Can a germaphobe raise backyard chickens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by WASTPA, May 25, 2019.


    WASTPA In the Brooder

    May 25, 2019
    I've always wanted to raise backyard chickens (I'd like to keep 4 or 5 layers), but as someone with an aversion to vomiting, the thought of salmonella scares me a little. Google backyard chickens and you'll get a bunch of articles on how backyard chickens got a bunch of families sick over the last few years.

    Should I be OCD about cleanliness? What are ways to reduce the spread of illness?
  2. BarnhartChickens98

    BarnhartChickens98 Crowing

    Oct 28, 2018
    Manhiem, Pennnsylvania
    Welcome to BYC! It is definitely possible, some people clean out their coop every day! As for salmonella, it will not grow in a refrigerator so if you refrigerate eggs there is a very small chance of salmonella growing. As for reducing dirt and bugs, you can put diaocetamous earth in the coop to help prevent bugs.
    drumstick diva and WASTPA like this.
  3. When you clean or bed your coop you can wear gloves and a mask. Lightly clean eggs and refrigerate.

    Dr. Internet pH.D has many anecdotes about everything. Some of them are partially true! Consider how many people are on this site and how few of us have any worries about salmonella.

    And of course you'll wash your hands after you deglove. Seriously having chickens leads to compulsive hand washing, but that won't hurt us, right?
  4. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    They're cleaner than people, even the buisness end.
    They don't carry nearly the amount of pathogens we are lead to believe. The use of common sense hygiene and sanitation practices paired with rational thinking makes keeping chickens a breeze even for a germaphobe. :)
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Some people neglect the most basic and sensible procedures that we all should have learned long ago; hand washing, for example. Chickens belong outside, not in the kitchen, and not being kissed by toddlers! Nothing out there is 'sterile', but reasonable management keeps us safe.
    You will enjoy your hens, and those fresh eggs are the best!
  6. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    I guess it depends on how bad your germaphobia is. I'm slightly germaphobic but it's selective - some things bother me, some things do not. Diligent hand washing after handling chickens or chicken stuff is the best way to combat salmonella. I also use a separate sink, scrub brushes, and towels for anything chicken related like feed bowls, and a pair of boots that are strictly for wearing into the chicken area. Scrubbing eggs clean under lukewarm running water with a dedicated brush is a good way to get rid of any surface dirt (if I wash eggs, I only do it right before use as I want to preserve the bloom that serves as a natural bacterial barrier on the outside of the egg - if eggs are super dirty feed them to your pets or the chickens).
  7. Thyme4Chickens

    Thyme4Chickens Songster

    Mar 21, 2018
    SE WI (zone 5)
    Hi! I'm a recovering germaphobe :)

    Along with the above advice, also research:
    - Poop boards! (under the roosts, fill with PDZ, scoop like cat litter)
    - Deep litter in the run

    Those two things have really kept our chicken set up clean!
  8. mixedbreeds

    mixedbreeds Songster

    As others have said just wash your hands after working in the coop or handling chickens or eggs.
  9. HopeSprings

    HopeSprings Songster

    Feb 3, 2019
    Weaverville, NC
    It's good to read these tips as I'm on immune suppression treatments! Thinking of getting one of those big Purelle dispensers ... or three!
  10. ConnieA

    ConnieA Songster

    Mar 9, 2015
    I agree with Willowspirit, handwashing after handling live poultry puts a definite barrier between you and any diseases they might have; likewise, washing eggs in water warmer than the egg will protect against contact with disease and, okay, let's be honest here, dirt. A chicken's idea of clean is not the same as mine (and presumably yours).
    The salmonella pullorem test (of NPIP fame) that is required for chickens entered in shows is different than salmonella enteritidis, the most common of the many salmonellas to cause digestive problems for people.
    The good way to fight salmonella in addition to handwashing is biosecurity. This is a link that will help:
    You'll see it is focused on the large poultry farm, but you'll recognize a lot of steps you can take without much trouble.
    Also this site talks about a salmonella vaccine in the UK, but my vet doesn't know how to acquire it here:

    And since we are talking about egg safety, my favorite site on egg safety:
    Hope this helps!

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