Christmas chicks need the right care, too
THE RSPCA has issued a timely reminder that if you give a pet as a gift, you’re also giving responsibilty.
“There’s no doubt that Christmas is a popular time for introducing a new pet to the family – but it’s important to make sure that the decision isn’t taken lightly. Puppies and dogs can be a wonderful addition to your life, but they do require a lot of consistent attention and care, and it’s very important that you choose the right individual animal to suit your family make-up and lifestyle,” the RSPCA said.
This year, backyard poultry owners have also been targeted with reminders about the do’s and don’ts of giving chickens and gifts.
A CSIRO warning about risks to animal and human health associated with keeping backyard poultry has prompted industry organisation Australian Eggs to remind owners what they should be doing.
“Anecdotally, there has been an increase in the number of people keeping backyard hens,” Australian Eggs’ Managing Director Rowan Mcmonnies said.
“People need to realise that once you’re a suburban ‘egg farmer’ there are important biosecurity risks to protect against,” he said.
Australian Eggs has issued a list of 10 things backyard poultry owners should practice to reduce biosecurity risks:
1. Always wash hands after handling chickens or eggs.
2. Keep chickens away from ponds and rivers as water birds are known carriers of avian influenza.
3. Ensure that wild birds cannot access the chickens’ feed or water. Diseases can be easily transmitted to poultry by contamination of feed or water.
4. Keep other animals like domestic geese or turkeys, and even cats and dogs, well away as they can bring disease to chickens.
5. Use safe water sources such as town water, good quality bore water or sanitised surface water for chickens to drink.
6. Provide a secure rodent-proof enclosure for poultry as rats and mice are known carriers of disease.
7. Any kitchen scraps fed to chickens must be meat and animal free. When spoiled, these may carry dangerous bacteria.
8. Check hens regularly for anything unusual such as coughing, diarrhoea or swollen eyes.
9. If a chicken is showing signs of sickness, isolate the sick animal from others and seek veterinary advice in a timely manner.
10.Call Animal Health Australia’s 24-hour emergency animal disease watch hotline on 1800 675 888 if there are unusual symptoms or signs of serious disease.
Zac and Bella Barton have been learning about the responsibility that comes with having baby chickens as pets.