Chickens ate Pink Insulation - Are my girls and their eggs ok ???!!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CHICKENCHARLENE, Feb 8, 2010.



    Oct 27, 2009
    Hi fellow backyard chicken farmers,

    I'm in a dilemma and need some help. I'm a first time BY chicken owner of 5 Rhode Island Reds. Living in Canada, I built the coop very sturdy and insulated with fiberglass pink insulation. While I thought that I had covered up most of the areas where the insulation was exposed, lone behold there was a spot that was hidden where the chickens, while high on their roosts, could reach up and grab the insulation. Unfortunately, by the time I had realized they had been eating it, they had chomped-down a good 2' x 2' piece of insulation.
    I have caught them eating some since then, and they seem to enjoy it.. so I'm quite worried for a couple of reasons.

    While they all seem very healthy, as I keep their coop, water and food very clean, I'm not sure what this will do to them. Their 'poop' seems fine and haven't seen any traces of 'pink' fibers in it. I think they are going to be fine. My big concern however, are the eggs. These girls just started laying about a month ago and we just started to eat them (my family). Since I found out about the fiberglass, we're collecting, but not eating them any more for fear that they are 'contaminated'. I did some research online with the manufacturer of the insulation. Apparently, fiberglass pink is comprised of 5% formaldehyde used to bind the fibers. I also found that it is a known carcinogen with rats, etc..

    I'm not sure what to do. The proverbial wind has been taken out of my sails as the idea of having our own chickens was to avoid this kind of contamination.. I feel irresponsible a bit, as I perhaps should have closed up the exposed insulation better.. I honestly never thought they would eat this stuff, being a first time chicken owner.. So I ask, what should I do ?? Throw out these beautiful eggs we have been waiting so long for ?? Does anybody know if ingesting this stuff could have long term effects on the chickens and/or contaminate the eggs ?? If so, what should I do with my girls ?? Perhaps I am over-reacting, but when you know they ate this stuff, you want to make sure.. Everyone's advise would really be appreciated!!!!!

  2. I'm pretty new to chicken keeping myself so I don't have any advice to offer but I did want to
    bump this up for you so maybe someone with more experience than I have will see it and be
    able to offer some help. Good luck!!!
  3. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    Oh the joy of chicken-keeping! For some reason they seem drawn to any kind of insulation. I would throw the eggs out for a few days, make sure everything is covered up, and not worry too much about it.
  4. Bedste

    Bedste Songster

    Aug 17, 2009
    Cut n Shoot Texas
    and maybe give them a dropper full of olive oil to help lubricate the crop


    Oct 27, 2009
    Thanks for your suggestions.. I guess it's just kindof freaks me out as I don't want to essentially be eating insulation myself.. haha.. I appreciate you forwarding along my post to others that may have some more experience with this.. Have you ever heard of eggs being affected negatively by some of the stuff they curiously eat ??

    Much thx..
  6. Quadog

    Quadog Songster

    Oct 7, 2009
    They will lay those styrofoam eggs that you see in Easter Baskets. [​IMG]

    Seriously though, Mine ate a whole wall of styrofoam. They will not digest it & they will pass it. It will not affect the eggs.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  7. Player Hater

    Player Hater Songster

    Feb 8, 2010
    Those birdbrains.. [​IMG]

    That's a whole heck of a lot of insulation... If a person ate that much I think they would need to go to the hospital... Maybe you could call a vet and ask what you should do...
  8. eggchel

    eggchel Crowing

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    It is likely that since they've been eating the insulation for a while and you've been eating their eggs ...... the horse is already out of the barn, so to speak.
    It is also quite possible that their livers and kidneys filtered out the formaldehyde.
    However, being squeamish myself about eating anything that could be contaminated with chemicals, I understand your concerns and suggest that to ease your own fears, you could skip eating the eggs for the next couple weeks so that any eggs in the process of forming would be passed through their system.

    You could call a vet, or a teaching university (with a vet college) and ask them whether the formaldehyde would get into the eggs. Or call the manufacturer?

    Anyway, this would be a good time to collect eggs, blow them out, wash them, and set them aside to decorate for Easter. If you celebrate Easter, that is.


    Oct 27, 2009
    Thanks very much for all your advise! It does ease my mind that some of you have experienced your chickens eating things they shouldn't have. I also think that I will call a local vet or college - there is a very well known agricultural (vet) university close by that may be able to assist - thanks for that suggestion btw.. It's a shame, but they are some nice big brown eggs, and over the last couple of weeks, I have collected well over a dozen. I suppose I will take the advise of blowing them out for Easter, just to be sure. I'll also find out how long this may stay in their systems. When I find out, I'll let you all know, in case some of your flocks get curious and eat something they perhaps shouldn't be. At the end of the day, over all these years of eating store-bought eggs, who knows what kind of chemicals have been ingested, as I'm sure large scale egg production facilities are likely not as diligent about watching everything their hens are eating as perhaps we are.. Thanks again! J
  10. theFox

    theFox Songster

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Actually CHICKENCHARLENE the large scale chicken farms are very diligent about what their chickens get to eat, the issue there is that they feed them a healthy (or otherwise) dose of antibiotics and other things that by themselves wouldn't always be a problem but the side effects of doing so leave you exposed to other things that can be a problem.

    I don't believe that fiberglass or formaldehyde would even get close to those birds as they are generally caged and don't have any way of getting to things other than what is put into their feeders or otherwise in the cage.

    Every book on building a coop that I've read warns about not having any loose building material where the birds can peck at it.

    After all they are omnivores and it has become very difficult for them to get their primary food the ever diminishing crop of Dodge Omnis spells certain disaster for them.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2010

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