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The snow continues to melt during the day and refreeze at night, creating a thick crust. It will be an interesting spring on the farm.
Today I wanted to pass along some important information for current chicken owners, and potential chicken owners. I think that I had heard about this issue before,though, tragically, it has happened again: and this time in New England.
Anybody who has ever cooped their chickens up at night in a safe space with a light, probably knows that there will be some degree of flying around to get to the “comfortable perching space” and it might take a few tries per chicken to get everybody happy at the same time. At some point during your chicken owning experience, wither you (while cleaning out the coop, or collecting eggs, or something) will bash your head on the light bulb and it will smash onto your head, or it will be smashed by a kamikaze chicken in search of a perch. So, you say, how many times will I allow that to happen? Glass and chickens are an unsafe mixture, and glass and human heads are pretty terrible, too.
Well, a farmer in New Hampshire found unbreakable light bulbs and installed those, to prevent such occurrences. They’re called “shatter-resistant.”
She also went out one morning to find her entire flock dead.
Whoa. What happened? When these shatter-resistant bulbs are used, they heat up, and if the glass wall of the bulb becomes hot enough the coating can release toxic fumes. Birds (such as chickens or other poultry) are very sensitive to airborne toxins and can die from the exposure to such fumes. This can happen quickly. The coating of the bulbs is made from a substance called PTFE, and is more commonly known as Teflon or Rulon. Here is the link to the book Veterinary Toxicology and their section on PTFE poisoning.
It is therefore horrifically ironic that Dalau, the largest polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) processor in the United Kingdom, has subsidiaries in New Hampshire, USA and in Düsseldorf, Germany, exporting to 35 countries around the world. I don’t know if Dalau made the coating that killed those specific chickens, but the creeping industrialization and irony was just too much for me.
This is not the first case of this terrible tragedy happening.
Please just use a cage around your light bulbs. Be careful with your birds.
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