Can Cleaning a Chicken Coop Make You Sick? (9 Tips)

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IS CLEANING YOUR CHICKEN COOP MAKING YOU SICK

Cleaning a chicken coop can make you sick, so it is imperative to take precautions to minimize your risk of contracting diseases that can be passed from chickens to humans. Flock owners can contract diseases while cleaning a chicken coop either by direct contact or by breathing in dust particles.

Cleaning the chicken coop can be quite the chore and I’m sure most of us that have done it have wondered, “Is the dust dangerous to breath when I’m cleaning the coop?” “Is chicken poop toxic to humans?” “What diseases can chickens transmit to humans?” and “What can I do to protect myself from getting sick while cleaning the chicken coop?”

SICK
CLEANING OUT A CHICKEN COOP CAN MAKE YOU SICK!

Can Cleaning the Chicken Coop Make You Sick? (9 Tips)

Precautions do need to be taken while cleaning the chicken coop so you do not get sick. There are several different diseases that can be passed from chickens to humans either through inhaling dust particles during cleaning of the chicken coop or with direct contact of chicken manure.

This article will cover what diseases humans can contract from chickens, how the diseases are transmitted and 7 tips that you can do to prevent yourself from getting sick while cleaning the chicken coop or just handling your chickens.

What Diseases Can Chickens Transmit to Humans?

DISEASEHOW TRANSMITTEDHUMAN SYMPTOMS
SALMONELLA
(BACTERIAL)
MANURE, UNDERCOOKED
EGGS AND CHICKEN
DIARRHEA, VOMITTING, FEVER,
ABDOMINAL CRAMPING
CAMPYLOBACTER
(BACTERIAL)
MANURE, UNDERCOOKED
EGGS AND CHICKEN
INHALING MANURE
PARTICLES
DIARRHEA, VOMITTING, FEVER,
ABDOMINAL CRAMPING
HISTOPLASMOSIS
(FUNGAL)
INHALING MANURE
PARTICLES
COUGH, SHORTNESS OF BREATH
AVIAN INFLUENZA-
BIRD FLU, (VIRAL)
SALIVA, MANURE,
NASAL SECRETIONS,
INHALING MANURE
PARTICLES
FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS, PINK EYE,
ABDOMINAL CRAMPING
EXOTIC NEWCASTLE
DISEASE (VIRAL)
DROPPINGS, RESPIRATORY
SECRETIONS, INHALING
MANURE PARTICLES
MILD FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS,
MILD EYE INFECTIONS
E. COLI
(BACTERIAL)
UNDERCOOKED FOOD,
DROPPINGS
DIARRHEA, VOMITTING, FEVER,
ABDOMINAL CRAMPING
DISEASES THAT CAN BE TRANSMITTED FROM CHICKENS TO HUMANS

Is the Dust Dangerous to Breathe When I’m Cleaning the Coop?

It is extremely dangerous to breathe in the dust particles when you are cleaning the chicken coop. Infected droppings can become airborne when disturbed (cleaning a coop). Tiny dust particles can carry fungal spores, bacterial and viral infections that can be inhaled into your respiratory system.

If you inhale or get enough of an infectious virus or spores into your eyes, nose, mouth or lungs it can cause Histoplasmosis, Avian Influenza, Exotic Newcastle Disease, Campylobacter and possibly Salmonella as well.

DUST IS DANGEROUS TO BREATHE WHEN CLEANING THE CHICKEN COOP.

Is Chicken Poop Dangerous to Humans?

People can get sick with Salmonella, Campylobacter, Avian Flu, Histoplasmosis, Exotic Newcastle Disease and E. Coli by anything in the chicken’s environment that has come into contact with infected chicken poop.This includes the dirt, cages, nesting boxes, watering and feed bowls, shovels and rakes.

According to the CDC, humans can contract Salmonella from handling chickens or coming into contact with their manure. It isn’t only transmitted through eating of contaminated food. Chickens do not have to look unhealthy to transmit any of these diseases to humans.

How Do Chickens Transmit Diseases to Humans?

CHICKENS CAN TRANSMIT MANY DIFFERENT DISEASES TO HUMANS.

