Keeping chickens while pregnant: Precautions and hygiene

Though yes can be the shortest answer to the question about the safety of keeping chickens while pregnant but you will have to take extra precautions in this regard. Chickens are kept by humans even during pregnancy for thousands of years.

But due to increasing awareness about bacteria and germs, it has become necessary to be extra careful to ensure the safety of the growing baby and the mother during pregnancy, especially while coop cleaning when pregnant, so…

You can safely keep chickens while pregnant as long as you take certain precautions and practice sufficient hygiene especially while cleaning the coop.

The main reason behind being more careful, while keeping chickens while pregnant, is that chickens can have various diseases. These diseases can be transferred easily to humans, especially pregnant women when they frequently come in their contact. Thus by using the best practices you can reduce or avoid this risk out rightly.

In this write-up, we are going to discuss some of the health problems caused by keeping chickens while pregnant and the precautions which can be taken to avoid such health issues.


Health problems caused by keeping chickens during pregnancy

It is necessary to be aware of the health problems that can be possible when you are keeping chickens while pregnant. Though, these health issues can rarely occur in humans but the risk can increase for pregnant women and the babies growing in their womb. You can reduce the chances of these health problems if you know about them.


1. Respiratory Diseases

These are among the most possible health problems that can occur whilst keep chickens while pregnant. While making a coop for housing chicken it is very important to provide extensive ventilation to reduce warmth and wetness in their coop which can grow viruses and bacteria causing respiratory diseases.

Want to learn more? You can see my complete guide to respiratory diseases in chickens here…


2. Toxoplasmosis

The excrement from chickens in their coops can increase the risk of this health problem for pregnant women when they are exposed to it during pregnancy. In many studies, strains of less severe and destructive toxoplasmosis infection are easily found in chickens but in rare cases, they can affect humans negatively.

So instead of avoiding it, it is necessary to take all the precautions when keeping chickens while pregnant as accidental exposure to their excrement can expose them to this health problem.

Here in Denmark, where I live, the most common route of infection with Toxoplasmosis in humans are from un-cleaned vegetables. Not from animals.


3. Salmonella

It is another common health problem that can cause while working with chickens. Salmonella is a bacteria found on the eggs, droppings as well as anything that comes in contact with the mouth of an infected chicken. When a healthy person comes in contact with this bacteria she can fall sick for a long time. This infection might be riskier for pregnant women.

Salmonella is found in the chicken’s droppings and therefore in the ground, on the outside of the eggs, and in the feathers. Heat (like boiling) will kill the bacteria as well as dry. As the chicken dust bath, it will take care of the majority of the bacteria.

A very moist ground and a humid coop will increase the risk of the bacteria spreading and infecting humans.

Keeping proper hygiene with a thorough handwash (and wrist wash) and proper preparation of your food will keep you safe.


Cleanliness issues

There can be some health problems even if you have kept chicken coops extremely clean but coop cleaning when pregnant can reduce the risk of problems caused by broken eggs and excrement.

So it can be safe for pregnant women to take care of the general cleanliness of the chicken coops. While cleaning the coop you must wear protective gear as cleaning chicken dropping is a horrible task.

You can inhale airborne particles of excrement or pathogens in them can get into your protective gear. So coops should not be cleaned by pregnant women – let your husband do it 😉


Precautions to be taken while keeping chicken during pregnancy

You can considerably reduce the risk of health problems when keeping chicken while pregnant. You can easily avoid the possibilities of illness caused by exposure to the excrement of chickens by following the steps discussed hereunder.


1. Practice Hygiene And Safety Steps Sensibly

To prevent exposure to illness-causing elements found in the droppings of chickens as well as in the yolk of cracked or broken eggs you must wear gloves, clothing, and boots that can cover your legs and arms effectively.

While entering your home you must ensure to take off your dirty clothes and boots outside your home to avoid infestation of viruses and bacteria in your home.

You should take off your boots and clothes in the garage or backyard and reduce the risk of any health problem you should ensure that they are properly cleaned before using them again.

If your dirty clothes are to be cleaned in your home then you should bring them in a bag made of thick plastic to avoid exposure to your house as well as the person cleaning them from these dangerous elements. So before washing them you must cover your legs and arms properly with clothing and gloves etc.


2. Buy Chicken From A Reputable Hatchery

For keeping chicken while pregnant it is necessary to buy chickens from a reliable and reputed source. You can considerably reduce the risk of health problems caused by chicken droppings when you know that they are bought from the coops of a trustworthy and well-known hatchery. It can reduce the chances of illnesses like Salmonella or Toxoplasmosis etc.

You can easily eliminate the chances of transmission of chicken pathogens to humans as well as other chickens when you know that they have been purchased from a disease-free environment.


In case of illness contact your physician

Sometimes you can get ill due to exposure to chicken droppings or the yolk of broken eggs, even after taking every possible precaution. It can be due to coop cleaning when pregnant. In such a situation, instead of wasting time, you should contact your doctor as soon as you start feeling sick.

If you are experiencing extreme fever or vomiting excessively as compared to morning sickness during pregnancy then you should either visit an emergency room or contact your doctor as soon as possible.

It can ensure the safety of pregnant women even if they are not sick due to their exposure to their chickens, especially when they are keeping chickens while pregnant.



So, it is possible to keeping chicken while pregnant if someone starts or continues this practice even during her pregnancy. But to avoid the health risks attached to it for pregnant women can be avoided by taking some careful steps strictly.

They should be more careful while coop cleaning when pregnant as it can increase the risk of exposure to the notorious elements in the chicken droppings as well as in the yolk of broken or cracked eggs.