Even if you're not a chicken, you've probably heard of the increase in salmonella in the United States in recent years. This increase in the number of salmonella cases corresponds directly to the increase in the number of chickens. But every time this problem crops up – and it keeps coming up – many backyard chicken owners dismiss the CDC reports as a conspiracy.
Public domain photo, Pixabay  But during this latest salmonella outbreak, a case has been reported in Maine. According to this article by Abigail Curtis of the BDN, in July 2018, there were 212 people infected with salmonella this year, and one was reported in Maine. There were no deaths, but according to Curtis, 34 people were hospitalized.
I wrote about the increase in salmonella cases myself and thought about my own practices of keeping chickens. When I first wrote that I would stop kissing my chickens and sharing my contribution in chicken communities, some readers were really mad at me. "It's all a conspiracy," was the core of the comments.
I have to admit that nowadays it's hard to know what's real and true, and there's a lot of misinformation about chickens. I can spend weeks researching my chickens just to get conflicting answers from all the experts I can find. In addition, I fully understand the urge to have at least some mistrust of government agencies that have very close links to the agricultural industry
. But I do not think that's the end of this story.
Amid all these postings in the chicken forums about how all the salmonella speeches are just a lot of hype, I also read a few stories from chicken owners who got salmonella from their chickens. This is not fun. The women who told their stories were very, very ill.
But where does that leave us?
I think we all agree on whether we think salmonella coverage is just a bunch of hype, a serious problem is that good common sense when it comes to keeping chickens, Always is a good idea. Here are 5 important references from the reports and from people who have kept chickens for years:
1. Just wash your hands.
Really, whenever you have contact with your chickens, it is good to wash well. It is a good habit to get into this habit, though it can be difficult to get children into this habit.
. 2 Use different shoes to visit your chickens.
We really have to work on that in our house. Luckily, we did not have any babies crawling around on the floor, but if we did, that would be a bigger problem for us. We really should wear different shoes to visit the chickens.
. 3 Be aware that chickens get harder in your home.
Of course the CDC says never to have a chicken in your house, but people do it. Besides, even though I'm not a chicken-type chicken-wife, last summer, I had to keep a chicken in our house because the baby was ill and needed care. But it was a risk. I think we have to know that.
. 4 Be careful to wash small children after playing with your chickens.
Let's face it. Children will stuff things in their mouth, so we have to be very careful with toddlers. Our youngest is getting older and no longer exploring the world with his mouth, but just this week I saw a little boy in front of us playing minigolf with the bottom of the golf club in his mouth. Last week my son was in a play and during one of the scenes I saw a couple of kids licking on stage. Yes, that's the way they do it.
So it's easy to see how little children pose a high risk. According to statistics, more than a quarter of those infected in 2018 were children under the age of 5. So be sure to wash your kids very well after hanging around with the chickens.
. 5 Finally, do not kiss your chickens – if you can help it.
I always forget this and realize that I will never stop cuddling my chickens as the CDC recommends. But when I forget a chicken on the head and kiss, I tidy up. And after cuddling a chicken, I never wear the same clothes to prepare meals.
Honestly, it's unrealistic to expect people to not cuddle their chickens a bit, but I also think there may be something good behind all the hype. I'm definitely learning to be more careful.
But I also had a chicken hugging myself, so I'll always keep chickens.