Owning Chickens (or other birds) and Lung Cancer

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by PolloAdoro, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. PolloAdoro

    PolloAdoro Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 1, 2010
    Conifer, Colorado
    What are your thoughts on this? I work in healthcare and have been told by sereval doctors that owning birds does increase your odds of developing lung cancer/respiratory issues. Today I had a patient that has lung cancer tell me they believe she acquired it in the 4 years she had chickens. It makes me nervous as recently I have been having some respiratory issues, but none of the doctors I have seen have asked me if I own chickens. I'm not trying to start a debate, but would love to hear your opinions. Thanks.
  2. cozycritters

    cozycritters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2008
    Tucson, Arizona
    I believe that it's not owning birds but having masses of uncleaned filth that gets into your lungs and does damage. Keeping things clean should avoid those problem.

    Likewise, if a littlerbox is never cleaned it can do damage...
  3. ChickLover98

    ChickLover98 The Chicken Princess

    Apr 24, 2010
    I think thats balogny... Its just my opinion. I have never heard THAT before!
  4. firedancer57

    firedancer57 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2010
    Lurking in the corner
    Quote:It is well known several Lung diseases' stem from keeping birds. Some birds produce a very fine powder to help keep them clean and waterproof, when the bird preens it is release into the air and when breathed in can produce respiratory problems like asbestos, cement powder etc. I know that this more problematic to people that keep parrots or similar bird friends. I'm not sure of the problem with chickens,Unless you're keeping a whole flock in the house. But really the problem is not with the birds, but with the filthy conditions they are kept in.
    I hope this helped. If you do a search on psittacosis or "Parrot Fever" I really think it would answer your question better.
  5. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    When you're cleaning out the henhouse wear a dust mask.
  6. kburen

    kburen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2008
    We've been brooding our chickens in my Fiance's house.....still don't have the coop ready. In the 7 weeks that we've had them....we've changed the air filter twice....I'm not surprised that it can cause issues...but I'm not so sure I believe that it can cause cancer.....
  7. kla37

    kla37 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2010
    Hillsborough, NC USA
    A.T. Hagan :

    When you're cleaning out the henhouse wear a dust mask.

    I started doing that recently. There sure is a lot of dust in there! I think cleaning it regularly is the best way to go, and keeping chickens outside would probably not have much to do with that, unless you have respiratory issues and don't wear a mask. I scoop the big poos every day and dump them in the compost heap, stir up the litter every day, and change the pine shavings every week or so. I haven't gotten sick. I think keeping birds inside would pose a bigger problem.​
  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Some people are extremely allergic to bird dander and can develop serious health problems with prolonged exposure. Do a search on pigeon lung disease for more information. I always use a cannister mask with special filters when cleaning my coops and lofts. I worked in the lab animal care industry and fully aware of exposure induced allergies. I would never raise chicks in a house especially where the very young or old were involved.
  9. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It's certainly true that chickens can cause lung issues, parrot fever being far from the only one. I've never seen a claim that lung cancer is among them, though. Trouble with that is, lung cancer sometimes occurs in people with no known risk factors, so it would take an awful lot of research to demonstrate that a connection is likely.
  10. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Tons of dust (poo and dirt) in the air, plus a bunch of ammonia... yeah that could cause problems... just as being around a concrete mixer (tends to stir up a lot of dirt) and huffing bleach every day can cause problems.

    I'd be curious to see if this person's parents had any lung issues, siblings too, and if any of them have birds or if she's the only one? Mom, Uncle, Gran all had/have lung problems and the only chicken they've been near is KFC... smokers all. Course the great great grands died young, no smoking but there was a coal mine.... there really are too many things to just point your finger and say Yup that did it. Particularly when there are thousands of people keeping a small flock, have been for hundreds of years (in this country) that never had a problem... combine with the workers who are in battery farms that don't have a problem... and really if anyone was going to I think it'd be them... *shrug*

    Really not enough data to know one way or the other, but IMHO it's hooey.

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