The human IL-1 family contains 11 genes encoded at three separate loci. Nine, including IL-1R antagonist (IL-1RN), are present at a single locus on chromosome 2, whereas IL-18 and IL-33 lie on chromosomes 11 and 9, respectively. There are currently only two known orthologs in the chicken, IL-1β and IL-18, which are encoded on chromosomes 22 and 24, respectively. Two novel chicken IL-1 family sequences were identified from expressed sequence tag libraries, representing secretory and intracellular (icIL-1RN) structural variants of the IL-1RN gene, as seen in mammals. Two further putative splice variants (SVs) of both chicken IL-1RN (chIL-1RN) structural variants were also isolated. Alternative splicing of human icIL-1RN gives three different transcripts; there are no known SVs for human secretory IL-1RN. The chicken icIL-1RN SVs differ from those found in human icIL-1RN in terms of the rearrangements involved. In mammals, IL-1RN inhibits IL-1 activity by physically occupying the IL-1 type I receptor. Both full-length structural variants of chIL-1RN exhibited biological activity similar to their mammalian orthologs in a macrophage cell line bioassay. The four SVs, however, were not biologically active. The chicken IL-1 family is more fragmented in the genome than those of mammals, particularly in that the large multigene locus seen in mammals is absent. This suggests differential evolution of the family since the divergence of birds and mammals from a common ancestor, and makes determination of the full repertoire of chicken IL-1 family members more challenging.