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Salmonella?

post #1 of 2
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We have a lot of little children that go in and out of the house, sometimes with or without shoes, touching poultry and not always washing everything before they stick things (like hands and fingers) where they shouldn't go when they're not clean!!!  We're working hard to contain the birds with electric poultry netting, but we haven't quite figured out our system, so the birds are in our "space"--front porch, patio, etc.  I'm making sure to wash everyone's hands before they eat and such, but I do have a baby who crawls and I can only imagine what kind of cooties she can pick up off of our floor from any little particles brought in on shoes, feet and socks.  Yuck!!  So my question is:  How common is salmonella?  Is there any way that we can know if our birds have it?  My baby has had diarrhea for the past couple of days and my stomach has been off as well (I'm pregnant, so I'd be considered higher risk), and some of my older children have had "off" stomachs.  I'm guessing that if the issue was salmonella, we'd be having bigger issues....none of us have abdominal cramps or fevers or anything.  I would imagine that it's probably just a run of the mill stomach bug, but I want to do everything I can do to protect my family from any potential issues associated with having our birds. 
 
Sooooo...that was a long explanation to ask this:  Is there a way to figure out if our birds have salmonella?  Is it something you can treat in birds?  Is it something we can get rid of?  Would one or two birds have it and not the rest?  What can we do to protect ourselves from salmonella?  I know of many people who insist that it's "safe" to eat eggs raw if they're from your own flock or from a "trusted" farmer, but from what I've read, there is no way to know whether they're okay or not.  I'd love to be able to make mayonnaise or real caesar dressing one day, but now I'm not sure if that's ever safe.  Thanks in advance for any help you can offer! 
 
You're the joy joy joy lighting my soul
The joy joy joy making me whole
Though I'm broken, I am running
Into Your arms of love.

~Rend Collective

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You're the joy joy joy lighting my soul
The joy joy joy making me whole
Though I'm broken, I am running
Into Your arms of love.

~Rend Collective

Reply
post #2 of 2

You can have Salmonella infection and be asymptomatic, but as you said, young children and pregnant women are both high risk for serious illness. When my children were little, I limited their handling of the birds and was militant about handwashing. You might consider not having the kids handle the chickens until they are at least 5 years old, for example, and be careful about not having items from the coop inside the house, especially in the kitchen.

 

I'm not aware of any way you can know whether your flock has Salmonella, and honestly, I would treat them all as if they did. I understand that Salmonella is in the ovaduct, so when the eggs are laid, they are already contaminated. I have asked before how long birds can carry Salmonella and have not had a good answer to this. We know in people, they can become chronic carriers for 6 months or more- I don't know whether this is the case with birds as well or not. I think it is better to be cautious and have exceptional hygiene where chickens and people intersect.

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