If you’re into the homestead movement or the grass-fed, grow-your-own foods movement that encourages you to raise poultry, you probably think you’re saving your family from the horrors of consuming processed foods, which have been linked to the development of serious health issues. But if you’re not careful you could be exposing your family to another type of food-related health issue, salmonella.
Most people know that handling raw eggs and chicken can result in a salmonella infection if you don’t take care to wash your hands and any dishes or surface area touched by these raw foods. But what many are unaware of is that salmonella doesn’t just live on raw eggs or chicken, this bacteria can be found on live chickens as well.
Salmonella is present in chicken poop and since chickens aren’t known for their use of Charmin Ultra following a number two session, even the cleanest chickens get poop on their claws or feathers. Although your poultry may appear clean, bacteria could be lurking on that cute little beak you like to rub. Salmonella can also spread to the cages, food bowls, hay, plants, grass, and soil. This is why it is imperative to wash your hands and to wash your children’s hands after handling chickens and chicks. You can also get salmonella without actually touching a chicken or their area simply by coming into contact with someone else who has been handling chickens.
Diarrhea, fever, vomiting and abdominal cramps are the most common symptoms of salmonella infection. Children under 5, adults over 65, and people with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to a severe case of salmonella.
How You Can Reduce the Risk of Spreading Salmonella
Don’t sell off your chicken just yet. There are several safety measures you can take to ensure you and your family are protected from salmonella infection. Learn about those steps and find links to other helpful resources regarding how to safely raise poultry in your backyard here.