Do you have backyard chickens? Did you know they can make you sick?

Senior couple sitting on a bench watching their backyard chicken

Owning backyard chickens is becoming more and more popular. They produce eggs, eat pesky bugs, and make fun pets.Little boy is collecting eggs from the chicken coop with his grandfather on the farm.

So what’s the risk?

Chickens often carry germs that can make you sick. Chicken poop can be contaminated with germs like Salmonella and Campylobacter, which cause diarrhea and vomiting. These germs can be on their bodies, in their coops, in their feeding areas, and anywhere they roam. You can become sick if you touch chickens or their environment and then touch your mouth. The risk is especially high for young children, people over the age of 65, and people with weak immune systems.

How can you protect yourself?
  • Wash your hands well with soap and water after touching chickens, their environment, or after collecting eggs.
  • Keep chickens away from your face.
  • Don’t bring chickens inside your house.
  • Don’t eat, drink, or smoke when handling chickens.
  • Monitor children closely when they play with chickens, and help them wash their hands afterward.
  • Clean collected eggs with a cloth, and cook eggs well before eating them.

Contact CK Public Health at 519.355.1071 with any questions.

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