The CDC wants chicken owners to know that in case you hadn't already realized it, kissing your chickens is a bad idea.
Having chickens in your backyard can be a great thing. They provide fresh eggs, you know just where the eggs came from, and chickens can even become friendly pets. But chickens also carry salmonella, and according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC), these salmonella outbreaks are growing in frequency with the increased number of chicken owners.
That's why the CDC wants chicken owners to be aware of the dangers that come with getting a little too....close with your chickens.
According to a CDC study on emerging infectious diseases, chickens are being treated as pets more and more often, and that close contact that owners have with their chickens may be contributing to the occurrence of salmonella. Chickens are known to shed salmonella bacteria, and a salmonella infection can make people very ill and can even cause death.
The CDC further investigated the relationships between chicken owners and their chickens and the increase in salmonella outbreaks. It discovered that chicken owners reported behaviors, such as kissing and cuddling chickens, surprisingly often.
Many owners also allowed their chickens to live in the house. Owners stated that they kept chickens in areas such as the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen, and even the bedroom. Some owners may have been unfamiliar with chicken husbandry and may have felt obligated to bring the chickens inside during cold nights to help them survive.
According to the CDC, chickens should never be brought into the house. The CDC recommends that owners do not kiss or cuddle their chickens, and advises that owners be vigilant about washing their hands after handling chickens. Parents should also carefully monitor children when they handle chickens.
This awareness and these careful practices can help to reduce the occurrence of salmonella.
Social media may be making us sick
During Hurricane Dorian, many people had chickens in their bathroom and there are a lot of images shared with folks having a snuggle with their birds. Always be cautious as salmonella cases are on the rise. There are over 1,000 cases this year of Salmonella according to the CDC.
Don't kiss backyard poultry! This goes for all poultry like ducklings too. It's way better to be safe than sorry and you don't want to get sick, and you also don't want to get rid of your backyard flock! It would be horrible to have to report an outbreak of salmonella. This may also force you to completely eliminate your backyard chickens.
Always wash your hands and if you need to bring some dawn to the coop and just wash them there if you think you'll forget. Hand washing is a 101 in chicken keeping. Watch for signs of stomach cramps too if you think kissing chickens is not a hobby you can just stop doing on a whim.
The centers for disease control and prevention are no messing around with this warning. It may be funny to kiss chickens and take pics for Facebook but it can also make you or the young children around you very ill. All poultry owners should also have a separate pair of shoes for the coop!
When you take care of poultry there are a lot of additional responsibilities!