Keep chickens in the garden and salmonella
A growing number of chickens and other poultry live in the backyard of a home instead of the farm, as pets and producers of fresh eggs and sometimes as producers of manure. The increasing popularity of keeping chickens poses a health risk, especially diseases caused by the salmonella bacteria are dangerous. What is a salmonella infection and how can you prevent an infection and keep chickens safely in the garden?
A salmonella infection is caused by the salmonella bacteria and the symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps and fever, these symptoms can last for a week. Most people get better on their own without treatment. But children under 5 years old, the elderly over 65 years old, people with chronic illnesses, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women have a higher risk of serious salmonella infections.
You know that the chicken must be well cooked before you eat it, but it is less well known that live poultry also carries pathogens. Direct contact with chickens, roosters, ducks, geese and turkeys or contact with their environment can make people sick through salmonella infection. Poultry can have salmonella in their faeces and on their feathers, legs and mouth, even though they appear healthy and clean. In the past, chicks were often the cause of an infection in humans, people keep them in the house, cuddle and kiss them, but this is strongly discouraged. The salmonella does not make the poultry sick, but people do.
Wash your hands
If you are caring for and feeding the poultry it is necessary to wash your hands afterwards, do this for more than 20 seconds with soap and water and dry with a clean towel. If you cannot go straight to a sink, you can use an alcohol-based hand cleaner. Preferably, you should not wash your hands in the kitchen, but in a separate sink, it is undesirable to infect a room where you store and prepare food.
Other tips for preventing infections
Wear clean clothes
Choose a set of clothes and shoes that you only wear when you come into contact with the poultry and their environment and keep these clothes out. Wash the clothes separately from your other clothes in the washing machine. Clean the food and water bowls outside, not in the house and certainly not in the kitchen with your dishes.
Set up a fence
Chickens and other poultry belong in the garden, not in the house and not at all in the kitchen or in any other room or area where you make or store food. The chickens have their own space and so do the people. This will help prevent infection. Keep the area where the chickens stay as clean as possible, mice and rats can also spread the salmonella.
Keep an eye on the children
Children under 5 should not have direct contact with the chickens, as their immune system cannot protect them enough against possible infection. Young children are also more likely to put their fingers in their mouths. Have the children wash their hands after contact with the chickens. Do not give chicks to children as a present.
Don’t kiss them
Chicks are cute but don’t think these are disease free, don’t kiss and hug them. Do not eat or drink in an area where there are chickens.
Be aware of the eggs
If you collect eggs, you should wash them in water that is warmer than the egg itself. The warm water will allow the shell to expand a bit and this will help wash the dirt out of the pores of the shell. Do not leave them in the water and use a special detergent for cleaning eggs if they are very dirty. Dry them and store them wide side up in the refrigerator.