Inquiring minds want to know!
There is absolutely no doubt that raising chickens comes with its own set of risks and health issues. In almost all cases, the health risks can be minimized with proper measures and safety practices. But even so… Can I get sick raising chickens?
Most health problems that people may experience from raising chickens are due to negligence, complacency or ignorance. This article will provide you several tips to help you keep the health risks low and other health related problems at bay so you won’t get sick raising chickens.
The biggest health concern when handling chickens is the risk of contracting Salmonella. It is very common for chickens to carry the Salmonella virus. This virus does not affect the chickens’ health but causes serious health problems to humans. Even chickens that are raised and fed organically can have the virus. But before the alarms start going off in your head, Salmonella in an established healthy flock of Backyard chickens is unlikely.
If you are ordering your chicks from a catalog, the chances of your chicks having some nasty bacteria in their droppings is much higher. The stress from their travel can affect these little chicks adversely.
Things you can do to prevent disease
Keep all your chickens and chicks in their own space. As cute as the chicks may be, do not allow them into the house and if your children are playing with the little chicks, make sure they wash their hands thoroughly with an a good long soap when they are done.
The health risks can be greatly minimized just by washing your hands with soap and water after coming in contact with the birds. All equipment used to raise the chickens should be washed in the backyard (or away from house and play areas) with boiling water to kill off any bacteria. Do not dump any of the equipment in your sink with the dishes for washing later. This is very risky.
One of the best ways to minimize health risks to yourself and your chickens is to keep their living conditions sanitary. There is no doubt that chickens are not exactly the cleanest of creatures and tend to poop and make a mess wherever they are. However, you should do your best to clean their areas daily and wash away any uneaten food and fecal matter. Do not overfeed them.
Things not do to prevent disease
Avoid eating and drinking near your chickens or the place where you raise them.
Do not try and use chicken feathers to make your own pillows. The salmonella virus can live on feathers, beaks and other parts of the chicken. You may be raising chickens for meat, eggs or just as pets. However, whatever the case may be, chickens absolutely must be kept outside the house and everything related to the chickens must be left outside the house.
Issues such as heavy worm load, coccidiosis, and other internal illness appear in the chicken’s droppings. Also, molting is identified much quicker with the use of drop pans. The down of the feathers often shed prior to the actual feather. Using a drop pan under their roosting area makes it easy to clean regularly.
If despite the best precautions you experience the following symptoms – Diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps and nausea… You definitely need to see a doctor quickly. Time is of the essence. The Salmonella virus can cause death if it spreads from the intestines to the blood stream.
That is a worst case scenario. If you follow the tips in this article, you should stay healthy and fine. Just remember, always wash your hands and if possible, your face with soap and water after every single time you come into contact with your chickens or their living area.