Health and safety tips for those caring for chicks and ducklings - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Health and safety tips for those caring for chicks and ducklings

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The Pueblo City-County Health Department is encouraging residents to stay healthy while caring for backyard chicks and ducklings.

Live poultry can carry Salmonella and Campylobacter, often found in their droppings, where the germs can get on their feathers, beaks and feet even if they look clean. The animals cages, coops, food, water dishes, hay and soil can also have the germs too.

"These germs generally do not make the birds sick, but they can make people very ill,” explained Vicki Carlton, program manager at the Pueblo City-County Health Department. 

The health department says children, elderly and anyone with a weak immune system are at a high risk of becoming sick. People are likely to get sick after caring for the birds and putting their hands near their mouth without washing them first. 

Young children like to cuddle and kiss the birds which makes it easier to get sick.

According to the health department, those who have salmonella or campylobacter may experience diarrhea, vomiting, fever and stomach cramps. Symptoms do typically go away on their own, but people are advised to stay home from work or school until symptoms stop.

Here are a few safety tips from the Pueblo Health Department:

  • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after caring for birds or after touching anything in an area where poultry live or roam. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Prohibit children younger than five years old from touching poultry. Supervise hand washing for all children to make sure hands are washed correctly.
  • Do not let anyone kiss/snuggle with the birds.
  • Restrict anyone from eating and drinking where birds live or roam.
  • Keep live poultry outside of the home.
  • Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside of the house.
  • Clean all equipment that birds use (cages, food or water dishes, etc.) outdoors.  
  • Use a bottle of dish soap and a commercial disinfectant, dedicated to this purpose, for cleaning poultry enclosures and equipment. 

For additional information visit: http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/farm-animals/backyard-poultry.html.

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