Horses in Chicken Barns with out the Chickens

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Well-Known Member
May 15, 2005
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Wainfleet, Ontario, Canada
There might be a farm going up for sale by us- the barn is an old chicken barn one of those one story orange barns- is there a problem housing horses in the old chicken barns? Diseases? Will the barn need to be disinfected and with what? It looks like it hasn't been used in years (5 +) We need to be able to move on this farm and make an offer so we need most of our questions answered as the small hobby farm in our price range are selling before we can get into see them?


We have chickens in our barn with no problems.
On the other side, I have a friend who lost to big draft horses to selmonilla after being housed in a old chicken barn.
Check with your local Extension Service and Veterinarian.

There are several diseases communicable between fowl and equines. I don't know how long they (the diseases) hang around (incubate/lie dormant) after the chickens are gone... I can't spell their names (of the diseases) either.. Some of the diseases are lethal...

Don't know if you can truly sterilize it enough to make it worth while.

I sure would not use a "chicken barn" for young horses at all... and most especially not for pregnant mares.

Could be totally off base here... again, check with the experts/authorities for a definitive answer.

Ashley said:
On the other side, I have a friend who lost to big draft horses to selmonilla after being housed in a old chicken barn.


Wild birds can also bring in salmonella, as can rats and mice. Short of killing every living thing, it will always be out there.

Personally I have never had any problems with this with my chickens. They were tested twice a year, as I sold the eggs and wanted to make sure. I did this for 10 years, not once did my Hens test positive for salmonella.
There are some around here that people use.

I would absolutely find out a lot about disinfecting it. I would most likely be doing something to the barn along that order. I don't see why you couldn't go in there and wash the walls down and then take a large spray gun and shoot something out of it and then replace the dirt. I'd put lime in it too. A lot of lime.

I don't know if this is the same kind you have there but around here there are some that are very very long and short. I can tell you that the only thing that I find wrong with these chicken barns is that here, they are very low.....I mean you can barely walk through them without banging your head and I would assume there is not a lot of oxygen flow in there like that.
Although Tony is able to let them cohabitate wih no problems, I found that when my chickens got in the barn they would take dust bathes in the stalls. (I have dirt stalls) Then my horses would lay down and roll in the area, and got the itchies, after that. They were rubbing all over the place, and I knew they had picked up lice or something, so I ended up dusting the with 7 powder, (horses and stalls) to get rid of the problem, and It wasent long after that , the barn chicken had to go. I still have chickens but they have their own fenced off area now.
Years ago when I had big horses, I wanted to board a couple for a short while. Their barn was the old chicken barn and my vet didn;t think it was a good idea, not neccessarily due to Samonela but because many time chicken and lice come hand in hand..just the way it is.

So I would check it out and do like already mentioned, check the place for lice etc in there if the sellers will allow.

If they want an offer to buy, it shouldn't be a problem for the seller.

Hey! Good luck! I hope it works out for you.

When I took my full-size mare out to be bred, about 10 years ago; the breeder had 3 or 4 free-range chickens in the barn to control bugs (worked pretty good). She didn't have any problems and my mare came home without any bugs or problems (she foaled a beautiful filly a year later). Just my experience with horses and chickens.
I think a few chickens in a barn as opposed to an actual poultry business where the chickens are comglomerated, raised and housed in a production barn can be different situation to some extent. I would also check with the ag. dept. in your township and possibly the realtor or sellers of the farm to see if indeed they used any special chemicals that can be harmful to horses and still live in the ground surface, and walls of the exsisting building after 5 years. My chickens have their own separate coops, however when we first moved here 16 yrs. ago they were free range, but I got icky picky after grabbing chicken poop with the flakes of hay I wanted to that did'nt work. I am also an "in it's place" kinda person, so "everyone" here on the farm has to have their own specialty areas to call home. Therefore chickens in the barn for me is a no go....they can come and browse and check things out if they want to, but they mainly stay in their coops or can go picking in the corrals for larvas. Works well for us. So IMO, better to be safe than sorry and check it out before hand. Good luck in looking for new property...thats always fun and exciting!
Chicken barns used for commercial purposes need to be 100% clean and disinfected between batches each and every time. There are several things used to clean poutlry barns. First is spray washing with power sprayers, This is after cleaning and scraping by hand or machine. Then is disinfected by use of Hydrogen peroxide which is available in one, fiftten and fifty five gallon sizes. There are other disenfectants available but the most cost effective is the peroxide based and only require a single application. Once cleaned they would be suitable for use by other animals. We have som English Game chickens that get in the barn once in awhile but its not a big issue.
My chickens (well, to be honest they weren't mine but they were in my yard) were never a problem, BUT after they went they left problems!!! Chicken mites (?) gosh I'm itching just remembering it!! I think, to be honest, unless I had met the people involved and was happy with the way they kept any animals (not just chickens) I would disinfect the barn anyway. Better safe than sorry.
Thanks- I have a call into our local agricultural minister- From the looks of the place it does not look inhabited or if it is I don't think they will be talking to anyone. It does look like a business that went under a while ago- I will have to wait until my realestate agent get confirmation that it is up for sale. We are only considering these barns for mini horses they look to be 7 feet + tall- evntallation will be a consideration- it does look like there are fans on either end- but that is all we can see from the road.

Thanks for the info- gave me some more questions to think about.

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