Salmonella Linked to Hatchery Chicks

In response to the recent article in the Chicago Tribune’s  Health section on the dangers of raising chickens, here is a blog post that I wrote earlier this year.

An article on Yahoo News documented over 300 cases of Salmonella illness, linked to one hatchery, between 2004 and 2012. Alarming? I’d say not – that is just under 40 cases per year. However, the CDC advises that children under 5 not be allowed to touch chickens at all. There is also a risk of salmonella with reptiles.

As one member of a discussion group I’m part of pointed out, kids have a greater chance of being injured by an automobile. While the symptoms of Salmonella include bloody diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain, the illness is rarely fatal.

As with other pets, practice good hygiene by washing hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water after touching animals and especially after coming into contact with poop.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for the reality check! When I read that article, my first thought was, “here we go again..”. I saw it online, and then my partner came home- his “bottled water and hand-sanitizer” suburban-commuter co-worker (who recently had a non-life threating staph infection, so apparently all that hyper-cleanliness didn’t work out so well for her? She was thoughtful enough to not take any sick days, insisting she wasn’t contagious because she was on antibiotics… urgh.) had brought in the article for him because she knows we have birds. May common sense, healthy immune systems (which are built up by exposure to germs, not elimination of them), and hand-washing (with ordinary, not antibacterial) soap prevail against the fear-mongering germ police! Let your kids get dirty! Pet the chickens! Make mud pies! Then wash your hands! You’ll be fine, and probably healthier than if you try to insulate yourself and them from the natural world. Or, don’t let them touch the chickens. Or eat cantaloupe. Or spinach. Or strawberries. Or feedlot beef (that means all fast food). Or industrial chicken. Or better yet, eat them, but irradiate them first. Or.. Or… Or… no thanks. Anyway, thanks for keepin’ it real.


    • Thanks, alewyfe, for that great example!

      I’m a big believer in dirt and germs and kids getting dirty. I used to slide under the electric fence and play in the cow pasture! We’d eat strawberries, peas, and raspberries right out of the fields (or fencerows), dirt and all (I do come from a family where cleanliness is next to Godliness!). I’d play doctor for my chickens who had gangrene, bumblefoot (a staph aureus infection), and other nasty stuff. My cousin and I ran around in the chicken coop in bare feet at midnight one night. I’m sure I’ve eaten my share of poop (not on purpose).

      But the only place I’ve ever gotten worms is in Latin America (watermelon cut on the street in a pueblo in Guatemala that was offered as a gift and fish soup in a marketplace in Nicaragua). Perhaps that means adventurous dining in Latin America is off limits but it hasn’t stopped me!

      So, yes, bring on the dirt, germs, whatever. I believe it makes you stronger, healthier!


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