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How Can Chickens Make You Sick?

Last Updated: 25.02.24


If you are new to keeping poultry, you probably don’t really know what to feed chickens. This comprehensive buying guide that we have ready for you will surely come in handy.

In this short new post, we have decided to talk to you about the risks of raising chickens. To put it differently, in this article we will present to you the most common diseases that you can get from your flock. If this topic interests you, be sure to keep reading as we are sure it will be of great help.



One of the most common infections that you can get from chickens is salmonella. According to the experts, poultry can have salmonella germs on their bodies and in their droppings. Because of this, the germs can easily be transferred to the farmer’s clothes.  

For instance, you can get infected if you place your clothing that has come into contact with the flock near your mouth. This is particularly dangerous if you have small children who do not understand the importance of washing their hands after touching animals.

However, it has been proven that one does not have to actually come into contact with a bird to get sick, as germs can be easily transferred around by other people. This is the main reason why some get infected with salmonella in hospitals.

There are three categories of people that are predisposed to get infected: children under five years of age, adults that are 65 and older, as well as people with compromised immune systems due to various medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer or kidney diseases.

To prevent an infection of this type from occurring, it is vital that you wash your hands with plenty of soap regularly and that you avoid eating or coming into contact with cooking surfaces before you do so.

Plus, you should not permit your young children to play with chickens. Poultry should not be allowed inside your home and you should constantly own a second pair of shoes to wear while walking outside when you are feeding or caring for your flock.

Because eggs can be contaminated with salmonella from droppings, it is important that you follow a couple of extra rules. For instance, it is advisable that you wash your hands with soap and water every time you handle chickens or eggs.

Even more so, you should avoid actually washing the eggs as it was proven that this will pull the germs into the egg. The experts also argue that you should not eat eggs that are cracked as they might be compromised.


Although not as common as salmonella outbreaks, listeria infestations should also be considered. This disease is unusual because it is seldom transmitted by poultry. However, it is a disease spread by sheep, cattle, and goats.

When infected with this disease, most hens will start showing signs of unwellness and lethargy. In severe cases, hens die. Listeria can be treated with antibiotics. Still, outbreaks of this disease in relation to chickens are rare.

You should also know that most cases of listeria come from dairy and meat products. The biggest issue with the germs that cause it is that they can survive refrigeration.



It has been proven that Campylobacter can inhibit chickens, as well as a large range of livestock. In poultry, it does not cause illnesses and, consequently, it is not treated with antibiotics. Hens can generally pick the bug from rodents and insects, as well as from a contaminated environment.

Campylobacter infections are common in the months of summer. In the U.S.A., Campylobacter has been linked to more than 50% of the cases of enteritis.

In humans, the most telling symptoms are diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, cramps, and fever. Most victims require hydration and hospitalization, especially for the elderly and the young.


E. coli

The best-known food poisoning germ is E. coli. Although we all have E. coli living in our intestines, where it helps us break down food, this bacteria becomes a major problem when it starts showing up anywhere else in our bodies.

Given that E. coli is, as the experts argue, an opportunistic bacterium, it can attack the compromised organism. When it comes to chicken, one of the most common manifestations of the infestation is egg yolk peritonitis. This occurs when the yolk is deposited into the hen’s abdomen and not its infundibulum.

Chickens that have been infected with low pathogenic bacteria do not show signs right away. Because it is shed in the droppings, E. coli can be easily transmitted to other animals and to humans. Humans generally get infected with E. coli due to improperly cooked food.

To prevent the risks of ingesting it, the experts recommend that you wash your hands properly after handling the birds.

How to prevent your flock from getting sick?

As expected, there are a couple of safe practices that you can adhere to. For starters, it is vital that you keep the flock in a clean environment. To do so, it is best that you hose down any dirt that is accumulated in the place where hens normally roam. Litter and droppings should also be removed often, especially in the warmer months of the year.

After collection, you should clean the eggs before you store them in the fridge. Filthy eggs should be thrown away. You should not wash the eggs, as this will enable the bacteria and germs to enter them. To get the task done, there are special wipes that were specially created to be used for egg cleaning.

To help your hens stay protected, it is also essential that you supply them with high-quality food so that their immune systems are strong. You should also allow the chickens to go outside and to enjoy the sun and the grass as often as possible.

Additionally, any type of rodent infestation should be dealt with immediately, as rodents are known carriers of various diseases.



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