Knowing how to dress when cleaning a chicken coop is very important when it comes to your health and safety. Proper attire while cleaning your chicken coop includes wearing specific clothes that will protect your skin and safety gear to protect your mucous membranes.
You can get very sick if you do not take precautions to protect yourself.
Tip #1: Always Wear a Pair of Chicken Coop Boots
I always keep a pair of chicken coop boots that I only wear when I am around the chickens or cleaning out the chicken coop. When I am done working around the coop, I wash the bottom of my boots off and take them off at my house door.
Washing the bottom of your boots will remove the visible poop, but there is still invisible bacteria on the bottom that is harmful to humans. Walking into your home can easily pass the harmful bacteria to the floor and picked up by a crawling baby or a child sitting on the floor while they are playing.
By removing your boots before walking into your home, you won’t be spreading any potential viruses or bacteria from the bottom of your boots into your home.
All it takes is walking into your home one time with your coop boots on to spread harmful viruses and bacteria that can potentially cause different chicken illnesses or diseases that can be passed on to your family.
Common diseases that are spread from chickens to humans are Salmonella, E. coli and Bird Flu. These can cause abdominal cramping, diarrhea, vomiting and fever.
Children under the age of 5, adults over the age of 65 and immunocompromised individuals are at the highest risk of contracting any of these diseases.
Children: How to Dress When Cleaning a Chicken Coop
Get your child a pair of coop boots to wear too. This will make them feel special knowing that these are for him to wear while out with the chickens or even helping to clean out the coop. Have your child get into the habit of removing the boots before walking into the house.
For more information on keeping your kids safe around chickens, read my article How to Keep Kids Safe Around Chickens: 5 Best Tips.
Tip #2: Always Wear a Mask When Cleaning the Chicken Coop
If you can, get a good respirator mask that seals to your face. It should prevent dust and water particles from entering. If you don’t have one of these an N95 dust mask will do. Wearing a good mask will protect you from breathing in harmful airborne contaminants such as dust particles, fumes and droplet particles.
Harmful Effects of Breathing Ammonia
Chicken poop is filled with ammonia and breathing it in can be hazardous. The ammonia level can get pretty high, especially if you are in a small, enclosed place such as a dirty chicken coop.
If you breathe in high levels of ammonia it can cause burning in your nose, throat and respiratory tract which can cause lung damage or even death.
Breathing in low levels of ammonia will cause coughing, nose and throat irritation. Let this be a signal to you to put a mask on to protect your nose, throat and lungs.
If you have been exposed to high levels of ammonia it is important to get yourself into an open area with fresh air. Always make it a habit to keep the chicken coop doors open when you are cleaning it out, especially if you are wearing just a dust mask or no mask at all.
Harmful Effects of Breathing in Chicken Coop Dust Particles
When cleaning out your chicken coop you will be stirring up a bunch of dust particles. These dust particles are filled with bacteria, fecal matter, parts of insects, mold and bedding particles. Breathing in these particles can cause many respiratory problems and ailments.
Breathing in these dust particles can cause Farmer’s Lung. Farmer’s Lung is an allergic reaction causing an inflammation in the respiratory tract. Symptoms can begin 4-8 hours after exposure and last up to 5 days, but full recovery can take as long as two months.
If you begin to develop symptoms of shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, stuffy nose or other respiratory symptoms, get to an area of fresh air.
|FARMER’S LUNG||INFLAMMATION OF RESPIRATORY|
TRACT, SHORTNESS OF BREATH,
DRY COUGH, FEVER, CHILLS,
|OCCUPATIONAL ASTHMA||COUGHING, SHORTNESS OF |
BREATH, WHEEZING, CHEST PAIN,
|IRRITATION OF MUCOUS|
|INFLAMMATION EYES, NOSE AND |
THROAT CAUSING BOTH STUFFY
AND RUNNY NOSE
|ACUTE BRONCHITIS||SHORTNESS OF BREATH, PHLEGM,|
COUGHING, CHEST TIGHTNESS
For more information on how cleaning a chicken coop can make you sick, read my article Can Cleaning a Chicken Coop Make You Sick? (9 Tips).
