Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Ammonia: The Hidden Danger in the Coop

By Jennifer Roberts

We all like to think of the chicken coop as a place to unwind and relax, but did you know that there may be a hidden danger to you lurking in your chickens’ home?
When you open the coopdoor, egg basket in hand, are you hit with an acrid burning of the nose, lungs and throat? That my friend, is the signature trademark of ammonia.
Ammonia is naturally occurring in urine and manure. Most of us know that ammonia is harmful for our chickens, but we don’t realize that it is more than just an noxious odor for humans… in fact it is an extreme health hazard.

According to the New York State Department of Health, “Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia in air causes immediate burning of the nose, throat and respiratory tract. This can cause bronchiolar and alveolar edema, and airway destruction resulting in respiratory distress or failure. Inhalation of lower concentrations can cause coughing, and nose and throat irritation.”
The irritating and corrosive smell of the chemical is an adequate warning of its presence, but unfortunately the chemical causes a phenomenon known as “olfactory fatigue,” effectively reducing your awareness of the smell after prolonged exposure. This means that the longer you spend in the barn, the less you will smell it, and the more adverse affect it may have on your body.

Don’t think that adults are the only ones at risk. Be sure to check out the condition of the coop before you drop your kids in on egg duty. “Children exposed to the same concentrations of ammonia vapor as adults may receive a larger dose because they have greater lung surface area-to-body weight ratios and increased minute volumes-to-weight ratios,” reports the New York State Department of Health. “In addition, they may be exposed to higher concentrations than adults in the same location because of their shorter height and the higher concentrations of ammonia vapor initially found near the ground.”

Luckily there are ways that we can combat this caustic chemical. In addition to frequent coop cleaning and proper ventilation, consider the use of Koop Clean

This innovative chicken bedding is an all-natural, quality chicken bedding consisting of a chopped blend of hay and straw, combined with the unique superior odor-neutralizing ingredient, Sweet PDZ. The addition of Sweet PDZ effectively neutralizes the ammonia and other harmful odors; this helps your chicks and chickens (and you!) maintain their respiratory health.

Be sure to pick up a bag the next time you visit your local Paris Farmer’s Union Store!

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