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Starting a backyard flock? Learn how to set up for success!

CDC Healthy Pets, Healthy People Newsletter

Eggsellent Ways to Keep Backyard Birds Healthy

Are you thinking about raising chickens, ducks, or other poultry at home? If so, you’re not alone! More people are keeping birds in their backyard. With spring finally here, you may be tempted to buy some chicks to start your own flock. Raising poultry can be a big responsibility, so make sure you know how to keep your birds and your family healthy and happy. 

Do your research before bringing birds home 

Backyard poultry aren’t the right fit for everyone.

  • Learn how to properly house, feed, and care for birds before you bring them home. The right shelter protects birds from predators and the weather.
  • Don’t give birds as gifts. Many chicks bought for children during springtime end up surrendered. Chicken-themed items like a stuffed animal make better gifts!
  • Consider waiting to get backyard birds if you have kids under 5. Young kids are more likely to get sick from germs poultry can carry, like Salmonella.

Stay healthy around your birds 

Take some simple steps to avoid getting sick from germs birds can carry.

  • Poultry belong outside. Don’t let backyard birds in your home.
  • Wash your hands after touching birds or anything in the area where they live and roam.
  • Don’t kiss or snuggle birds. Show your love in other ways, such as their favorite treat!
  • Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside your home.

Keep your birds healthy

Keeping your flock healthy helps keep you healthy.

  • Find a veterinarian with experience in poultry and get your birds checked out regularly.
  • Keep your birds’ housing and supplies clean.
  • If a bird gets sick or dies shortly after bringing it home, separate it from the rest of the flock and notify the feed store or hatchery where you purchased it. You should also contact your veterinarian and local extension agent. Some diseases can spread rapidly among birds.


Click here to learn more about keeping backyard poultry.

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