EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon Health Authority infectious disease experts say baby chicks and ducks, no matter how cute and cuddly, can carry bacteria that can make people sick.
Owner of Eugene Backyard Farmer, Bill Bezuk, says that there are many factors that could leave you more vulnerable to getting sick from a baby chick.
"The very old or very young or someone with a compromised immune system ... it might not be the best practice to hold poultry anyway because a chick may look healthy, but could be carrying a disease like salmonella," said Bezuk.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, 53 cases of salmonella were linked to chickens between 1990 and 2014.
The Oregon Public Health Division has four tips to protect yourself from salmonella.
- Wash your hands every time you hold one
- Don't get too close and try to kiss or nuzzle one
- Don't wash your dishes with anything the chicks use for food or living
- Keep them out of family living areas
"A baby chick could look healthy and maybe not be so healthy, since they're always walking around in their own droppings," said Bezuk.
He also says he won't sell chicks to families who just want them for the novelty because that's disrespectful to the animal.