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Salmonella outbreak linked to backyard chickens

Keeping chickens is a popular trend across the United States, but raising birds in the backyard may also pose a serious health risk.

Posted: Aug. 8, 2018 6:19 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The CDC sent out a warning Wednesday about a salmonella outbreak from backyard chickens. There have been more than 200 salmonella cases in 44 states since February because of backyard flocks.


Keeping chickens is a popular trend across the United States, but raising birds in the backyard may also pose a serious health risk. CDC officials say some of those chickens may be carrying the salmonella bacteria and could pass it on to caretakers.


The owner of Eugene Backyard Farmer, Bill Bezuk, takes specific precautions to prevent it from happening. When the chickens show up from a hatchery, the first thing Bezuk does is a welfare check.


“In our eight years of operation, we have never experienced the situation of salmonella in our store, and we expect that to be the case in the future simply because we manage our droppings,” Bezuk said. “We only order our birds from reputable hatcheries, we change their bedding material on a regular basis, we sequester any sick birds and we run a clean ship."


Chickens with salmonella will not necessarily look sick but they carry the bacteria on their feathers, feet and in their droppings.
Bezuk said the most important thing to do when handling backyard chickens and their equipment is to always wash your hands.


Lane County Public Officials said there are no known reports of salmonella linked to backyard chickens in Lane County. The last salmonella case in our area was linked to national recall.

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