Love your siggy, Cass! (and don't you just NEED more chicks? ) Yes, washing hands after handling the chicks is necessary. Most feed stores that really care about their animals will not dye the chicks. Not so much about the diseases but more because they are more attractive to children when they come in all the pretty colors. Many parents will give in to the child's whining but as soon as Easter is past the chicks are discarded because they start growing up. That is also the reason behind the "6 or more" rule-you cannot buy just one chick to please your child in most states.