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.