Alektorophobia is an intense fear of chickens or hens. Like other phobias, the intense fear that people feel isn’t proportional to the threat chickens pose. Symptoms might include guilt, shame, intense worry or dread. People may also have physical symptoms, such as nausea, sweating or shaking.
Alektorophobia is an intense, uncontrollable fear of chickens. People with alektorophobia have excessive fear and anxiety around roosters or hens. They don’t feel fear around any other animal or bird (ornithophobia). The term comes from the Greek words “phobos,” meaning fear, and “alektor,” meaning rooster.
Fear of chickens is a specific phobia. Like all specific phobias, the focus of the phobia doesn’t present a real threat. Many people with phobias know the fear isn’t rational, but they struggle to control symptoms.
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It’s hard knowing exactly how many people have a specific phobia, like alektorophobia (fear of chickens). Many people may keep this fear to themselves or may not recognize they have it. We do know that about 1 in 10 American adults and 1 in 5 teenagers will deal with a specific phobia disorder at some point in their lives, though.
Some people are afraid of chickens for no known reason. But you may be more likely to develop alektorophobia when you:
Experts can’t always identify a root cause of a phobia. Researchers are still learning more about phobias. There may be a genetic factor. Sometimes, you may link your fear to one negative experience in the past.
When you have a negative or scary experience, a part of your brain called the amygdala records your feelings about that experience. When something reminds you of that experience, such as seeing a chicken, your amygdala reminds you of how you felt.
Phobias can cause both physical and psychological symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden feeling of intense terror or fear that causes a physical reaction.
When you have physical symptoms, it’s typically because the fear you feel causes a boost in adrenaline. Your body releases this hormone when you’re stressed.
Your body has a “fight-or-flight” response. You may experience:
Psychological symptoms of alektorophobia may include:
Children who have a fear of chickens, hens or roosters may also:
Your healthcare provider may ask you questions to determine if the fear you experience around chickens is a specific phobia. Sometimes, physical symptoms may relate to a different anxiety condition.
Your healthcare provider may ask if you experience:
Alektorophobia treatment often involves a combination of approaches. The overall goal is to help you live a higher quality of life without disruptions. Your healthcare provider may recommend:
Many people have fewer and less frequent symptoms with proper treatment. Some people may overcome the fear of chickens, while others may deal with symptoms long-term.
When you interact with or are exposed to a chicken or hen, you may lessen symptoms of anxiety by:
There isn’t a guaranteed way to prevent specific phobias. You may reduce the intensity or frequency of symptoms by living a healthy lifestyle. You may:
Thankfully, most people experience symptom improvement with treatment. Untreated alektorophobia can increase your risk for:
You may also want to ask your healthcare provider:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Alektorophobia is an intense fear of chickens, roosters or hens. It’s a type of specific phobia. People with alektorophobia often recognize that the intense fear isn’t proportional to the real threat of chickens. Still, it’s difficult to control symptoms. Treatment may include exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy or medication. Some people overcome the fear of chickens, while others may manage symptoms long-term.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/22/2022.
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