safe paint for chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by minister man, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. minister man

    minister man Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2010
    New Brunswick
    I went to my first poultry show! One of my silkies came in third. The most exciting part is that I met a fellow that breeds and has for years that said he would like to help me with learning about my breed and about breeding chickens in general. Since, as many of you know, I have asked alot of questions about breeding and have a tough time deciding, I have decided to at least start out his way.

    His way involves housing all the birds individually in 2x3x 2 cages, raised up off the cold floor, where a person can see them well, and handle them often. He says I need about 13 such cages. He uses slightly smaller and taller cages because he breeds black rose combs, but that is the size he told me to build.

    Anyhow, I want to paint the back wall behind the cages so that they are easier to keep clean.
    Is there a kind of paint that is safe to use in a chicken cage/pen? The silkies I am breeding are white, so i am wondering what colour back walls/ cages would show of the white birds the best?
  2. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm not a showperson in regard to chickens, but if it were me, and I was showing white chickens, I would use royal blue paint. Red I would not use at all because it can sort of blurr the wattles and combs. Black I don't like because it isn't a "showy" color. Yes, it's classy, but I don't think I would enjoy looking at chickens with black backgrounds. Black shows off a lot of ickies too...moreso than almost any other color. Chicken poop, dust, feed that's been flung, feather dust, etc.

    I would definitely use glossy or at the very least semi-glossy for ease of cleaning.

    I'd also spend a lot of time in this forum so you get the opinions of some chicken breeders and showmen/women instead of just the owners (like me):

    I'd also make sure to find out if there are a list of colors you can't use at the locations you intend on showing your chickens at. IE: Certain fairgrounds do not allow the use of the color red in any of their exhibition halls because of its tendency to cause aggressive behavior amongst certain species, so they just rule it out altogether. =/

    The reason people aren't supposed to use regular paint with birds is because of exotics IE: cockatiels, parakeets, parrots, etc. This is because they chew constantly on the cages - they use their beaks and their feet to move around and therefore they do ingest paint chips and get very sick. Chickens are okay around exterior paint - just not the fumes.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
  3. minister man

    minister man Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2010
    New Brunswick
    Thanks, the cages I am talking about will be built into my own "hen palace". They will be for breeding and housing the breeders. My mentor says if I group house, I won't know if they have feathers missing/ ruined or if they are deficent in some feathers. Makes sence to me.
  4. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ahhhh yes, I see. Like I said, I don't know about showing chickens.

    But...if I were you I might think about asking around some shows and other venues to see if anyone has had any luck with one color over another in regard to "happy breeding environment" (for lack of better terminology) than other colors. =)

    I do know that chickens are not color blind - they have extremely good vision and can see colors very that would be my only suggestion is to maybe (somehow) find out if chickens have a favorite color that keeps them calm/happy the most. I know red bulbs help on the calming aspect, but I'm not sure about red paint.

    I hope others see this and will have something more helpful to add! [​IMG]
  5. Red Barn Farms

    Red Barn Farms ~Friendly Fowl~

    Apr 12, 2012
    Kentucky Heartland
    I think your safest choice would be exterior acrylic latex paint. No paint today contains lead anyway. I think there would be more concern over the fumes. Just allow a good 24-48 hour drying time before introducing your chickens. Curing time is longer. You might want to go with a good primer before adding the latex though. That's a good option. Brand names of paint is a personal choice of course. I prefer Porter Paint or Benjamin Moore.

    One more suggestion. If you can find it, I'd go with a Hi-Gloss or Gloss to make cleaning easier. Stay away from satin and flat.

    Chickens are not color blind. Red attracts chickens. Ever wonder why feeders and waterers have a red base?
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
  6. makemineirish

    makemineirish Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 1, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I just started researching this myself. Great thread.

