High egg prices may tempt you to start your own backyard flock, but chickens carry some health risks



With egg costs rising, extra folks could also be searching for their very own yard rooster flock.

However earlier than you construct a coop and subscribe to Rooster Whisperer, well being specialists have a warning: Caring for yard chickens isn’t as simple as bringing residence a cute new kitten, and protecting chickens can include a handful of significant well being dangers, in accordance with the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

It’s essential to take further precautions when dealing with the chickens and their eggs.

“Yard poultry particularly can have salmonella germs of their poop and on their our bodies, even once they look wholesome and clear,” mentioned Dr. Kathy Benedict, a veterinarian epidemiologist with the CDC.

The micro organism can reside on the chook’s beak, feathers or toes, in addition to of their digestive tract, and may unfold to the areas round the place the birds reside and onto an individual’s garments, palms or footwear. This could get the folks round them sick.

Simply over the previous 12 months, there have been a number of multistate salmonella outbreaks. Yard flocks have been related to at the very least 1,200 folks getting sick with salmonella, Benedict mentioned.

No less than 225 folks had been hospitalized and there have been two deaths related to yard poultry in 2022 alone.

“That’s been taking place over the past a number of years, at the very least a thousand instances have been reported every year,” Benedict mentioned. “We count on that there’s many greater than that that don’t essentially get reported to public well being.”

Chickens can even expose folks to the campylobacter micro organism.

Neither micro organism sometimes makes the chook sick, however each could cause diarrhea, fever and abdomen cramps in folks.

Benedict mentioned individuals who have weakened immune programs, together with folks with ailments like most cancers, diabetes, kidney or liver issues, in addition to younger youngsters, have to take further care round yard chickens since they’ll expertise extra extreme sickness in the event that they turn into contaminated.

Should you resolve to get your personal chickens, the CDC cautious dad and mom to maintain their youngsters below the age of 5 from touching the animals. With older youngsters, dad and mom ought to supervise their interplay. The chicks could also be cute, however little youngsters particularly are more likely to get sick with salmonella as a result of their immune programs are nonetheless creating.

“Don’t kiss or snuggle your yard poultry, don’t eat or drink round them,” Benedict suggested.

Yard birds and their accoutrement ought to keep within the yard and out of the home to maintain the micro organism confined to the place the birds reside.

Folks might also need to maintain “coop footwear” – footwear that you just use completely if you work together with the chickens. Be sure you take them off earlier than going again in the home, so that you don’t monitor the micro organism inside.

At all times wash your palms after touching the chickens and even maintain hand sanitizer outdoors the place you possibly can disinfect your palms earlier than going inside.

So far as dealing with the rooster’s eggs, folks ought to accumulate them instantly and never allow them to sit within the nest, since they’ll turn into soiled or break. Cracked eggs must be thrown away, since a crack could make it simple for micro organism to get inside.

As soon as the eggs are collected, if there’s any filth, you must use a nice sandpaper, brush or fabric to wipe away the filth. Don’t wash the eggs with water as a result of colder water can pull the germs into the eggs.

The CDC recommends folks refrigerate their eggs to maintain them recent. The cooler temperatures additionally slows the expansion of the germs.

If you prepare dinner the eggs, ensure the yolk and the white are agency to once more scale back your publicity to the micro organism.

“On the CDC, we need to shield folks’s well being however we additionally perceive that folks have these shut relationships with their chickens. We love this animal-human bond,” Benedict mentioned. “There’s only a protected strategy to do it.”


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