The more I read and learn, the more I'm turned away

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Tacswa3, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. Tacswa3

    Tacswa3 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 16, 2013
    I'm still going to give having chickens a try, but the more I read it sure isn't helping things. The thing that has me spooked the most is the different illnesses and diseases.

    Are any harmful and contagious to humans or other animals (cats, dogs) by simply handling the birds? I'm not worried about having to treat a bird, I don't want to risk spreading disease to my house hold pets. For instance... chicken lice. Is it the same and as contagious as human lice?

    Call me a whimp if you want but if these illnesses are dangerous to us or pets, a few eggs isn't worth all that mess.
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    No. Parasites are species specific. though if you do have a very bad infestation of mites to treat, they can bite you, but simple precautions like giving them adequate dust bathing opportunity, treating them and their coop if you do get an infestation, wearing gloves when treating infested birds will keep you in the clear. Some people NEVER have to deal with mites or lice. Chickens can carry salmonella, but I'd be more worried about those little plastic wrapped packages that you bring home from the grocery store than any thing that a BYF of chickens might carry.

    You already have pets? Chickens pose no greater risk than your existing pets. Again, the pathogens you already encounter in your daily life are more likely to give you problems.

    This is just my opinion, hoping that a laid back perspective will set your mind to ease.
  3. mithious

    mithious Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, there are lots of things that can harm chickens. Most are not harmful to humans, but some are...hand washing is a MUST. Both before and after handling them. Yup, lots to learn...even for those of us that have been doing this all our lives, BUT....

    I just read that processed chickens are turning up with antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria in breast meat, I would imagine all the meat, but they just tested the breast meat...and the amounts found were high..I don't want to give a %, just because I can't remember the exact % of how many tested commercially grown chickens, the plastic wrapped ones [​IMG] are more harmful to you and your family than taking some simple precautions and raising them yourself, in a more natural environment. Plus, you will know what is going into them...or not going in!!! There is bacteria everywhere...even the dogs and cats carry things that can make humans sick...common sense and knowledge, go a long way!

    It really is a joy to raise chickens, lots of work though. VERY glad to hear you are doing the research first!!!! Kudos to you!!!! I think you will find you really enjoy the process and the good out weighs the bad!
    1 person likes this.
  4. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2013
    No it is not the same as humane lice. They are so tiny that they are hard to see and resemble a maggot. Wild birds bring them in so there is no way that you can stop it. Humans cannot get infested with them, but if you are handling a chicken with them you can get bit. I have a ton of wild birds in and around my yard so I do preventive treatments on my birds. I dust them once a month and haven't had a problem, all my girls stay free of louse. Poultry dust (TSC) or Sevin (Walmart) work great. Sevin comes in two powder forms, one is 5% and is in a red bottle and the other is natural and comes in a green bottle. Both work the same with all the tests that I have done. DE does not kill lice or mites, it is a good preventive but does nothing to kill. Remember to wash your hands after handling your girls as they do play and bath in the dirt. Fowl pox comes from mosquito bites and isn't really anything to worry about unless it turns into wet fowl pox. To prevent mosquitoes in the coop (most likely to get bites there) hang one of those vanilla tree car fresheners in your coop. Our state bug must be the mosquito because we have more than any other state and that's how I keep them out of the coop. Putting apple cider vinegar with mother in the water reduces worm load in the girls. Everyone has some form of healthy worms, even humans. The trick is to keep it healthy and not an overload, hence the acv. The biggest concern of transferring anything from the chickens to anything else is the blackhead. They say that chickens and turkeys can transfer blackhead but there have not been studies to my knowledge. For the most part if you keep a clean coop and properly take care of them there isn't much to worry about. I suggest that you get all your girls at once from one source that way they can stay together as soon as you bring them home. If you add to the flock you will need to quarantine the new girls for 3-4 weeks to make sure that they are healthy and don't bring anything to your flock. Most of the illnesses on here are from people buying new girls and throwing them in with their flock without a quarantine first. It is worth it and not as hard as it sounds on here. You are just getting an overload of every problem that everyone on here has ever had. Relax, breath, and good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  5. Fentress

    Fentress Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2012
    Chesapeake, Va.
    Keep your flock on fresh grass and you will eliminate a lot of the health issues.
    1 person likes this.
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    In all my chicken-keeping years I have never had a problem with mites, lice or worms. Disease - nothing contagious that I know of. Sure, I've lost a few now and then to unknown causes, but nothing serious, nothing that has taken my whole flock. I do think that overcrowded conditions are one reason flocks have trouble, and another is confinement. By "confinement", I'm not necessarily talking about the large operations, but any chickens that are continually cooped or penned. Mine free range from early spring until the snow falls and they choose not to go outside. I really do think that makes a difference. I also don't go to swaps or shows. I either get my chickens as chicks from the tractor-supply store, or hatch them out here.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  7. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2013
    Columbia, Virginia
    Before I type what I have to say, I want to point out that this is my opinion, not that I'm telling you to do one thing or another. Or that you won't have any issues. I just want to share with you my experience.

    I started keeping chickens less than a year ago. Got my first clutch of 6 in February, another 6 one month later. I brooded them in my house. In the beginning, I was petrified that I would get sick, or my kids would get sick. I religiously washed my hands and made my boys wash theirs, before and after handling the chicks. Then when they moved out to the coop, I never went in without a mask. Always wore shoes that I would leave outside for the soul purpose of use around chickens only.

    That changed over time. Sometimes I forgot to wash my hands, sometimes to put my chicken shoes on. Heck, sometimes it was just because I had to pee so bad I couldn't. Now I just don't worry about it any more. Do you want to know why? Because there's no point. I could go to the grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk. My hand touches the cooler handle. Who knows how many humans have touched that same handle. Hundreds. I FIRMLY believe I am exposed to more "bad stuff" being around people than I am around my chickens.
  8. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Never (yet) had mites, lice or any serious illness. Avian Influenza and Salmonella are pathogens that can transfer between animals and people, but both are rare and unlikely in a small well-kept home flock. I do know some people that will not eat farm fresh eggs - guess they don't know where the eggs from the grocery store come from.

    If you do "preventive care", be sure to follow withdrawal times (yes organophosphate powders have a withdrawel for eggs and meat)
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'm with bobbi-j. I've had chickens for 20 years and no mites, lice or worms. No infectious diseases. No vaccinations. Yes, sometimes a bird just dies, but like her nothing contagious. I have wild birds here, they don't give anything to my birds. Here's my best tips:

    Give your birds lots of space. Free range if you can, if not a much larger run than necessary.

    Places to dust bathe. Wood ashes are best for parasite prevention. Any dry place is good.

    Varied diet. I base their diet on commercial feed but give lots of kitchen scraps and veggies as my birds aren't free ranged.

    Did I mention lots of space?

    Do not "rescue" birds. Period. Start with day old chicks from a hatchery (often resold through feed stores) and do not add older birds.

    Do not go to auctions or swaps. You're not buying anyway (see above) so don't go and track home crap on your shoes.

    Oh, and give them lots of space. hehe.
    2 people like this.
  10. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    I'll third the people that haven't had any major problems in 20 years. Never had lice, never wormed & only lost a handful to unknown causes. Never have used chemicals or wormers either. Feed them well & like others said, give them space. I started keeping chickens because of an article in Organic Gardening that told me all I really needed to know. I then picked up a chicken keeping book (there weren't many around in 1993!) & got freaked out with them talking about confinement & all the diseases etc. I decided that book was not for me as a backyard chicken keeper. I had small children when I started & while we did tell them to wash their hands, none of us probably did all the time & we never got sick. Just give it a try & you'll do just fine.

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