Waushara County Health News

Backyard Poultry


Many people have started raising poultry in their backyard, such as chickens. Raising backyard poultry can be fun and educational, allow owners to watch a chick grow into an adult chicken, and instill responsibility into the owner. Owners of chickens are responsible for keeping their chicken coop clean, among other tasks. Keeping a chicken coop clean is important because it helps prevent the spread of bacteria that make people sick.

Backyard poultry, like chickens and ducks, have a bacteria called Salmonella in their intestines. This type of bacteria is often in the news because of numerous outbreaks. As of last month, the CDC reported 279 people, in 41 states, are infected with Salmonella. As raising backyard poultry becomes more popular, the number of people infected with Salmonella rises as well. People who are sick from Salmonella infection typically experience vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.

Because the bacteria is found in the chicken’s intestines, it can also be found in its droppings. Bacteria can also be found all over the body of a chicken, especially its feathers, feet, and beak. Salmonella is also dangerous when chicken coops are not maintained. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), “bacteria can then get on their cages, coops, feed, and water dishes—anywhere the birds live and roam.” This means that if anyone interacts with backyard poultry, they need to wash their hands. If they do not, they are at risk for getting Salmonella.

Young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to getting sick from poultry. If you are considering raising backyard poultry, you should practice caution if you are a member of these groups. Keeping chicken coops clean helps to prevent everyone from getting sick. Poultry should always stay outside and anything that interacts with poultry should be kept and washed outside. This includes boots, gloves, and hands. The Wisconsin DHS states that no eating or drinking should occur by the poultry, as well.

Raising backyard poultry is becoming increasingly popular. As its popularity increases, so does the number of cases of Salmonella outbreak. It is important that hand washing occurs each time you interact with backyard poultry. It is also important that chicken coops or other homes for poultry are kept cleaned and maintained. Anything that interacts with backyard poultry must be kept separate from the inside of the house. Practicing cleanliness in regards to backyard poultry will help prevent Salmonella infection in Waushara County.