We know you love your chickens, and sometimes that means snuggling with them. Do what you want—we won’t stand in your way—but do hear this: More and more backyard chicken keepers are contracting salmonella from their birds through lip to beak action.
More than 600 people across 45 states have gotten sick from interaction with their chickens this year, according to reports this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the highest illness rate connected to live poultry, with a 2013 illness count of 579 being a close second. And the year’s not even over yet!
Before you shut down you shut down your computer and swear off Hobby Farms forever, hear us out: The government is not telling you what to do! Kiss your birds all you want if that’s what you’re into. Just know that if they’re sick, you could get sick, too. That’s why we promote things like backyard biosecurity and not wearing boots you wore on a neighbor’s chicken farm around your birds. You take good care of your flock, so there’s a good chance they’re perfectly healthy. But if they’ve caught some germies, it’s better to be safe, right?