Chickens, Their Benefits and Guarding Against Salmonella
There is growing trend for keeping chickens in the garden, even amongst urban residents. As people enjoy going back to basics they are discovering the many benefits of keeping chickens, in addition to the obvious pleasure of fresh eggs.
Fresh Eggs and Reducing Waste
If you are keen to make your lifestyle a little more earth friendly then chickens are certainly a great investment. You will enjoy all those wonderful fresh eggs which will not require transportation and packaging. Your chickens will eat any food scraps that are left on your plate and so you will reduce the volume of organic matter that you throw away. That has to be a good thing but make sure that only around 10% of your poultry’s diet comes from scraps.
Poultry Bedding, Manure and Mulch
Chickens produce a lot of poop which makes for great manure and soiled is the perfect mulch for your garden. Chicken nest bedding can also be added to your compost pile to help to create more manure to feed your vegetable patch.
The chickens are also mobile pest controllers keeping pests in your garden to minimum. They are charming additions to your property and provide a rewarding hobby for animal lovers to enjoy. So there are many benefits to keeping chickens but there are also potential health hazards which you should be aware of. Both you and your chickens need protecting.
Here are some useful measures to keep your chickens disease free and to prevent you and your family suffering from the effects of salmonella poisoning.
- If you travel to places where there are chickens or other livestock, wash down your car’s tyres before returning home.
- Wash your hands after you handle your birds, preferably with sanitiser.
- Keep a pair of boots or shoes specifically for use in the garden and around the chickens. Change your footwear before travelling anywhere else. If you need to wear any other footwear to visit your birds then scrub it before you go down to the coop.
- It can be a good idea to wear overalls when you tend to the chickens.
- If you have to take the chickens off of your property, to visit the vet for instance, then quarantine them when you return.
- Don’t kiss your birds or place them close to your face. If you handle the chickens or their bedding then keep your hands away from your face until they have been sanitised.
- Do not permit poultry to enter your house.
Salmonella lives in the digestive tracts of chickens and spreads in their droppings. Chickens walk through their droppings regularly and so the germs are easily spread. Even apparently healthy birds could be harbouring Salmonella. You can easily become infected when you handle your birds.
Salmonella rarely kills but could see you become serious ill and even hospitalised. It can also lead to several long term health issues including arthritis, high blood pressure and kidney failure. Salmonella is best avoided.
You can enjoy your chickens and create fabulous manure with your poultry nest bedding but should also take the appropriate measures to prevent the spread of infection.