A New Warning From the CDC: Stop Snuggling and Kissing Your Chickens

The temptation to snuggle a chicken is apparently too strong for some poultry owners, so they're being advised by the CDC to avoid displays of affection toward their birds. The warning comes after 163 cases of Salmonella poisoning were reported in 43 states that have been linked to fraternizing with chickens in backyard coops. Touching, petting, or kissing a chicken carries risks of contracting the bacteria, which is common in chickens and can cause diarrhea and fever in humans. A chicken’s appearance has nothing to do with their potential to carry the germ. Though seemingly healthy, the birds can harbor Salmonella on their feathers, beaks, feet, and droppings. A person who touches a chicken, their eggs, or anything in their environment and then their own mouth provides an opportunity for the bacteria to spread. In all cases, washing your hands and avoiding touching your face is key. It’s also advisable to take off shoes worn in the coop before entering your house.