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1 Month Old Chicks Eating Lead Paint in Barn Coop

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

I just placed my 1 month old chicks in their full size coop this past weekend and things had been going very well up until I checked on them tonight. To my dismay, I discovered an 8"x8" spot where they had completely stripped the paint off the wall and some of the wood underneath. This worries me a great deal because I have previously tested the wall for lead paint and got positive results. I thought I had remediated the problem with several sprayed on coats of exterior grade latex paint, but my dozen chicks have proven me wrong. 

 

Naturally I went down the blackhole that is the internet looking for information and I have come away even more panicked than before. Now admittedly, I do have a somewhat overdeveloped fear of lead and lead-based paints, but after reading some information about how lead stays in bodies and can present itself in the yolk of a chicken egg, I am concerned that:

 

(a) the dozen chicks I have and their future eggs are permanently contaminated

 

(b) that they may suffer some effects of lead poisoning - such as neurological troubles

 

(c) the coop that I invested a lot of time and money building is never going to be safe for them - it seemed like a 40'x40' barn would be the logical place to keep chickens! 

 

(d) even if the lead paint inside the barn is completely covered (say by covering with new wood), the soil outside the barn is also likely contaminated - leading to the question of just where is a safe place to raise chickens?!

 

This forum has been a wonderful resource as I have raised chicks for the first time and I'm hoping that you kind and helpful people  

can allay my fears some and perhaps offer advice on how to proceed. Any tips would be much appreciated, especially if you have dealt with a similar issue.

post #2 of 2

Welcome!  I'd be very concerned too, and I would be on the phone to my state poultry specialist (here in Michigan, at the state veterinary school path lab).  Many of us no doubt have had lead exposure because of the old buildings/ lead paint we've lived in over the years, and there's no 'safe' level of lead to avoid toxicity.  Covering over lead painted surfaces with new plywood or wood paneling of some sort makes sense, and adding several inches of gravel or soil to cover the ground sounds good too.  Birds are sometimes afflicted with lead poisoning;  typically, parrots in old cages painted with lead paint.  Good luck,  Mary

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