Tips to stay safe around chicks, ducklings this spring


PUEBLO, Colo. – The Pueblo City-County Health Department is encouraging residents to stay healthy while caring for backyard chick and duckling flocks.

Salmonella and Campylobacter are often found in poultry droppings, according to the health department. The germs can get on the birds’ feathers, beaks and feet, even though they may look clean. Cages, coops, food and water dishes, hay, and the soil where birds live and roam can have the germs, too.

Those at a higher risk of becoming sick are children, the elderly, or anyone with a weak immune system. People who are also most likely to get sick are those who care for the birds then put their hands near their mouth, or eat, without washing their hands first.

People who become sick with Salmonella or Campylobacter may experience diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually go away on their own without treatment. However, it is advised that one stays home from work, school, or daycare until the symptoms resolve without the use of medication.

The health department has issued the following tips to protect yourself:

  • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after caring for birds or after touching anything in an area where poultry live or roam. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Prohibit children younger than age 5 from touching poultry. Supervise hand washing for all children to make sure hands are washed correctly.
  • Do not let anyone kiss/snuggle with the birds.
  • Restrict anyone from eating and drinking where birds live or roam.
  • Keep live poultry outside of the home.
  • Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside the house.
  • Clean all equipment that birds use (cages, food or water dishes, etc.) outdoors.
  • Use a bottle of dish soap and a commercial disinfectant dedicated to cleaning poultry enclosures and equipment.

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