Can the dust from chicks feathers really hurt you?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by P0U1TRYP3RS0N, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. P0U1TRYP3RS0N

    P0U1TRYP3RS0N Songster

    Mar 11, 2007
    I have a brood of silkies chicks I've been keeping in my bedroom. I've always noticed the "pixie dust" (as my brother and I jokingly call it) that chicks give off while getting their feathers, and we've had to dust out the shed where we brood the chicks in spring, and it's just everywhere! Anyways, I'm wondering after reading another post in which someone mentioned lung problems from birds, can that dust really hurt you? As I've said, the silkies have been living in my room for almost two months, so it worries me![​IMG]
  2. Justino

    Justino ♪♫ Rockin' Rooster ♪♫

    Dec 21, 2007
    ive also wondered this :|
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    No more than any other pet dander. Shedding dogs can be just as bad sometimes, I think.
  4. brooster

    brooster Songster

    Jun 14, 2007
    northwest Ohio
    Yes it can. My mom is a nurse, and i wanted a parakeet she talked to a lung doctor she works with and told her some lung disease it causes. When she gets home i will ask her about it and post it here.
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    As with any pet bird.. or any pets that have dander, it will be a respiratory irritant which can make you more susceptible to lung problems. It's like living in a dusty city or one filled with smog. More particles in the air, the worse it is on your system. It doesn't stop me though.
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Parakeets are not exactly the same as chickens, IMO, but naturally, if you let that type of dust build up in your house, it would cause problems! Here is what you may be talking about, brooster:

    Allergic Alveolitis
    Allergic alveolitis has a number of names among which include hypersensitivity pneumonitis, parakeet dander pneumoconiosis and pigeon lung disease. It occurs in people who are hypersensitive to feathers, feather dust, and fecal material -- especially from pigeons and budgies. Signs can occur within two years but often take as long as 10 - 20 years with continued exposure.

    It may occur in an acute, subacute or chronic form. The acute form occurs within 4 - 8 hours of inhalation of a high level of feathers, featherdust and/or feces. Coughing, difficulty breathing, chills and fever occur. If exposure is stopped at this time, no treatment is necessary and the signs will disappear. The subacute form results from long term exposure. A dry cough and progresssive breathing difficulty occur. This form may also be reversed if continued exposure is stopped. If continued exposure occurs, a chronic, nonreversible form occurs -- leading to progressive difficulty breathing, a dry cough and weight loss.

    Allergic alveolitis decreases lung capacity and causes impaired diffusion of air through the alveoli of the lungs.

    Although this disease is thought to occur in genetically predisposed individuals, one can take certain steps to minimize dander in the environment. These include cleaning cages daily, bathing birds frequently, avoiding overcrowding, providing good ventilation, and using an air purification system.​
  7. hypnofrogstevie

    hypnofrogstevie chick magnet

    Jul 12, 2007
    Newton NJ
    If its in the house you can usually open a window like I do and have a fan blowing out while dusting. If its outside I have the coop door open and clean it out
  8. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    Birds create many different kinds of dust. Most are harmless or just irritants.

    They do produce one type of dust, a byproduct of feathers, that can have the
    same effect as fiberglass particles or asbestos. These fine particles lodge themselves
    into lung tissue and will do damage. There is a condition called bird cough or something
    like it that afflicts people who have had LONG TERM exposure to birds. I have read,
    although I can't quote the source, people in this category have the same risk
    of lung cancer as smokers.

    Having broods of chickens in your house won't produce enough of this substance
    to do harm. I'd be more concerned with allergies and asthma.

    You have nothing to worry about with those silkies.

    Gotta do it: I would be concerned with those silkies getting out of the brooder
    and attacking you while you sleep. They are evil ya know.
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I think there's a difference in brooding some chicks in a room temporarily and living with parakeets in your house on a permanent basis.
  10. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    I have a duck in the house right now and I am sneezing and coughing up a storm. I know it is allergic reaction to the dander she is casting off.
    As soon as she is able to go back out, I will clear up. If I had her in the hosue long term, I would take better measures to protect myself.

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