FYI, NPR just aired a program that included a segment on chicken and salmonella, including this issue. The program, Reveal, by the Center for Investigative Reporting, unfortunately leaves the impression that you can't find a chicken without salmonella and even backyard chicken-keepers are part of the web of problems....that was the teaser I heard that led me to listen to the program. Then, I found the show used one family to represent backyard chicken keepers....a family that got chickens from Mt. Healthy....and their son got very, very sick....seems CIR could have provided a more balanced picture....here is the link:
The whole salmonella issue has been a bit confusing for me. When I first heard about testing, I was all ready to have our chickens tested. My parents were also after reading about an outbreak in the paper. My thought was that we could treat them if they were positive, and we could relax a bit if they were negative. However, after talking with the lady from the NPIP program (she told me that they tested for pullorum only) and with the agricultural agent, my understanding is that there are many different strains that chickens can carry and that it is not something can be eradicated (hence the need for precautions like handwashing and coop shoes). That put me off the whole idea (I didn't see the point in testing for something that couldn't be treated and didn't warrant culling the chickens for if the test came back positive).
Besides pullorum, are there any other strains that are worth testing for? And what is typically done with birds that test positive (I assume that depends on the strain? Also, that antibiotics are not used because of resistance issues and because of the potential to kill off the normal/good bacteria in the chicken's digestive tracts?). On a separate note, I have a five year old Down Syndrome niece who will be visiting for Christmas. I was thinking of taking my friendliest chicken out of the run, and letting her pet it. Does that sound like a good idea (assuming I make her wash her hands afterwards) or like something that would not be worth the risk?
Edited by SusanD - 12/11/15 at 10:03pm