A Note About Chick Handling and Salmonella

With the rise in popularity of backyard poultry, the Centers for Disease Control is seeing a rise in reports of salmonella. Salmonella can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or abdominal cramping in humans. The illness can range from mild to life threatening. The biggest tool you have in preventing salmonella is proper hand washing techniques. Chicks, ducklings, goslings, and turkey poults are irresistible for children and adults alike. Handling them is perfectly fine (though due to stress issues, I would limit it, especially in the first week or so) as long as your hands are washed well with soap and warm water afterwards. Do not snuggle or kiss the birds. Do not eat or drink around the birds. Children younger than 5 years of age, the elderly and people with a compromised immune system should refrain from handling chicks. For more information, see the CDCs website at http://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellababybirds/ for more information.