Do you wear a face mask to clean a backyard coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bawkbawkbawk, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Songster 9 Years

    I was interviewing a potential house sitter who has never dealt with chickens before. She house sits for a friend of mine who keeps some doves in an aviary and she said that she always wears a face mask when she cleans the dove cage. I got the impression that she thinks she should also wear one when she is cleaning my coop.

    I only have five hens in a 6' x 10' coop with an adjoining 10' x 24' pen. We are in southern California, temperate weather year 'round. I wipe down the roost bars, etc. every day to keep dust from accumulating and I've never felt the need for a face mask but since it has never occurred to me before I thought I should ask about it. Should face masks be used when cleaning a coop?
    1 person likes this.
  2. familyfarm1

    familyfarm1 Crowing

    Jun 9, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    I've never ever, ever, ever, ever used a face mask while cleaning out the chicken coop in all the years of having chickens. If you feel fine doing it without a mask and nothing has happened then I don't see any need to where one. Some people may feel more comfortable using it [​IMG]. It also sounds like you keep your chicken coop very clean.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  3. UrbanFarmOC

    UrbanFarmOC Songster

    Jun 9, 2014
    Southern California
    I do because of my propensity to react to allergens and I have asthma too. There will always be lots of dust and dander in the coop, no matter how much you wipe it down. Just stepping on the floors can stir up dust, no matter what kind of flooring you have, though some types will be dustier than others. It might not bother some, but it might bother others. I use deep litter method with straw, so whenever I turn or clean the litter, I definitely wear a mask. I also wear a mask when I fill their food (use 4'-5' long 4" diameter pvc pipes), since that gets dusty too.
  4. lovepeeps

    lovepeeps Chirping

    Apr 28, 2014
    I wear one whenever I scoop the poop tray. I noticed a lot of dust floating upward and know it can be inhaled. I am a nurse and have taken care of people in the ICU before with respiratory infections from birds. One patient died. How sad for his family. So I went to Lowes and bought a filter mask. It loops behind the ears and there were 2 in the pack. I think anyone who has asthma or allergies or any other lung disease would be prudent to do so.
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road 5 Years

    Nov 7, 2012
    If I don't wear a mask when working in the coop, I will pay for it for days afterwards. I have reactive airway disease. Now, my recommendation is, even if it doesn't bother you now, you would be wise to wear a mask when cleaning your coop. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Hubby has just ordered a high quality mask for me, and I intend to use it for coop maintenance. if I'm just going in to feed or collect eggs, I don't wear a mask, but if I'm in there for any length of time, or cleaning, a mask is part of the uniform!
  6. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Enabler Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    I agree there is a lot of dust in a coop. I use one. It is a bummer in the summer since it is already so hot but I try to do the cleaning very early to avoid the heat.
  7. Curlyginger

    Curlyginger Chirping

    Jun 14, 2014
    I do a daily poop scoop and a full clean out every other week, alternating weeks with a run rake out. I don't wear a mask for the daily poop scoop, but I do wear one for raking the run and doing the full coop clean out.
  8. tracecom

    tracecom Songster

    Jan 16, 2010
    I have recently started wearing one after developing a cough the day after cleaning. It seems to help. And don't forget: all odors are particulate.
  9. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Crowing 5 Years

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    Personally I have 65 trips around the sun. I do not wear a face mask or never did when cleaning my coop or loft (I think I cleaned more coops than the average person). That being said my coop and loft set up is so that I do my heavy cleaning during the winter when the poop is frozen I employ a lot of tarps and vinyl flooring that allow poop to just peel off in large pancakes when it collects. I been taught that cleanliness is next to Godliness that being established lets just say on best day my coop is a far cry from a hospital. I feel frozen or dry harden poop is of no health risk

    I have no real health issues and if I were a bit wiser I probably would wear a dusk mask when I clean the coop for all they cost. I think I will make a New Year's resolution. I would definitely recommend a mask to any one who suffers from allergies or health issues. Then again if we were all intelligent people for the sake of loose change to purchase a dusk mask.

    Why take the chance???

    We had one woman in my province who died from inhaling pigeon dandruff not long ago.
    Here is a link explaining the dangers:
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015
  10. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Songster 9 Years

    Thanks to all for these thoughtful replies. I have learned a lot!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: