I live in a older suburban neighborhood. I recently moved and put my two...

Asked October 28, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT

I live in a older suburban neighborhood. I recently moved and put my two chickens in a fenced off area behind the garage. The house and garage are old and were repainted just prior to my moving in--they have definitely been painted with lead paint in the past, and after looking more thoroughly, I found a lot of paint chips on the ground inside the run. Most likely these are lead paint chips, and despite efforts to pick them up I saw a chicken eat a few. I'm currently getting a soil analysis done of the area inside the run to check lead levels. I've read that chickens with lead poisoning produce eggs high in lead. So...given that the chicken ate (lead) paint chips, are these eggs now contaminated? Since the chicken is no longer eating paint chips, will the lead leave the chicken's body after a period of time, or will it continue to produce contaminated eggs? And...if the soil itself is contaminated by lead (still waiting on results), is it unsafe to be consuming eggs since the chicken is consistently scratching and eating on that ground/pieces of that soil? Thank you!

Cuyahoga County Ohio

1 Response

Good afternoon,
I had a similiar question a couple of years ago. Here is the answer I received from the OSU Animal Science Department

"I would think most of the lead would end up in the shell, not in the egg. If any lead leaked over into the egg, I certainly don't think the level would be at all dangerous but I certainly don't want to say there would not be any lead in the egg." mike lilburn

So, we can't tell you for sure if the eggs that the hens produced have lead in them. This being said, if indeed your soil has a medium to high level of lead move the run, to avoid this problem in the future.