Baby chicks, ducks and rabbits sure are cute, but they come with responsibility, too.
This weekend, consider the long-term commitment they require before buying them for Easter baskets. Last year, more than 500 rabbits and 300 chickens were turned over to animal shelters in North Carolina. Dumping domesticated poultry or rabbits in wooded or rural areas makes them targets for predators as the animals are unable to fend for themselves.
Also consider that contact with poultry can lead to a Salmonella infection. Poultry can carry Salmonella germs and still appear healthy and clean. These germs can contaminate a bird’s body and anything in the area where they are displayed or housed. During 2017, there were 1,120 reported human cases of Salmonella illness linked to backyard poultry, the largest number every recorded by the Center for Disease Control. This includes 249 hospitalizations and 1 death. Forty-eight of those cases, including the one death, were North Carolina residents. Visit the CDC’s website for more information.
If you are buying animals for Easter. Follow a few helpful tips:
- Wash your hands with soap water after handling animals.
- Clean equipment or any other materials associated with caring for the birds outside of the house.
- Don’t let young children (under five) or elderly persons with weakened immune systems play or handle poultry.
- Don’t let your poultry in the house.
- Finally, don’t snuggle or kiss these birds. (Yes, we know they are cute).