Chickens can be wonderful and fun pets. From the pretty feathers to their ability to lay eggs, it's easy to see why so many people love backyard chickens. However, proper hygiene is very important, not only for your own health, but for the health of the chickens as well. We've compiled some healthy habits here to help you along.
Squeaky Clean Hands
Wash, wash, wash those hands!! It's important after leaving your chicken coop or handling your birds to wash your hands with soap and water, to avoid bringing germs into your home. Chickens, while adorable, can carry various communicable diseases. Proper hand washing greatly reduces your chances of either contracting an illness or spreading an illness to other animals and people. When collecting eggs it's important to remember to wipe down the eggs with a damp cloth as cold water is not recognized as a safe practice. James McGregor from Backyard Chicken Zone recommends keeping hand sanitizer near your chicken run and to use it often. He also recommends keeping a bottle in your vehicle to use after you visit the feed store to reduce the chance of bringing home germs to your chickens.
A Clean Home
It is extremely important that you keep your chickens' home clean too! It is generally recommended that chicken owners clean their chicken runs and coops every one to two weeks. There are a variety of products and methods for cleaning up after your chickens. Backyard Chicken Zone has a great article that contains detailed steps for proper cleaning, you can view it here. Stay tuned for our next blog post to learn more about keeping your chicken coop clean!
Work boots, muck boots, chicken boots, whichever phrasing you prefer, it's important to have a pair of rubber boots designated just for when you work in your chicken coop. This prevents tracking bacteria into your home and other areas of your yard. Be sure to store these boots outside of your home, so they're ready to use, and the bacteria stays outside. There are also products called "boot washes" that allow you to easily clean your boots easily. Boot washes are a convenient and easy way to maintain hygiene around your chickens and keep them and your family healthy.
An Outside Pet
While it's okay to love your chickens, it's best to love them outside in their own area. The CDC recommends not bringing the chickens into your home, especially not in areas where food or drink are prepared. It's also best to avoid touching your face and mouth after snuggling up with your chickens. As always, use hand sanitizer and wash your hands with soap and water after you've gotten all your snuggles in.
These basic guidelines can help you and your chickens stay healthy and happy. Basic hygiene can prevent many issues not just in your chicken coop, but in your home as well.