for Newcastle disease but supportive care helps reduce the symptoms.

However, prevention remains important and it is advised to keep chickens and rabbits separately to prevent the contraction of the illness. 

5. Coccidiosis

This is a parasitic disease that is capable of affecting both chickens and rabbits.

It is carried by a protozoan parasite that is transmitted through contaminated food, water, secretion, and droppings of the infected animal.

It is spread through direct contact with infected birds or animals and is highly contagious. Rabbits can contract coccidiosis from chickens and the symptoms are quite fatal to them.

Can Rabbits And Chickens Safely Live Together?

Rabbits and chickens may be able to live together in the same coop but it is important to be aware of their varying needs and behaviors even though they have a lot in common.

While rabbits are prey animals, chickens are omnivores. Thus, they differ a lot in social and territorial behaviors. They also possess different temperaments.

Some rabbits and chickens may get along well but most would not. It is best to introduce rabbits to chickens gradually and when they are young and to constantly monitor their interactions until they get along well. 

But the most important factor to consider is that chickens carry diseases that are harmful to rabbits, so it is advised to keep rabbits away from chickens.


Rabbits may share a lot in common with chickens but they possess varying social behaviors. Also, chickens carry several infections which may prove harmful to rabbits.

That is why it is advised to keep rabbits and chickens separated and to practice good hygiene to prevent the transmission of diseases between the two animals.

Also, routine veterinary checkups and care are important to monitor and curb the spread of infections between the two.

We hope this article has helped you know the common diseases rabbits can get from chickens. If you have any further questions, you can comment below.

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