Vet’s Fo­rum

Your wel­fare ques­tions an­swered

Country Smallholding - - Inside This Month -

Q We have just in­vested in a small flock of young chick­ens all about 18 weeks now and we have two small chil­dren who ob­vi­ously love them. Please can you ad­vise if are there any dis­eases that are eas­ily spread from birds to hu­mans with ev­ery­day con­tact and, if so, what are the best pre­cau­tions to take to safe­guard the chil­dren.

VR SAYS: Keep wild birds away from the chick­ens’ area and make sure any rats that ap­pear due to the scent of the feed are con­trolled, as rats do carry sev­eral nasty bac­te­rial dis­eases. In­sist that hands are washed af­ter touch­ing the chicken lit­ter or the chick­ens them­selves, as sal­mo­nella and campy­lobac­ter can be trans­ferred - low risk if the hens have been vac­ci­nated and com­mer­cially reared, higher risk if they have been back­yard reared. How­ever, bear in mind that this dis­ease trans­fer process can work both ways and hu­mans may con­tam­i­nate chick­ens. Con­grat­u­la­tions on start­ing a won­der­ful hobby for all the fam­ily.

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