I read a thread in the past couple of days about dust in the coop but couldn't find it this morning (maybe just not enough coffee yet) This got me to thinking about histoplasmosis, which comes from bird and bat droppings. I honestly don't know why I didn't think about this sooner, as I've had parakeets years ago and am well aware of this infection (which can cause some serious health problems). I've never seen it mentioned here, of course I've only been a member a short time and can only visit sporadically so I may have missed it. Since I'm soon to be a new chicken keeper and I know there are many other "newbies" out there, I'm wondering how many of them and current chicken owners are aware of this infection and what if any precautions you take to limit exposure. Dust is one concern as well as outside ground becoming infected, but I suspect if you give your chickens plenty of room to roam and don't overcrowd and employ good cleaning practices the risk shouldn't be significant. What does concern me is exposure within the coop, since dust carries the infection as well (even in birds such as parakeets, canaries, etc), and from what little I've read dust seems to be a quite common problem in coops. I'm very glad I saw the thread about dust in the coop and that it jogged my memory. I wasn't considering nest boxes I could access from the outside, but now I think I am going to opt for them. I have small grandchildren and I know they would LOVE to help collect the eggs, but as youngsters are more susceptible as are older folks, I think I'll opt for that type of nestbox, to limit their exposure and my own as much as possible. I also intend to wear a mask when working inside the coop, as a precaution, and will insist that anyone that enters the coop wear one as well, just to be safe. I don't want to scare anyone off chickens (if that's possible) just wanted to mention it for those who aren't aware so they can be informed and make decisions that suit them.