January 07, 2010,
D.P. asks from Alamo, CA on February 22, 2009
Chickens and Pregnancy...
I have 4 chickens and I've had a few friends tell me that I shouldn't be around them while pregnant. I keep forgetting to ask my doctor and I can't find any medical advise about it on the internet. I was taking care of them for about 3 months before someone told me I shouldn't be. I've been recently back to caring for them, as my other half is proving useless. He said he would take care of them b/c he didn't want me near them, but every time I've checked on them, I've found them with no food and no water and their coop has been in less than desirable condition. I want to go back to taking care of them myself, but not if I'm really risking the baby. Anyone know???
So What Happened?™
Thanks everyone for the great advice. I'm going to try to stick to feeding and watering them and have my other half clean them. When I do clean them, I will wear gloves and a good mask. Thanks again everyone!!!
W.E. answers from Sacramento on February 22, 2009
I've never heard of chickens being a problem. cleaning out a cat box, yes, but chickens, no!! you could always wear one of those white paper masks if you're cleaning the nesting area or picking up poop. maybe your friends are concerned about you breathing in something from the poop, like that disease you can catch from breathing in rodent droppings (hantha virus?) it sounds like you take good care of them. the lack of info on the net makes me think its not a problem also. pregnant woman have tended chickens for hundreds of years, so i'm sure if there was a problem it would be known (like the cat litter thing). good luck and congrats on the baby!!
1 mom found this helpful
E.M. answers from San Francisco on January 07, 2010
i just wanted to respond to the person above me, who commented on using a dust type mask against fumes. those masks are for particles, not gasses. if you really are going into a coop with lots of ammonia in the air, i would recommend a real mask for gasses, such as this kind, made by 3m:
you will also have a get a cartridge specifically for the ammonia, like this:
but with that being said, i highly doubt you're going to need anything like that unless you're keeping a ton of chickens in a space with really bad ventilation. i am a metalsmith and i used one of these when i was using an ammonia based patina. it was seriously stinky (painful even), not just annoying.
and i'm also pregnant with chickens. thanks for asking this question!!
R.V. answers from San Francisco on February 23, 2009
I have never heard of anything related to this concern. I've been tending my 20 plus happy hens throughout my last three pregnancy's. You'll have so much fun when your little one can enjoy them too. Congradulations
B.R. answers from Sacramento on February 23, 2009
I've heard that cats can be a problem, but never anything about chickens. I'm sure that there are a certain amount of risks around any animals simply because of the feces and parasites that animals can carry, but as long as you are using reasonable cautions in caring for your chickens I can't imagine it being a huge problem. My mother had five successful pregnancies and four of those were while living and working on a farm where she was the caretaker for several hundred chickens, plus helped with the cows, pigs, sheep and horses. You should be fine.
G.B. answers from Boise on February 24, 2009
Chickens do carry some bacteria that can be transmitted, just as cat litter can transmit disease. I do believe as one lady said that it is the airborn amonia you need to look out for, it can cause respiratory infection and eye infection. Can you get hubby to clean the bedding and you do the feed and water? that way you don't have to breathe the airborm stuff. Or can you hire a kid down the street?
Also as important as gloves, are wearing a rubber boot over your shoes that is left at the entry of the coop when you are done, so the bacteria doesnt get tracked out of the coop.
E.V. answers from San Francisco on February 23, 2009
ditto on that. i cared for chickens while i was pregnant too. i think common sense..wash up after and maybe wear a mask if it makes you feel better while cleaning the poop. don't stress...good luck and eat those fresh eggs daily you lucky girl!
E.M. answers from Sacramento on February 23, 2009
So long as you wash your hands after caring for them, and don't eat uncooked or undercooked eggs, I can't see how caring for chickens is any different than caring for other pets. Even cats are okay to care for as long as you are conscientious about it.
Enjoy your chickens and your pregnancy! Congratulations!
N.D. answers from San Francisco on February 23, 2009
Hi D., There may be a problem with the feces or a virus they carry. I would use gloves when cleaning their cage. To find out the real story I would highly that you call the Teratogen Registry Hotline. It is free. They give information about exposures to medicines or other substances during pregnancy and what the effect may be on the baby. Here is their info
9500 Gilman Dr. #0828
La Jolla, CA 92093
Serves California, national callers pressing the Spanish-speaking option, and national calls routed from Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico
Open M-F 9-5 PST
Accepts calls from both public and health care providers
Handles all inquiries
The web site for California Teratogen site is http://www.ctispregnancy.org/
M.R. answers from Redding on February 23, 2009
hi D., i tended my 30+ chickens daily during my pregnancy...i even cleaned out the coop several times. i would wear gloves and a mask, change clothes and shower after. i'm fine and so is my baby. eat lots of eggs!!!!!
V.L. answers from Modesto on February 23, 2009
Apparently The ammonia from their poop can make you sick and you shoul be in a well ventelated area if you are around the chickens. Stay out of the hen house, and wash hands throughly if handeling them. I suggest wearing a dust type mask while you are around them so you are not breathing in any dangerous fumes.
The City Chicken
This is especially important for pregnant women. ... Chickens need ventilation so ammonia fumes from chicken poop doesn't build up. ...home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/frequentlyasked.html - 73k - Cached
L.R. answers from Sacramento on February 24, 2009
The concern about chickens is the risk of Salmonella. I would personally wait until after you deliver before caring for them again. Why risk it? Here is a link to a pdf from the CDC. www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pdf/intown_flocks.pdf
C.S. answers from San Francisco on February 23, 2009
Perhaps it has to do with the chicken feces? I'm not sure but certain diseases like toxoplasmosis and histoplasmosis can be carried to humans with exposure to feces on farms, etc. The organism often lies dormant but can actively attack and cause inflammation, like within the eye. Please consult your OB GYN though. It's often better safe than sorry when dealing with fetus development. Take care.
E.M. answers from San Francisco on February 23, 2009
I sure someone will tell you what the specific risks are...
But for how many centuries have women lived and birthed on farms, chickens and children everywhere.....
Wear gloves if you're worried about it.
P.M. answers from Bakersfield on February 23, 2009
hi, you can look up zoonotic poultry diseases online for any risk. I have a sick bird, and am researching if it is dangerous to eat her eggs-i know if u give them antibiotics you are not supposed to. but as for hens and pregnancy, i dont know, i only heard about cat boxes being risky of toxoplasmosis.