    Here are my thoughts/findings thus far. There is not a lot of information on "chicken"-friendly paint. Look up baby- friendly options for a nursery or eco-friendly options for the environment, and you will get a plethora of helpful information. The short of it is VOC's (volatile organic compounds), the fumes, are bad....even when you cannot smell them anymore. Studies have shown that they continue to leach out of paint for several years after application and have been found to be carcinogenic and/or linked to respiratory issues. I would think that a 1-7lb chicken, that is much closer to its walls than we are, would be at greater risk.

    Depending on where you are located and what your budget allows, there are a few options.

    Lowe's sells no-VOC paint by Olympic and Valspar. The Valspar comes in a asthma/allergy safe formula suitable for nurseries. I think that it is around $40ish/gallon.

    Clay paints are completely biodegradable and "breathe". They are recommended for stucco/adobe/new drywall houses because they do not interfere with evaporation or air exchange between the wall interior and outside.

    Casein paint made of milk protein is incredibly eco-friendly. However, I have yet to find information on whether a milk protein is a problem should the chickens peck it. Moreover, it usually comes in more pastel colors, which is not what you are looking for as a stark contrast to white.

    If you are looking for extreme durability/washability, Sherwin Williams just rolled out a new product in July. It is called "Emerald", and they offer it in both indoor and outdoor formulations. It has a higher acrylic content and is no-VOC post-colorant. That is important as many no-VOC paints are mislabeled. The PAINT may not have VOC's but the colorants that they tint it with are loaded with them. The Emerald is pricy at almost $70/gallon for interior (more for exterior), but they have semi-regular 40% off coupons if you sign up for email notifications of sales/discounts.

    I hope that this is helpful. I'll keep watching the thread for someone to chime in with some chicken-specific information.

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  7. CynVamp

    CynVamp New Egg

    Oct 26, 2012
    Sorry this is a bit long, but some info I found helpful on the matter:
    When researching pet and farm animal safe paint a while back, I discovered a product called Polywhey made by Vermont Natural coatings. It's absolutely amazing stuff!

    It's actually a wood sealant, so you can't get actual "paint colors"-just several wood tints (including one very dark) and clear, but I've read some people seal regular paint on barns and coops with clear Polywhey to make it horse and chicken safe (you may want to ask the company about that for sure though)

    My husband and I used it to seal all the wood of our organic vegetable raised gardens (since it won't taint the soil) to protect the lumber from the crazy weather here in Texas. I am shocked to say it has now survived two of the hottest summers on record, wicked spring rain, hail storms, high humidity, sleet and ice; and somehow the wood still looks like it was just treated! It's not cheap but not horribly expensive either, but in our opinion it's worth every penny and is the only sealant we use now.

    It's made from recycled whey and while it has a very slight odor at first, after it has dried fully, (about 2 days) we can't smell it at all. (and I'm super sensitive to chemical and paint odors!) They have an indoor formula and one for outdoors, and I used the indoor one on a large barnwood table in my art studio, and have had no odor from it at all, even after the door has been shut to that room for a while. Also love that the Polywhey comes in glossy, semi-glossy, and matte finishes, and doesn't "yellow" with time or from being in direct sun.

    Organic farmers and ranchers apparently use it all the time because it is "green" and is safe for wood in contact with soil, as well as barn/fence/coop safe. I know some people say regular paint is fine to use on the inside of coops, feeders, nesting boxes etc; but just last week our vet was telling us he has had many cases over the last few years of chickens dying after pecking at and eating small flecks and chips of regular house paint or wood sealants (new paints, not lead based) The most recent was a family who lost their three Dominique hens and Dom Roo. The necropsy on the flock showed all had small amounts of paint chips in their stomachs and intestines, and also found toxic levels of paint chemicals in their blood. I know after hearing that; we will only use something like Polywhey or leave wood bare anywhere that our animals will come in contact with it, just to be on the safe side. ;)

    If you google Polywhey Vermont Naturals it should take you right to them, and the website has a list of retailers in different states where you can buy their products. Luckily we had a furniture restoration company near us that sells it, but I think you can order it direct as well.

    Cyn :)
    1 person likes this.

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