Risks to Humans - Please Advise


12 Years
Nov 11, 2007
Aside from salmonella (and perhaps avian flu
), what direct or indirect health risks do I need to be aware of for my family? What should I look for or what can be used as prevention? Could someone point me to some info?

I hate to be paranoid, but when it comes to my kids, I'd like to feel forewarned.
E coli and samonella are the biggest things and I think you'll be fine with hand washing. The whole avian flu thing is over rated in risk of direct acquisition as we live in situations where our birds are housed outside of where we live ourselves.

Just wash hands and you'll be fine... I'm over due to get sick though from the birds, as I am a terrible example of hand washing and not handing the birds while eating and sharing food with them... and they peck through the dirt all the time... and we know what lands in the dirt from them.
You can probably find a list online somewhere about all of the diseases a person can catch from poultry so I'll just tell you about the one thing I know about.

With kids, teach them to be careful around chickens. Kids are right down there close enough for their eyes to look very tempting. We had a friend whose 4 year old daughter almost lost her eye while gathering eggs. She was playing with the chickens so lots of jumping about was going on. One chicken reached over and pecked her eye. It tore the cornea but they were able to fix it.

Other than that, I've never known anyone who had a health problem from raising chickens. I think the best thing is to just use common sense about cleanliness after handling any animal.
As long as they are washing their hands after handling the birds , and wearing dust masks when cleaning the coop...........I don't see any other problems . I have never used this advice and I am doing great without it . I also work constrution.........so most of the time , I use nothing as well. Yes , I know it's stupid , but I do my job better ! Please don't worry about your kids with your chickens...........just be thankfull they're not into drugs and........other things !
Thanks for all of your responses and I appreciate the advice and the reassurances.

On the other hand, the kind of issues I deal with go a bit beyond hand washing.

For instance, I discovered my 12 yr old DD sneaking her most cuddly chickens to her room to roost.
DW and I put a stop to that, but I'm not sure the rug in there will ever get completely clean (sorry, that was probably too much information). Chickens still occasionally "visit" the interior of our home.

Also, I am a having a little breathing issue this week and I'm not sure how to dust or spray the chickens (at least one has lice... which I'm equated to they all have lice) safely, let alone avoid aggravating my problems. I don't feel real comfortable with letting my DD handle insecticide (or even DE).

BTW, DD discovered the bugs on the one chicken whilst she was hanging out in DD's room. The next day, DD had a bite or two. We changed the sheets and vacuumed.

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