Can Chicken Cause Allergy?

Yes, chicken can cause an allergy in some people, although it is relatively uncommon compared to other food allergies like those to peanuts, shellfish, or dairy. Chicken allergy can manifest in various ways and is typically related to the proteins found in chicken meat or, less commonly, chicken feathers. Here are some key points regarding chicken allergy:

Symptoms of Chicken Allergy

Symptoms of a chicken allergy can range from mild to severe and may include:

  1. Skin Reactions: Hives, itching, or eczema.
  2. Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, or diarrhea.
  3. Respiratory Symptoms: Nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath.
  4. Anaphylaxis: A severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can cause difficulty breathing, a drop in blood pressure, rapid pulse, dizziness, or loss of consciousness. This requires immediate medical attention.


Individuals with a chicken allergy may also react to other bird meats (such as turkey) and eggs, a phenomenon known as cross-reactivity. This is due to similar proteins found in these foods. Similarly, people allergic to feathers or bird dander may also have reactions to chicken meat.


If you suspect you have a chicken allergy, it is important to see an allergist for proper diagnosis. The allergist may use:

  • Skin Prick Test: A small amount of chicken protein is placed on the skin, which is then pricked to see if there is a reaction.
  • Blood Test: Measures the presence of specific antibodies (IgE) to chicken proteins in the blood.
  • Elimination Diet: Involves removing chicken and chicken products from the diet to see if symptoms improve.
  • Oral Food Challenge: Conducted under medical supervision, this involves consuming small amounts of chicken to observe if an allergic reaction occurs.


Managing a chicken allergy involves avoiding chicken and products containing chicken. It is important to read food labels carefully and be aware of potential sources of chicken in foods, such as broths, soups, processed meats, and certain flavorings.

  • Medication: Antihistamines can help manage mild allergic reactions. In cases of severe reactions, individuals may need to carry an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen) and be trained on how to use it.
  • Avoid Cross-Contamination: Be cautious about cross-contamination in kitchens and restaurants where chicken is prepared.

Alternative Sources of Protein

People with chicken allergy should seek alternative sources of protein, such as:

  • Fish
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds (if no other allergies exist)
  • Dairy products (if not allergic)
  • Tofu and other soy products

If you have a chicken allergy or suspect one, working with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian can help ensure you maintain a balanced diet while avoiding allergens.