Choose Farm Animal Friendly Paints Says Paint Expert

Paint your Barn Red, but Use Animal Friendly Paints!

Poultry-Approved Paints and Livestock-Loving Lacquers

Many people are switching over to non-toxic paints and stains that are safe for humans but few actually stop and consider whether they’re humane for our animal friends. After all, there are sometimes as many four-legged inhabitants of a home as there are on two legs!

So, if you ask someone which paints are “livestock-safe” or “appropriate for chicken coops,” you’re likely to get more than a few blank stares and shrugged shoulders. The best response you might receive is “well, go with something that’s safe for kids.” And that would be good enough…sort of.

The truth is that there are paints, sealants and lacquers that are more appropriate for the unique needs of a fully-functioning farm. In fact, some are specially-designed with those specific concerns in mind and here are a few that you can stand behind.

Barn and Fence Paints

Farm animals will rub up against painted surfaces. Keep them healthy by choosing safe products.

Barn and fence paints are designed for just those things: barns and fences. But more important than the structures themselves are the things they house – everything from horses and cows to goats, sheep, pigs, poultry and more.

As living creatures, animals require clean air that isn’t laced with toxins and poisons the same as humans. The source of these toxic emissions is a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are detrimental to the environment, so when selecting paints for their pads and pens, go with low-VOC and zero-VOC paints and finishes.

Not only are these non-toxic options easy on the eyes, but they are also:

  • Healthier: fewer toxins mean cleaner air for all, especially folks and animals with allergies and chemical sensitivities.
  • Environmentally-Friendly: they reduce the contaminants found in landfills, groundwater and those depleting the ozone. Plus, since they are not deemed “hazardous waste,” cleanup and disposal is basically a cinch!
  • Effective and Efficient: these types of products stand up to their eco-unfriendly counterparts in terms of paint coverage (including the ability to scrub them clean and hide flaws from earlier coats).
  • Low Fuming: this is one of the most important aspects of these eco-friendlier paints where animals are concerned. There is low odor during application and no odor once it is dry. This means the areas can be occupied sooner and there will be no off-gassing in the future.

All of those aspects are great news if you’re one of the confined creatures on a farm – and help to make your home that much homier!

Here are three specific options you might consider when it comes time to paint your barn and surrounding items.

Lumber-Seal TriCoPolymer VOC Free, Non-Toxic Wood Sealer

This is a great multi-purpose, water-based “eco coating.” You can apply it during construction to protect against mold and water damage, or as a part of your maintenance routine to protect against rain (waterproof), sun (UV-resistant), decay and pests.

This lumber sealer can be applied to all types of wood, including green lumber (reduces the amount of splits, warps and twists), and treated lumber. Where treated lumber is concerned, the seal stops it from leaching chemicals and serves as a barrier between contact with humans, pets and plants alike!

BEHR Exterior Barn & Fence Paint

Home Depot Recommended for Farm Use

Combining the best of both worlds, this oil-latex formula is designed to protect barns, fences and sheds without shedding the element of beauty! It is self-priming and provides superior, long-lasting adhesion that penetrates quickly.

Once it dries, it is livestock-safe, mildew-resistant and protects against UV damage. Additionally, the resulting film is highly resistant to peeling, chipping, cracking, weathering and erosion. These qualities make this a great all-around choice for touching up your barn’s trim and providing complete coverage of walls, doors and slats.

Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane

This little beauty is the coating of choice for chicken coops across the board. Due to the oil base, it provides a clear, protective finish that blocks rain and moisture and works with the wood as it expands and contracts throughout the seasons.

Finally, it is relatively quick-drying (approximately 24 hours from start to finish) and allows a short turnaround in between coats (recoats can be applied in as little as 4-6 hours). This means your poultry need not be transplanted for more than a day or so and can return to roosting in no time!

What other livestock-safe and animal-friendly paint products have you come across?

Chris Long is a store associate at a Home Depot in the Chicago suburbs, where he has been helping customers since 2000. Chris also writes for the Home Depot website, providing advice to homeowners on everything from paint and painting supplies to doors and windows.


  1. Gayla Prewitt says:

    Love this! Thanks for a very informative article.

  2. Thank you for posting this. As someone who is just starting to get into farming there is a lot of basic things I can’t just make assumptions on ~ Like what paint to use.

  3. Can someone tell me a animal safe water protectant for feeding troughs for cattle?

    All replies will be appreciated


  4. Nancy Libby says:

    I am glad I found this. I just painted a coop with barn & fence non-toxic paint and didn’t realize that the chickens would peck at it. I now have some red painted streaked chickens as well. So, I was wondering if eating their eggs would still be ok!?!? I am thinking yes now. Thanks!

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