Humans can contract diseases from chickens not only by handling them, but also from coming into direct contact with chicken droppings. Droppings can be anywhere in a chicken’s environment, including the soil, cages, nesting boxes, waterers and feeders, rakes and shovels.

Humans can contract diseases from chickens by inhaling manure particles. Infected manure particles contain spores, viruses or bacteria that can become airborne when disturbed, such as when cleaning the chicken coop.

While chickens can look healthy on the outside, their manure can possibly contain infectious bacteria, spores or viruses. Whenever you clean the chicken coop, it’s best to act as if the environment is infectious and take appropriate precautions to prevent becoming sick in the first place.

7 Safety Tips to Prevent Chicken to Human Diseases

1. Wear Protective Gear When Cleaning a Chicken Coop

Wear protective gear when it’s time to clean the chicken coop. Protective gear includes a respirator, goggles, boots, gloves and old clothes. If you do not have a respirator, an N-95 mask will suffice. It is important to make sure that your mask is sealed and your eyes are completely covered.

2. Don’t Wear Chicken Coop Boots in House

DON'T WEAR COOP BOOTS IN HOUSE
DON’T WEAR YOUR CHICKEN COOP BOOTS INTO THE HOUSE.

It’s a good idea to have special boots that you wear in and around the chicken coop, but never into your house. It’s ok to wear the boots around outdoors, but make sure that you spray the chicken poop off your boots before walking around other parts of your property.

Wearing boots that have been worn around the chicken coop runs a risk of contaminating your floors. A crawling baby can easily become infected and get sick.

For more information on how to keep your kids safe around chickens, read my article How to Keep Kids Safe Around Chickens: 5 Best Tips.

Dogs and cats can also become ill if they eat or inhale particles of chicken manure.

Get into the habit of spraying your boots off every time you walk out of your chicken coop. Leave a pair of clean shoes by the entrance of your house to change into when you take your chicken coop boots off.

3. Change Clothes After Cleaning Coop

ALWAYS WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR WHEN CLEANING OUT YOUR CHICKEN COOP AND CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES AFTERWARDS.

When cleaning the chicken coop, it is a good idea to have an old pair of clothes to wear. A long-sleeved t-shirt, jeans or overalls would be great. Change your clothes after cleaning the coop. Take your dirty clothes and put them directly into the wash, shower and put clean clothes on.

Just as wearing your “coop boots” into the house can transmit bacteria, viruses and spores, so can continuing to wear clothes that you wore while cleaning in the chicken coop.

4. Clean Coop Regularly

Cleaned chicken coop, dry coop
CLEAN THE CHICKEN COOP REGULARLY TO DECREASE THE SPREADING OF BACTERIA, SPORES AND VIRUSES.

To decrease the chance of spreading harmful bacteria, spores and viruses, get on a good coop cleaning maintenance schedule. Don’t let excessive droppings build up and if the coop floor gets wet, it’s time to change the bedding material. Bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments.

Apple cider vinegar and water mixed at a 1:1 ratio works well as a cleaner in the chicken coop. The apple cider vinegar is acidic and is capable of killing salmonella, E. coli and Lysteria monocytogenes.

You can also mix ACV with lemon juice or baking soda. This is safe to use around chickens and will help to reduce the amount of pathogens to a non detectable level.

FREQUENCYCLEANING CHICKEN COOP
DAILYGATHERING EGGS
WEEKLYCHANGING BEDDING IN NESTING BOXES
WEEKLYSPRAY COOP AND NEST BOXES WITH ACV
DAILYCLEANING FEED AND WATER CONTAINERS
WEEKLYSHOVELING POOP
ANNUALLYDEEP CLEANING CHICKEN COOP
COOP MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE

5. Wash Hands After Being Around Chickens

Vigorously rub your hands with soap and water for 30 seconds both before and after handling chickens, collecting eggs or working around the coop. This will help to prevent you from getting any chicken transmitted illnesses. Chickens can appear healthy, but still carry harmful bacteria.

