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Discussion in 'Emergencies, Illness, Meds & Cures' started by Keith, Jun 20, 2012.
Anyone ever have issues or known someone who got Histoplasmosis from their chickens?
I've heard of it once, about 25 years ago.
I remember they were cleaning a rather lagre coop (not theirs) that was to be used on the garden that coming winter and I also remember they were both in the hospital for more than a little while.
That's one good thing about having your own small flock. If they are healthy to start with, they'll probably stay that way.
Likewise, if you choose a coop design that is self-cleaning you never have to shovel da poop, and so it stays out of your lungs.
I had not heard of this before, until I read the definition and then I remembered people talking about it in reference to caving...Ahhh...now I understand.
As for this "self-cleaning" coop...explain, this is another one I am unfamiliar with. We have a nice sized horse barn and the floor is dirt, well, layers of dirt and horse manure over the years, and we do clean it, but not frequently. We did have a very small temporary coop we had built prior to that and had to clean it often but it was a coop off the ground so we did not have a choice (it was this way because we live in very wet Western Oregon and felt they needed to be off the ground, but the big barn solved the concern for internal moisture causing problems).
A self-cleaning coop is simply one that does not collect guano. (If it doesn't pile up, you don't have to shovel it!)
Think of it as a floorless box. The guano goes straight to the ground, and has no other place to collect.
In my case, I have six hens, so my chicken-tractor coop is a barn-shaped box 36" X 36" X 19" at the peak.
That allows exactly 1 square foot of roost space for each hen. I have two roosts that run across the box just above the bottom edge, so everyone has a place to perch.
There is a chicken ladder that rises between the roosts so the hens can get in and out easily.
The roosts also lead directly into the two nest boxes, so the hens can go in & out easily there, too.
I think it's been 2 1/2 years since I built my Hen Haven Chicken Tractor. In that time I have not had to clean it at all. Ditto for the nests, which are also designed for low maintenance.
With the nests, I occasionally have to add a little grass, and sometimes have to remove a broken egg (three, to date), but they never get pooped in, and the eggs never get pecked. That's really just a matter of making them the right size & shape.
I'm a pretty good designer. (Brag-brag!)
The coop is floorless, but it can be closed at night if necessary by sliding floor panels. They accumulate some droppings overnight, but they are self-cleaning when opened, so they don't make any extra work. I'm in Florida, so I almost never have to close the coop.
The coop, BTW, sits on a 6' X 6' X 24" high run, giving the six hens more than the usual amount of roaming space, and the whole thing just trundles around like a wheelbarrow when I move it. The weight distribution worked out just right. The ground does all the heavy lifting.
My coop design can be adapted to other chicken tractors, of course.
Well, I have a dirt floor barn, but it is not moveable, so I guess it's just not the same as a chicken tractor. Thats ok, we don't mind cleaning it out, but it is not as often as it was when we had our little coop with a floor, that seemed it was almost daily. We are going for about once a month or so with this, the area is huge for the amount of chickens we have so it does not build up too fast. However, from what I have understood, old timers out here have told me the way to know if your area is not big enough for your flock is how often you're having to clean up, if it's a lot then you don't have enough space.
Histoplasmosis can be either mild, like the flu, or severe and in some cases affect your eyes. After MUCH research, here's the dealio. It is a fungus that lives in the soil. Not in the birds. Their body temp is too high to support the fungus. High-nitrogen poop, as in chickens, bats, some birds encourage growth of the fungus. Darkness helps too. When a dirt-floor coop is cleaned, you stir up all the stuff and breathe it in....Bingo. Now not necessarily and everyone does not get it....
Can you post some pics of your coop? Sounds awesome and all for less cleaning. Thanks.
I went to the eye Dr a few years ago, and he asked me if I had chickens or pet birds. I told him that my chickens ARE pet birds!! He said that the Hystoplasmosis is encapsulated in mucus in your system, and is harmless, unless I am given steriods, which breaks down the encapsulation, and causes it to run wild through your system, and to be sure to mention to any doctor that tries to give you steriods that you have chickens.
Neat sounding stuff, huh??
Here ya go--this is a drawing from my plan set, but it's got the main points.
The coop is just a bottomless box with frills.
The peaked top hinges open, and has a vent in the center. There is a "picture window" in the front wall. The nest boxes are on the back wall. The roosts run front to back and lead directly into the nest boxes.
The two flat wings slide inward to close the coop (seldom needed in FL) and give shade during the day (always needed in FL).
The coop sits on top of a 6'X6' covered run, and has roost & nesting space for exactly six chickens.
Not shown is the chicken ladder that comes up between the roosts in front of the nest box openings.
The nest box is a gem: it never needs to be cleaned out because of the shape & dimensions. If it ever were to need cleaning, the back wall hinges down, so it can be cleaned in seconds. The edge of the roof--which hinges up for egg removal--is just visible at this photo angle.
For reference, the coop is 3' X 3' X 19" tall at the peak. It's all 1/2" plywood, except for a few 1X2 cleats and the baluster roosts. And an old picture frame...
Fuzzibut, thanks so much for sharing that info. I iwll pass it on at our CHicken meetup tonight!