Hugging Chickens Isn't Actually a Good Idea, New Report Finds

Since the CDC says no hugging or kissing your chickens, backyard hen keepers can turn to chicken accessories instead to show their affection. 

In a report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that backyard chicken keepers should not hug or kiss their feathered friends. Baby chicks may be irresistible, but snuggling poultry has led to many cases of Salmonella across the United States. In fact, the report says instances have been reported in 43 states, leading the CDC to point out that your flock maybe your best friends, but you should not get up close and personal with them.

Where Do Chickens' Salmonella Germs Come From?

A salmonella infection can come from live poultry, including your backyard flocks, ducklings, or any of your feathered friends. If you visit your backyard poultry in their henhouse, you need to make sure you wash your hands immediately after touching anything they come in contact with.

If you don't have immediate access to a sink, be sure to use some hand sanitizer in the meantime. As of May 2021, the number of illnesses sat at 163 people ill with 34 hospitalizations, but the CDC is concerned that the number will grow.

Salmonella is easily spread from chicken to chicken, especially when they are in hatcheries. The CDC recommends cleaning out the roost in between batches of chicks and sanitizing everything.

Chickens can have Salmonella in their feathers, beaks, feet, and of course, in their poop. Cuddling the birds allows the bacteria to transfer onto you.

How dangerous is a Salmonella outbreak?

A Salmonella outbreak is hazardous. Poultry owners can become very ill. The Salmonella bacteria can even lead to hospitalization in some cases, the CDC reports.

The disease is very dangerous for young children whose immune systems may not be developed enough to take on the bacteria. Chicken owners should always supervise children when they are around chickens to ensure that they do not snuggle or cuddle them.

Over the last year, many people have become chicken hobbyists. The CDC raised its concerns for a spread since many of these new chicken owners may not realize the hazards that lie with keeping feathered animals.

What can you do instead of hugging your chickens?

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Many backyard chicken keepers consider their chicken to be more than just a source of fresh eggs. Some pet owners do not feel like it's enough to set up a chicken coop and leave their chickens there to hang out. If your pet chicken accompanies you from outside to the indoors, you may want to invest in chicken accessories like a chicken diaper or chicken apron. If you can't resist bestowing some affection on your chickens, here are some practical yet fun ways to show you like them.

Chicken Bra, Chicken Crop Support

One way to show your support for your hens is to buy them their own crop bras. What is a crop bra? It is made to fasten around your chicken like a crop top, but it is made to prevent crop disease and fend off any chest injuries, making for a stylish and practical accessory.

Adjustable Chicken Harness with Leash

Not quite taking a walk on the wild side, maybe closer to a cakewalk, this adjustable chicken leash allows you to keep your feathered friend close as you stroll around the backyard. If your hen's adventurous, you may even be able to strut her around the neighborhood.

Chicken Saddle With Adjustable Straps

The Chicken Saddle straps onto your chicken's back to keep her feathers safe from roosters and another chicken pecking at her. The durable fabric won't fall apart easily, and you can adjust the straps to ensure your hen's comfort.

First Chicken Arms

If you are looking for a way to tell your roosters a part or distinguish your layers from non-layers, these Texas-made chicken fist arms a great accessory for differentiation. They also make a great gift for the chicken lovers in your life. This will be sure to lift the spirits of any sad chicken owner who can no longer hug their hens.

Chicken Diapers

There is no better way to contain all that possible Salmonella spreading chicken poop than to put a diaper on them. These chicken diapers come in size medium or large and can be used on chickens or ducks. This way, they can follow you into the house without fear of poop getting everywhere.

How do you feel about not hugging chickens? Tell us over on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page!

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