Washing hands both before and after handling chickens can help stop the spread of diseases.
WASHING HANDS BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER HANDLING CHICKENS CAN HELP STOP THE SPREAD OF DISEASES.

Teach your children to do the same. Have them sing the “Alphabet Song” 2 x while rubbing their hands with soap and water. Children under the age of 5 and adults over 65 are at increased risk of becoming ill if they are exposed because their immune systems are not as strong.

6. Don’t Kiss Chickens

As more and more family’s are beginning to keep backyard chickens, there are also more cases of Salmonella. According to a study done by the CDC from 1990-2014, of the patients that contracted Salmonella: 13% smooched a chicken, 49% snuggled a baby chick, 46% kept a chicken in the house and 10% kept a chicken in their bedroom.

YOU CAN CONTRACT SALMONELLA JUST FROM KISSING OR SNUGGLING WITH YOUR CHICKEN.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would like for everyone to please refrain from kissing their chickens. And from snuggling them. And from eating with them. And from inviting them in their homes.

CNN

7. Don’t Let Chickens in the House

Keep chickens outdoors. While this may be a no brainer for some, it can be quite difficult for others. There are many chicken owners that allow their chickens in their home. This not only puts the owner at risk, but also anyone else that comes into their home of developing diseases like Salmonella.

Chickens can look perfectly healthy and still carry many different diseases. Putting a diaper on a chicken is just not sufficient enough. Germs that you cannot see can also be on the feathers and feet of a chicken.

8. Cook Meat and Eggs Thoroughly

COOK MEAT AND EGGS THOROUGHLY SCRAMBLED-EGGS-FOR-SOUR-CROP
COOK ALL MEAT AND EGGS THOROUGHLY TO DECREASE THE CHANCES OF SALMONELLA.

Salmonella lives in the intestines of infected chickens. This is why it is important to discard any eggs that are cracked. Fecal matter can be present and absorbed through the pores of the egg shell, contaminating the egg. Contaminated eggs and meat that are not cooked thoroughly can make you sick.

Certain people are more prone to contracting diseases from chickens because their immune systems are not as strong. All people are more at risk of developing disease such as E. coli and Salmonella during the warm Summer months of June-September, when bacteria thrive.

INCREASED RISK OF
CONTRACTING ILLNESSES
FROM CHICKENS
UNDER 5
OVER 65
IMMUNOCOMPROMISED
THOSE TAKING STOMACH
ACID REDUCING MEDICATIONS
THOSE THAT EAT RAW OR
UNDERCOOKED FOODS

9. Avoid Touching Face When Cleaning Coop

Invisible bacteria lives on your chicken’s feathers, beaks, feet, nesting boxes, coop floor, soil and coop cleaning tools. It’s everywhere around the environment of your chickens. Picking up your chicken to give it a nice pet is fine, but avoid touching your face after doing so.

Conclusion: Cleaning the Chicken Coop CAN Make You Sick (9 Tips)

Cleaning a chicken coop CAN make you very sick. There are several diseases that humans can contract either with direct contact or inhaling dust particles of chicken manure. You can lessen your chances of becoming sick if you take appropriate precautions.

# 9 TIPS
TO AVOID GETTING
SICK WHEN CLEANING
THE CHICKEN COOP
1 WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR:
RESPIRATOR, GOGGLES,
GLOVES, BOOTS,
LONG-SLEEVED SHIRT,
JEANS/OVERALLS
2 DON’T WEAR COOP BOOTS
IN HOUSE
3CHANGE CLOTHES AFTER
CLEANING COOP
4CLEAN COOP REGULARLY
5WASH HANDS BEFORE AND
AFTER BEING AROUND COOP
6DON’T KISS CHICKENS
7DON’T LET CHICKENS IN
YOUR HOUSE
8COOK MEAT AND EGGS
THOROUGHLY
9AVOID TOUCHING FACE
WHEN CLEANING COOP

1 thought on “Can Cleaning a Chicken Coop Make You Sick? (9 Tips)

  1. Great article! Thanks for sharing! Real important reminders! Sometimes it’s easy to fall into a routine that isn’t necessarily a good hygiene choice. I needed these reminders to develop healthier habits when working with my chickens!

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