Sunday, March 31, 2013

Question for the Chicken Pro's: How Real is Salmonella Risk in Handling Your Chickens?

Back when I was a child raising chickens we never gave a second thought to the risks of Human Salmonella infection, and never did I or any member of my family become ill because of it.  However, now that I am reading everything I can get my hands on about raising chickens again, I keep seeing articles telling me how risky handling chickens can be for humans.

I just read an article on about Poultry Handling Safety Guidelines and they make it sound like chickens are practically toxic.  The article says that children under the age of 5 should not touch chickens at all.  They also said to not let Chickens inside your home, especially in bathrooms.  Not that I planned on having chickens in my house hanging out like my cats do, but I would have baby chicks inside if it were to be too cold for them outside.

An article on the CDC website seems to be saying that the high risks are related to baby chicks (and ducklings). However is says that these baby chicks can contaminate the coop and the grounds where they roam.  They didn't specifically say adult chickens, however if the babies contaminate everything, wouldn't the adults be able to carry and pass on this infection? 

So one question I would love an answer to from you chicken pro's is how do you clean out the coop and use that material in your garden/compost if everything that comes in contact with the chickens has a potential risk of contaminating you with Salmonella?  

Also, both of these articles say to not snuggle or kiss your birds....well I have fond memories of having my favorite chickens sit in my lap quite often and I have read many of your blog posts sharing stories of your chickens being sociable and sitting in your lap.  So are we expected to wear a HazMat suit when handling our chickens so they don't get Salmonella germs on our clothes???

Is Human Salmonella Infection really so much more of a higher risk these days?   Are chickens more Salmonella-ridden then they were several decades ago or have our immune systems become more susceptible to it?  Or are people just more paranoid about things these days?

Please share what you know about this issue and how you have dealt with it.

Keeper of 1 husband, 2 grandkids, 3 dogs,
3 cats, and 17 Chickens!
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Did this post stir something inside of you? If so, Please leave me a comment, I would love to know what you're thinking!!!


  1. Holly I don't know the answer to this but you raise good questions. I just wanted you to know this is the third post I've read of yours. You are a great writer and comminicator. Look forward to future posts.

  2. In the UK many of the chickens bought from chicken dealers are vaccinated against salmonella - all mine are. Salmonella has been a big thing in this country in the past!


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