Keeping chickens in your backyard has become extremely popular. Lots of people decide to raise chickens for fresh eggs and meat; others keep them as pets because children love playing with baby chicks. However, there are a few things that you need to know before raising a flock of chickens at home. So, are chickens dangerous?
Chickens have germs that can be dangerous to both humans and pets. It’s important to wash your hands after handing your pet chickens, eggs, or cleaning the chicken coop.
Chickens are amazing creatures and will bring much love and fun to your home. But, they should only be kept outside, as they are dirty birds.
In this article, we’ll discuss a few facts about raising chicken, so you can grow them safely.
Are Chickens Safe to Keep?
If you’re taking care of your chickens, keeping them clean, and handling them with care, it will be safe to keep chickens in your backyard. You need to build a safe coop and keep it clean to provide your chickens with a suitable living space. You should also clean the coop regularly and get rid of litter or use it as compost to fertilize your garden.
It’s also essential to provide your chickens with a clean space where they can roam and run freely. Happy chickens will be healthy and will lay nutritious eggs.
However, it’s not recommended to keep chickens inside the house. When chickens step into poop, the poop gets trapped in their feet, and they will bring it into your house. No matter how hard you try to keep their feet clean, they would still soil your carpets and furniture with poop.
Chickens and Germs
Regardless of being extremely peaceful, chickens carry a lot of germs that can make people really sick. Whether you’re a seasoned backyard chicken owner or building your first chicken coop, you need to be careful about these germs. The best way to protect yourself from these germs is to wash your hands using soap and water whenever you get in touch with chickens.
Nevertheless, if you’re not careful, chickens can spread several diseases that can be extremely serious or even fatal.
Avian flu viruses can spread from animals to humans, causing a serious respiratory illness. People who deal with birds like chickens are at high risk, especially if they don’t clean their hands after touching chickens. If you keep your chickens in the backyard, you might not be at high risk because you won’t deal with a large number of birds, but commercial producers are at a higher risk.
Children under the age of 5, pregnant women, older people, and those who have weakened immune systems are subject to serious infections. The disease can spread from the birds to humans through the poop of infected chickens. Between humans, the disease is spread through saliva and nasal secretions.
If you feel that there’s something wrong with your chickens, you might take them to the vet. Symptoms in chickens can range from decreased egg production to high death rates among your birds.
People who get infected with bird flu will have similar symptoms to the seasonal flu. These include coughing, abdominal pain, fever, fatigue, red eyes, and loss of appetite. In some cases, the symptoms can worsen, and patients might suffer from heart complications or multiple organ failure.
This disease affects humans only, and chickens don’t show any symptoms. The disease is caused by bacteria that can be found in chickens’ poop. People who don’t wash their hands after cleaning the coop or touching chickens are likely to get infected.
Chickens aren’t litter trained and can have traces of poop trapped in their feet and feathers. This is why it’s highly recommended not to bring chickens inside the house because they will unknowingly spread these bacteria.
Older people and those with compromised immune systems are at high risk because the bacteria can quickly infect them. Children who play with chickens are likely to suffer from this disease because they might not be careful when they’re dealing with chickens. This is why children should play with chickens under an adult’s supervision and should be instructed to wash their hands with soap and water all the time.
The infected person will show symptoms between 2 to 5 days after infection, and the symptoms can last for about 1 week. These include bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and fever. Consulting a doctor is highly recommended.
Getting infected by salmonella bacteria is quite common among people who raise and deal with chickens. These bacteria are found in the intestines of people and animals, and while most of them are harmless, they might make people really sick in some cases.
Although most people get better without a specific treatment, in some cases, the symptoms can be quite severe, and the infected person needs to be hospitalized. Children, pregnant women, older people, and those who have weak immune systems are more prone to the infection.
The infection spreads from the poop of the infected chickens to people who accidentally touch the poop or don’t wash their hands after handling chickens. The birds don’t show any signs of illness but will be able to spread the infection to healthy humans and other animals.
Infected humans usually suffer from bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. The symptoms can start as early as 6 hours after being infected and can last for 1 week.
Should You Keep Chickens if You Have Allergies?
If you suffer from allergies, you might need to think twice before deciding to raise chickens in your backyard. All birds create dander and dust that can make people extremely sick.
Most people get baby chicks, and they don’t realize how much attention and care they need. Chicks might not spread a lot of allergens, but a bigger number of adult birds will spread dust and dander that can cause asthma and other respiratory symptoms.
Are Chickens Dangerous to Dogs?
Whether you’re raising chickens for eggs or as pets, you’ll eventually have to introduce them to your dog if you own one as a pet. If you have a trained dog that follows the orders, the process of introducing your dog to chickens will be smooth. However, you should never leave your dog unsupervised among chickens until you’re 100% sure that nothing will go wrong.
Dogs are sensitive animals and can quickly get used to the chickens in your backyard. However, some dogs simply won’t be comfortable around chickens, and there will be nothing to do about that. If you have a dog with a high prey drive, it would be a better idea to keep them away from your chickens.
Salmonella and parvovirus are caused by consuming poop, and your dog might get sick if they accidentally eat the chickens’ poop. Chickens can also infect dogs with worms like tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms if they accidentally eat their poop.
The giardia parasite can also infect your dog if they eat chickens’ poop. If your dog plays in the dirt where the chickens were playing, they can also get infected.
If your dog plays in the backyard, you need to make sure that they won’t get in touch with the chickens’ poop. It’s recommended to dedicate a special spot for your birds and another one for your dog to make sure that there will be no risk of infection.
Dogs can safely eat from your chickens’ food, as long as it’s not medicated. If the food is medicated, the medicine might not be approved for your dog. If your dog has accidentally eaten a large amount of the chickens’ food, you need to consult the vet.
Chickens aren’t dangerous animals if you know how to take care of them. It’s recommended not to keep your chickens inside the house and regularly clean the coop and their living area.
There are several infections that can spread from chickens to humans, but most of them can be avoided by washing your hands thoroughly after handling chickens.