person holding chicken eggs in hand

How To Avoid Salmonella In Your Backyard Flock

Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) is a common bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract. Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through feces. Humans become infected most frequently through contaminated water or food. The Center for Disease Control notes that people can get sick from Salmonella simply from touching poultry or the birds’ environment, even if the birds appear healthy and clean.

Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning usually begin 12-72 hours after infection. Diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever are common symptoms. The diarrhea is typically loose and not bloody. Nausea, vomiting, headache, and muscle aches may occur. Luckily for us, the Center for Disease Control has come up with a handy list of safe-handling trips to avoid this issue with your backyard layers!

Safe Handling Tips for Eggs from Backyard Poultry

Egg shells may become contaminated with Salmonella from poultry droppings (poop) or the area where they are laid. To keep your family healthy, follow the tips below when collecting and handling eggs from a backyard flock:

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water right after handling eggs, chickens, or anything in their environment.
  • Maintain a clean coop. Cleaning the coop, floor, nests and perches regularly will help to keep eggs clean.
  • Collect eggs often. Eggs that spend more time in the nest can get more poop on them, or break. Throw away cracked eggs.
  • Clean eggs that have dirt and debris with fine sandpaper, a brush, or cloth. Don’t wash eggs, because colder water can pull Salmonella on the egg shell into the egg.
  • Refrigerate eggs after collecting them.
  • Cook eggs thoroughly so that yolks are not runny and whites are firm. Raw and undercooked eggs may contain Salmonella bacteria that can make you sick.
  • Know local regulations for selling eggs. If you sell eggs, follow local licensing requirements.

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