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Believe it or not there are local laws and regulations about backyard chickens.
By: Samantha Cooper
Cute and fluffy and often calling your name in the local farm shops each spring the chirps and pips make us say awww, and we immediately have dreams of the farm life right in our own backyard.
Many people are not aware of the real work and potential health concerns that come with having backyard chickens – like Salmonella. As a child I was certainly not aware but am thankful that my parents taught us the real threats that could potentially leave us so ill that we would have to be hospitalized and in the very worst case scenario even die from complications.
Since the year 2000 there have been 4,794 incidences of Salmonella illness linked directly to backyard chickens, of those 894 have been hospitalized, and unfortunately, 7 died from the illness. And we are neck deep in yet another outbreak.
First things first, the little baby chicks do turn into pretty messy and sometimes large animals. The gender selection can be wrong and you might end up with a pack of roosters instead of the egg laying hens that you were expecting.
There are some serious health rules to follow when having backyard chickens, too. We ALWAYS had what we called barn shoes and to this day we have them. Those were shoes that were absolutely never worn indoors. They were also cleaned very well. Salmonella and other illnesses can be tracked throughout your home if you wore those shoes inside, and honestly, who wants that?
Did you know that kids under the age of 5 should not handle live poultry? This also goes for the immunocompromised and elderly as well. While many expecting mothers handle live poultry; they must also take caution. Many people assume that live poultry just means chickens, but this also includes ducks, geese, and turkeys, too.
No matter how short your handling of the birds was, wash your hands. Supervise children while they wash and teach proper washing techniques. If you are not somewhere that hot water and soap is readily available, then use hand sanitizer.
Do not allow the birds to touch your face, and please for the love of all things feathered do not kiss or cuddle them.
For expanded coverage, read The Lange Law Firm's full article Stop Cuddling Chickens! They Have Salmonella!.
For insights into food safety, read The Lange Law Firm's blog Make Food Safe.