Your welfare questions answered
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.