Chickens are NOT House Pets

Chickens live in coops and barns, people live in houses. A rule that should be followed for good reason… but isn’t always.

Keeping a chicken in the house is absolutely definitely not okay! Nevertheless, people do it all the time. While you enjoy the benefits of backyard chickens and other poultry, it is important to consider the risk of illness, especially for children, which can result from handling live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam.

I’ve seen chick brooders in kitchens, family rooms, even in bedrooms where a children sleep. Worse yet, there are pics of mature chickens all over the internet roaming free in family households. Even a short visit from a curious chicken that wanders through an open back door tells me there are serious flaws in a chicken keeper’s set-up.

There should always be what I call a clean area between the coop and a family home. There shouldn’t be a trace of chicken poop in the clean area, not even from your footwear. It’s a good practice to leave your boots outside the clean area, this will help keep contaminants at bay. Poultry droppings should never be present where they can be tracked into the house or where children play.

As far as baby chicks go, they don’t need to be inside your home. Radiant heat or a heat lamp in a garage or barn that protects them from drafts is perfectly suitable.  If it isn’t, then chicks are being purchased at the wrong time of the year. Buy in the spring when it’s easier to manage temperatures.

You can never be sure chicks shipped from hatcheries are healthy. In a recent outbreak, more than 350 people were infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport, or Salmonella Hadar across 43 states, 33% were hospitalized. The majority of these cases were from mail-order chicks shipped to backyard chicken keepers.

Whether chicks from a hatchery, the neighbors pampered flock, or your very own birds, be safe, responsible, keep them in their own area, and out of the family home.

Fact…

People get sick from Salmonella by hand to mouth contact. Usually this happens when people handle birds or their droppings and then accidentally touch their mouths or forget to wash their hands before eating or drinking.
Even birds that do not look sick may be shedding Salmonella. And even though a bird looks clean, it may still have germs like Salmonella on its feathers or feet.

Safety Tips for Poultry Keepers

  • Don’t let children younger than 5 years of age, older adults, or people with weak immune systems handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry.
  • Don’t eat or drink in the area where the birds live or roam.
  • Don’t let live poultry inside the house, in bathrooms, or especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens or outdoor patios.In recent outbreaks of Salmonella infections linked to contact with live poultry, ill people reported bringing live poultry into their homes.

Disinfectants for Good Poultry Housekeeping

• Roccal®: Mix 1/2 fluid oz of Roccal per gallon of water.
• Nolvasan® (chlorhexidine diacetate 2 percent): Mix
• 3 fluid oz of Nolvasan per gallon of water.
• Household bleach (sodium hypochlorite 6 percent):
• Mix 3/4 cup of household bleach per gallon of water.
• Lysol® spray for footwear
• Purell® hand pump for hand disinfection

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Stay Healthy, Practice Good Chicken Keeping

We all know the risks of salmonella and how important it is to keep chickens and chicken items in their own area. Seriously, do we really practice it?  There should be a designated clean area around our house where chickens, our boots, rakes, etc never end up. We shouldn’t drink our morning coffee when tending to the chickens. Okay, I’m guilty, and I’ll bet I’m not alone.  So lets take another look at how to be responsible chicken keepers, got a couple minutes to keep your family safe? 🙂

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An increasing number of people around the country are choosing to keep live poultry, such as chickens or ducks, as part of a greener, healthier lifestyle. While you enjoy the benefits of backyard chickens and other poultry, it is important to consider the risk of illness, especially for children, which can result from handling live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Learn More

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Nesting Box Ideas

This looks like the caliber of a Donald Trump chicken coop, but there’s something here that could easily be incorporated into a coop owned by the rest  of us more common folk. I like the natural tree branch perches, and the best part is they’re free!  Just an idea… and I think our birds would appreciate them too.

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Backyard Biosecurity, Healthy Chicken Keeping

Backyard biosecurity means doing everything you can to protect your birds from disease. As a bird owner, keeping your birds healthy is a top priority. Your birds can become sick or die from exposure to just a few unseen bacteria, viruses,or parasites. In a single day, these germs can multiply and infect all your birds. However, by practicing backyard biosecurity, you can keep your birds healthy.
If you follow these basic tips and make them part of your routine, you decrease the risk of disease entering your flock and persisting in soil, droppings, and debris. Practicing biosecurity is an investment in the health of your birds.

When You Suspect Disease

Do not wait to report unusual signs of disease or unexpected deaths among your birds. Call your agricultural extension agent, local veterinarian, the State Veterinarian, or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Veterinary Services office.
USDA operates a toll-free hotline: (1–866–536–7593) with veterinarians to help you. USDA wants to test sick birds to make sure they do not have a serious poultry disease.

There is no charge for USDA veterinarians to work with you to conduct a disease investigation. Early reporting is important to protecting the health of your birds!

Disinfect

Cleaning and disinfecting is one of the most important steps you can take in practicing backyard biosecurity.
Below are some examples of disinfectants available on the market. Follow the directions on the label carefully for the best results.Thoroughly clean and scrub objects before applying
disinfectants. Disinfectants cannot work on top of caked-on dirt and manure, so thoroughly wash surfaces before disinfecting.
Apply disinfectants using brushes, sponges and spray units. Allow adequate contact time (follow manufacturer’s instructions.)
Dispose of used disinfectant according to local regulations.

Examples of Disinfectants

  • Roccal®: Mix 1/2 fluid oz of Roccal per gallon of water.
  • Nolvasan® (chlorhexidine diacetate 2 percent): Mix
  • 3 fluid oz of Nolvasan per gallon of water.
  • Household bleach (sodium hypochlorite 6 percent):
  • Mix 3/4 cup of household bleach per gallon of water.
  • Lysol® spray for footwear
  • Purell® hand pump for hand disinfection

Source: United States Dept. of Agriculture

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