Tip #3: Always Wear a Pair of Gloves When Cleaning the Chicken Coop
Wearing gloves while cleaning out the chicken coop will help to prevent minor cuts, scrapes, bites and chemical burns. It can also help to stop the spread of infection causing bacteria from penetrating any cuts and scrapes that you may already have on your hands.
Wearing protective gloves will help to stop the spread of bacteria not only to yourself, but others that you are around as well. After you have worked in a chicken coop without wearing gloves, your hands will be covered with harmful bacteria.
Chicken Coops are Loaded with Harmful Bacteria
A chicken coop is loaded with invisible viruses and bacteria. Just opening a chicken coop door or shoveling a few scoops of manure with a shovel without gloves on and then touching your face can spread the disease causing bacteria to get inside of you.
You will be less likely to touch your face if you have a pair of gloves on. Leave a box of disposable gloves out by your chicken coop and try to make it a habit of wearing them when it comes time to clean the chicken coop.
Hand washing is the #1 way to help stop the spread of disease causing viruses and bacteria. So when you finish cleaning the chicken coop, dispose of your gloves and make sure you wash your hands with soap and water. Lather up really well and rub your hands together for 30 seconds. This is how long it takes to kill most viruses and bacteria.
|DISEASE||HOW TRANSMITTED||HUMAN SYMPTOMS|
EGGS AND CHICKEN
|DIARRHEA, VOMITING, FEVER,|
EGGS AND CHICKEN
|DIARRHEA, VOMITING, FEVER,|
|COUGH, SHORTNESS OF BREATH|
BIRD FLU, (VIRAL)
|FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS, PINK EYE,|
|MILD FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS,|
MILD EYE INFECTIONS
|DIARRHEA, VOMITTING, FEVER,|
SO YOU DO NOT CONTRACT DISEASES THAT CHICKENS CAN PASS TO HUMANS
On top of chicken manure inside your coop, it is possible to also have rat, mouse and various other rodent droppings. For tips on how to rodent proof your chicken coop, read my article 13 Simple Ways to Rodent Proof the Chicken Coop.
Tip #4: Wear Long Sleeve Shirt and Pants When Cleaning the Chicken Coop
Just as wearing protective gloves can help protect your skin from cuts, scrapes, abrasions and stop bacteria from getting into cuts and scrapes that you already have, so can wearing long pants and a long sleeved shirt or jacket.
After you clean your coop, your clothes will dirty and need to be thrown in the wash. The last thing that you want to do is to wear these dirty clothes into your home and sit on your couch or bed to spread harmful disease causing bacteria to the rest of your family.
Have a clean set of clothes set out in your garage for you to change into when you finish cleaning your coop or better yet, change out of your clothes and take a shower.
Tip #5: Wear Safety Goggles When Cleaning the Chicken Coop
Pathogens are microorganisms that are capable of causing diseases and can infect people by entering through mucous membranes. This can happen if you get microorganisms on your hands and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
Cleaning a chicken coop stirs up dust particles that are filled with potential disease causing viruses and bacteria. When dust particles get into your eyes, it can make you sick causing Salmonella, E. Coli, Campylobacter, Bird Flu and New Castle Disease.
Wearing safety goggles will help prevent you from touching your face and prevent disease causing dust particles from getting into your eyes.
Visit the CDC for more information on diseases that poultry can pass to humans and how you can help to prevent the spread of these diseases.
CONCLUSION: How to Dress When Cleaning a Chicken Coop-5 Best Tips
As chicken keepers, cleaning a chicken coop is not something that we jump up and down and want to do, but it needs to get done. Now that you are armed with the reasons why you should wear protective gear when cleaning your coop, will you?
|ESSENTIAL GEAR FOR|
CLEANING OUT A
|2||RESPIRATOR/ N95 MASK|
|4||LONG PANTS, LONG|
SLEEVED SHIRT OR JACKET