Animal Care Wednesday Webinars
Husbandry Practices in the Spotlight
As families desire to raise their own food, more people are beginning to raise chickens and other poultry in urban and suburban areas. When people bring poultry into communities and their backyards, issues can arise. Dr. Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky Poultry Extension Project Manager, presented some of these challenges during the August Animal Care Wednesday Webinar.
Poultry pose several health concerns. One of the major health concerns for people is Salmonella. Salmonella outbreaks typically happen annually with 611 cases occurring this year as of July 19, 2016 and 32% of those were children under five years old. Of these 611 cases, there were 138 hospitalizations and one death reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Most of the outbreaks occurred around March and April when people are getting new baby chicks. Kentucky has had 35 cases and South Dakota has had nine cases. To track Salmonella cases in each state, visit the CDC Case Count Map.
Prevention is the key to minimizing Salmonella outbreaks from backyard poultry. Families that raise poultry at home should wash their hands immediate after handling birds, eggs, or cleaning cages and bedding. Even though baby chicks are cute and cuddly, it is important to keep birds outside. One other recommendation is separate the areas birds have access outside away from where people play in the yard. This helps to limit the transmission of bacteria and pathogens in the bird feces and urine to people.
A newer issue that is arising with backyard poultry in urban neighborhoods is people surrendering birds to shelters. When baby chicks grow up they are less cuddly. Also, people do not properly sex young birds. This can result in people thinking they have only hens, but then some chicks grow up and are roosters that start crowing. Many times cities allow people to keep a certain number of hens, but many cities have ordinances against owning roosters because of the crowing nuisance.
Dr. Jacob shared a few things that Extension has been doing to reach the growing number of people raising backyard poultry and provide educational resources to them. She holds workshops on the pros and cons of raising backyard poultry and the proper care of each age of bird. Hosting “tour de coupes” so people can visit current backyard flocks and see if they want to pursue raising their own birds. However Jacob says, “The most important thing is to become familiar with the regulations and ordinances within your state and city about backyard poultry. Ultimately, city ordinances dictate if raising birds is even allowable.”
For more information about backyard poultry care, contact Dr. Jacquie Jacob 859.257.7613. Additional information and webinars about poultry-related topics can be found courtesy of the eXtension and University of Kentucky Extension websites.