Episode 3 – In this episode we discuss the latest salmonella scare and talk about whether you should be afraid of your chickens.


Show Notes

Update on Sadie

Our cute little Mountain Cur, Sadie, was finally able to ditch the cone after her surgery. After spending seven days locked in a cage so she wouldn’t jump, run or get wet, she is very excited to be free again!


Sally Asks About Our Favorite Breeds [01:50]

The Colonel is a portly bird.

The Colonel is a portly bird.

We received a question from Sally, who asked what our favorite breeds are. We have four primary breeds that we raise for breeding purposes: Rhode Island Reds, Light Sussex, Golden Laced Wyandottes, and Barred Plymouth Rocks. In our general layer flock, we also have a few productions reds, a Silver Laced Wyandotte, and some Dotte Rock hybrids.

Suzy like the Light Sussex and Golden Laced Wyandottes best because of the coloring and also because they are friendly.

Don likes the the Rhode Island Reds and the Plymouth Barred Rocks for the egg laying ability, but also the Light Sussex and Golden laced Wyandottes for their disposition.

Our Golden Laced Wyandotte rooster, “General Tso”, is very friendly. So is “The Colonel,” our Light Sussex rooster. The Colonel is named for Colonel Sanders because of his white body with black neck feathers.


Salmonella Outbreak Traced to Hatchery [07:10]

The CDC is reporting an outbreak of salmonella that has infected 60 people across 23 states. The outbreak has been traced back to a chicken hatchery in Ohio.

As usual, the outbreak has prompted many to speculate whether it is safe for ‘regular people’ to keep backyard chickens. If you look at the outbreak statistics reported by the CDC, you will notice that many people contract salmonella every year (1.4 million speculated cases per year) from chicken meat, vegetables, nuts, beef, and many other sources.

While 60 people did get sick from this live poultry outbreak, nobody seems to be impressed by the 132 person outbreak of salmonella caused by pet bearded dragons this year. I wonder why that isn’t being reported? Suzy thinks it is hushed-up by the rich and powerful pet bearded dragon lobbyists, or as I call them, “Big Dragon.” I have no way to prove Suzy wrong on this one.

In a backyard flock, salmonella can be passed to humans through chicken poo. Remember that chickens, like all other animals, are disgusting. They walk in the poo and get it all over themselves. If you handle a salmonella-infected chicken and then rub your eyes, lick your fingers, or pick your nose, you could infect yourself with the disease.

We all understand that it is possible to get salmonella from eggs or chicken purchased in the store. The reason we don’t freak out about this is that we know if we cook the chicken or eggs thoroughly, the salmonella will be destroyed and we can safely consume those things. In a similar way, if we take a few precautions when handling our backyard flock, we can minimize the chance of getting infected from a chicken who has salmonella.

Here are some recommendation from the CDC:

Wash Your Hands [12:45]
After handling your chickens, wash your hands with soap. Also wash after handling anything from their environment, such as feeders and waterers.

Another thing to keep in mind is to wash your hands after removing clothing that was worn while handling chickens and after removing your shoes.


Cook Eggs Thoroughly [14:03]
Does this require explanation? I think most of us have already had it pounded into us not to eat raw or undercooked eggs.


Don’t Bring Chickens Into Your House [14:15]
In this most recent outbreak, the CDC says that many of the infected people reported bringing live poultry into the house, cuddling with them, and even kissing them. Wow.

In episode 1, we did say that chickens make good pets, but this is not exactly what we had in mind. Chickens are not puppies or kittens. Leave the chickens outside.


Don’t Let Young Ones Handle Chickens [16:57]
Forty percent of people affected by this recent outbreak were under the age of ten years old, and it affected people from under one year age up to 95 years of age.

Children under five, people with weak immune systems, and pregnant women should not handle live poultry.

When young ones do handle live poultry, make sure they do not touch their face and wash their hand thoroughly immediately afterwards.


Don’t Eat or Drink in Areas Used by Your Flock [18:10]
Your chicken coop is not the best place to have a picnic.


Final Thoughts [21:20]

If you want to see the CDC’s full list of recommendations for backyard chicken keepers, click here.

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