Why yes, yes they can. You can absolutely catch salmonella from your backyard chickens or from eating eggs from infected chickens.
I know it seems gross, and you are probably wondering why someone didn’t tell you this earlier!
The fact is, you can do a lot to prevent it from affecting you. Don’t be gross, people! Don’t kiss your chickens, and always, ALWAYS wash your hands.
This will go a long way. Really.
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause food poisoning in humans. If you’ve been infected with salmonella you can experience vomiting, diarrhea, and general awfulness.
You may know not to eat raw cookie dough like when you were a kid because now we know you can get food poisoning from raw eggs.
What you may not know is that you can get it directly from your pet chickens.
How Do Chickens Get Salmonella?
Chickens get salmonella from being exposed to the bacteria in the fecal matter of other chickens or of rodents. If you purchase chicks from overcrowded or unsanitary hatcheries they can come home with Salmonella. If rodents get into your coop and feed, they could catch it that way.
YOU catch salmonella when some of that bacteria in an infected chicken’s poop makes its way into your digestive system. Yum.
How To Protect Yourself From Salmonella
Don’t kiss your chickens. I’m serious here, people! There are actually people in this world who do that! It’s a chicken, not a baby.
Wash your hands after handling chicks or chickens.
Don’t bring your chicken into your kitchen. (Why do these things actually need to be said? Not that I can talk, the kids snuck goats into the bedroom once!
Wash your chickens waterers and feeders outdoors. (Then wash your hands..)
Change your shoes after going into your chicken yard or before coming into the house.
Keep rodents out of your chicken coop (Click here for some tips on how to do that).
Keep your chicken coop clean. (Get it super duper clean with this tutorial).
and of course….WASH YOUR HANDS.
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