Health Officials Warn About Salmonella Risks With Backyard Chickens

The largest outbreak of salmonella associated with backyard chicken flocks has hit the United States, and experts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it’s critical that bird owners take precautions to keep it from getting worse. Megin Nichols, public-health veterinarian for the CDC, tells us some folks buy their own backyard chickens thinking they reduce the risk of salmonella, but many of those birds come from factory farms.

“Just like the poultry in the grocery store, all live poultry can carry salmonella. It’s in their guts and it doesn’t cause the birds to become sick. You can’t tell that a bird is carrying salmonella or other germs just by looking at it.”

Signs of a salmonella infection in humans include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Many who contract salmonella just feel a little sick, but it can be a deadly illness for small children, older people, and those with weakened immune systems.