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Can YOU get sick from handling chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 4H kids and mom, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    I know that good hygiene lessens chances of any kind of illness, but I do have two children, who as most children do, seem to dislike any water that is not in the form of a pool, sprinkler, or other "fun" occasion, and they don't always remember to wash their hands after handling the little biddies. I have purchased an instant hand sanatizer in an effort to at least get the germs if they wont wash, but I just want to be sure that they cant get, say, seriously ill from chickens. I suppose I should have thought to ask this kind of thing before we even ordered the chicks, but I guess you dont really begin to realize the ramifications of owning chickens until they are flying nearly out of their brooder and trying to roost on your shoudlers, right? [​IMG]
  2. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Nothing says the babies are growing up like a birdie in the face![​IMG]
    As long as you wash your hands or use the sanitizer, there's nothing that they can pass on to you or the kids.
  3. wolfpack62001

    wolfpack62001 Songster

    Mar 6, 2007
    New Brockton, Alabama
    OK Wife Unit!
    Our Son aint got Bird Flu!
    Dont worry chickens are just as clean as Cats, my 2 Year Old plays with my Roo all the time and as long as you do the Mom thing your fine!
  4. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Songster

    Feb 7, 2007
    Northern California
    My biggest concern would be parasites and worms. Many parasites are passed back and forth from your pets and livestock, so it is important to implement a worm program. They are just everywhere and something you have to understand as a reality. They simply need to be detoxed on a regular basis if you want to stay healthy. Being less aware of hygiene and playing with dirt and other possible contaminated substances easily infects children.
  5. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing Premium Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    Chickens are, or can be, disease carriers and it's important to remember good hygiene with the children to protect them. Their immune systems are not as strong as ours, so if they get sick, it will be hard on their system. Remind them every time they touch a chook to wash with soap & water or use a sanitizer. After a while, it becomes habit. My 9 year old has got it down - your children can do it too. E coli and Campylobacter are just 2 that come to mind, but I'm sure there are others. Prevention is the best approach IMO.


    LICHICK In the Brooder

    Feb 7, 2007
    New York
    I keep my hand sanitizer in the run so I clean my hands BEFORE I use the door knob to get in the house. I also leave my coop shoes outside & never wear them in the house. My brother who can be a jerk used to joke about me being a red neck with my chickens, that was before his 15 month old was in the cat litter box chowing down on dewwwwwww. Not one word out of him now
  7. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    lol LICHICK! Eeeewww.....but lol! [​IMG] Thank you all for your suggestions. I now keep the instant sanatizer in the room with the babies and if they want to handle them, they need to sanatize BEFORE and AFTER. I'm crackin down on 'em and it seems to be working. They are the first thing my kids ask about when they get home from school. Watching little kids with little chickens is one of the cutest things ever. Melts your heart....
  8. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing Premium Member

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association June, 2000

    Antibacterial soaps may be no more effective against germs than common soap, and could contribute to the threat posed by drug-resistant bacterial strains, according to a statement by the American Medical Association (AMA), although they stopped short of recommending that people avoid using the popular soaps, lotions and mouthwashes.

    They have asked government regulators to expedite their review of antibacterial products and determine if they might contribute to the health threat created by excessive use of antibiotics.

    "There's no evidence that they do any good and there's reason to suspect that they could contribute to a problem" by helping to create antibiotic-resistant bacteria, said Myron Genel, chairman of the AMA's Council on Scientific Affairs and a Yale University pediatrician.

    He said use of the products may contribute to the well-recognized problem created by excessive use of antibiotics that has led to mutated bacterial strains that are resistant to drugs.

    A trade group, the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, had previously lobbied the AMA against having any position on antibacterial products.

    Whether applied to the skin or swallowed it is still an antibiotic, and should not be available without a prescription. Many people, especially parents, unknowingly use these products many times a day on their children. Would they be as willing to give them an oral antibiotic as often? Most people don't realize that the skin is the body's largest organ and is capable of absorbing many substances into the body. Also, children often put their hands into their mouths.

