Backyard poultry, such as chickens and ducks, can carry Salmonella germs even if they look healthy and clean. These germs can easily spread to anything in the areas where the poultry live and roam.
You can get sick from touching your backyard poultry or anything in their environment and then touching your mouth or food and swallowing Salmonella germs, according to the CDC.
In total, 884 illnesses have been reported from 48 states, and 158 people have been hospitalized. One in four sick people are children younger than 5 years.
What Backyard Flock Owners Should Do:
- Wash your hands
- Always wash your hands with soap and water immediately after touching backyard poultry, their eggs, or anything in the area where they live and roam.
- Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. Consider having hand sanitizer at your coop.
- Be safe around backyard flocks
- Don’t kiss or snuggle backyard poultry, and don’t eat or drink around them. This can spread Salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick.
- Keep your backyard flock and supplies you use to care for them (like feed containers and shoes you wear in the coop) outside of the house. You should also clean the supplies outside the house.
- Supervise kids around flocks
- Always supervise children around backyard poultry and make sure they wash their hands properly afterward.
- Don’t let children younger than 5 years touch chicks, ducklings, or other backyard poultry. Young children are more likely to get sick from germs like Salmonella.
- Handle eggs safely
- Collect eggs often. Eggs that sit in the nest can become dirty or break.
- Throw away cracked eggs. Germs on the shell can more easily enter the egg through a cracked shell.
- Rub off dirt on eggs with fine sandpaper, a brush, or a cloth. Don’t wash eggs because colder water can pull germs into the egg.
- Refrigerate eggs to keep them fresh and slow the growth of germs.
- Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm, and cook egg dishes to an internal temperature of 160°F to kill all germs.