So in the beginning of my backyard chicken journey, I knew there would be some challenges along the way and I understood the risks facing my little brood of chicks. What I hadn't really thought of was the potential risks to my family. In the first few photos I shared, you see my sweet little chicks nesting in their bin and I talked about how we kept them in our home over the first couple weeks (they arrived as day old chicks).
We couldn't imagine leaving them in our garage in a bin that a clever raccoon could easily open, so we decided to keep them on our washer and dryer in the bathroom. My 12-year-old began naming almost every single chick (we have 16) and I even named the lightest chick Sunny. My daughter was handling our chicks to make them friendlier and easier to approach. What I did not realize is that treating our chicks like household pets put us all at risk.
While researching like crazy, reading every book I could get my hands on and talking to a variety of online chicken experts, no one ever mentioned salmonella. I mean, I had a basic understanding that chickens could potentially carry salmonella but it didn't even cross my mind during the first two weeks we had our chicks in the house. It was my husband, Mountain, who came across an article talking about the possible connection between the "backyard chicken fad" and the increase in salmonella infections!
The amount of information on the internet related to raising backyard chickens is daunting but what I have realized is that, if you don't know what to search on the web, you won't find what you need to know! If something isn't present in your conscious mind when you are researching, you don't even know what to look for. I should have thought about salmonella when we got our baby chicks, but I simply didn't. Luckily for us, we all have very strong immune systems and our kids are a bit older so they are more likely to wash their hands properly, therefore less likely to get a salmonella infection.
The above story is exactly why I decided to start this blog in the first place. We went to Barnes and Noble, searched online forums, bought books, checked books out from the library, read a bunch blogs and talked to anyone who seemed to know anything about chickens. Even with all of these resources and all of our effort, we still didn't realize we were not making the healthiest decisions possible. I even took things one step further and used a keyword search tool to see if other people were searching for this information. Here are the results:
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Even if you don't fully grasp the idea of a keyword, you can see that there are only 10 searches for the topics "chickens salmonella" even though it is estimated that there are over 1 million city dwellers in the US raising urban and suburban backyard flocks. If you happen to be a backyard chicken enthusiast yourself, or you are curious and want to learn more about the connection between salmonella and chickens, here is an USA Today article that will give you more information:
I am a mother who prides herself on household safety. I want to make sure that backyard chicken enthusiasts across the globe have the information they need to make informed decisions about how to keep their chickens and their families healthy, happy and safe!