    Also, many recent studies have pointed to the fact that growing up in a sterile environment may contribute to the development of allergies and asthma. A vast majority of the bacteria and viruses that kids are exposed to are completely non-pathogenic and may be quite beneficial. Those few organisms that do cause illness may provide benefits by allowing the immune system to develop properly.
  9. kiaya611

    kiaya611 Songster

    Mar 5, 2007
    Lebanon, OR
    I have thought about this kind of thing in general for a long time now (not just related to chickens) and have to wonder if what kstaven says has a great deal of credence. In the "old days" people (and kids) were exposed to allot more things by playing and working in the dirt and with animals and plants and didn't get sick. I see and hear so many commercials about "sterilizing" everything it seems. If you are not exposed to things (especially as you grow up, you can't develop natural immunities to them. I know that when I grew up, (I was born in 1960), I played in the mud and dirt and with dogs and cats and farm animals and no one ever got worried about getting sick like they do now. We didn't get sick from all of that and now as an adult, I don't get sick from contact with animals or working in environments that aren't "sanitized".

    Granted this is my personal belief and my own observation, but, I would really give some serious thought to all of the ways that society has become more germ-free oriented and wonder if that is truly a good thing. Just look at your past generations...especially those that lived on farms and raised their own animals and plants for food. Have or did they live long healthy lives? I know that both sets of my grandparents lived into their 90s and in fact one set of them are still alive and they raised their own animals for food and eggs and such. My Great Grand Mother lived to be 100 and her sisters lived into their 90s as well. They all were brought up in rural environments and lived off of the land. There seems to be something to be said for that kind of living or at least try to do things that bring us closer to the nature that our ancestors once had (sorry if that sounds "preachy").

    In general, I have tried to live the "everything in moderation" rule. It seems to do very well. I have always had dogs and cats around the house and for that matter many other critters from mice, rats, rabbits and birds from finches to Macaws to snakes and lizards and frogs and I had a pet chicken when I was growing up all as pets that I handled regularly with no ill effect yet you always hear of all sorts of diseases and maladies that come from these critters. I have never suffered from any.

    I know things are different now, but I still think that that if we are exposed to more things (especially children) that they will develop a natural immunity that will protect them throughout their lives. Granted, if one of these critters poos on you, you should wash it off, but overall, I have to believe that being overly cautious is not beneficial in the long run.

    Just my humble opinion. This information is well intended...Please give it some thought. [​IMG]

    Best wishes,
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2007
  10. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Songster

    Feb 7, 2007
    Northern California
    I agree we must all remember our parents and grandparents relied on a lot of natural healing plus the use of natural whole grains, vegetables, herbs, apple cider vinegar and many health remedies that have been long forgotten since modern medicine arrived. Many people have forgotten their roots and put the beliefs in the modern doctors and the fly by night medicines that are produced by the drug companies, look at TV ads, the illnesses we have today, the animals and vegetables we consume are not as nutritious and did not contain steroids, hormones, chemicals, etc. some animals are actually diseased when they make it to market, chickens never seeing daylight that suffer from unnatural conditions I could go on. In the earlier days they used natural remedies for parasites and worms, cloves, wormwood, green hull of the black walnut, quasia, pumpkin seeds to name a few. I myself years ago was diagnosed with gallstones, many or most people have them but they are never a problem but they can cause symptoms ranging from headaches to shoulder pains etc., things we all think are just signs of aging, they wanted to remove my gallbladder I said no, they told me there was no way to pass them and that I must have it removed. I relied on an old time remedy consisting of extra virgin olive oil and grapefruit juice and passed them naturally, the doctor was amazed at the results and said whatever I was doing continue. Yes the world has changed it is definitely not the same as it was, even 40 years ago, progress I do not think so, anyway that is my feeling, have a nice day.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2007

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