How to prevent Chickens getting Salmonella
Its been a very hot topic in recent times. Chickens, Eggs and Salmonella. And rightly so. Salmonella can be a dangerous infection in both chickens as well as their handlers or keepers. But with the right knowledge, you can help keep your hens and family relatively safe from this nasty bacterial infection. Here are our Top 9 ways to help stop chickens getting Salmonella:
Top 9 ways to help stop chickens getting Salmonella:
- Isolate sick or ill chickens from the flock immediately.
- Avoid food scraps on the ground which encourage mice, rats and vermin.
- Help control insects such as flies and roaches by cleaning the coop regularly.
- Regularly change the nesting box straw as well as the roosting bedding.
- Clean the coop floor, chicken feeder and also chicken drinker lubing cup. Then disinfect with natural Apple Cider Vinegar mix.
- Remove faeces from the coop floor as well as the pen or run.
- Discourage wild birds by using bird netting. Wild bird faeces can introduce Salmonella.
- Keep the chicken run dry to prevent muddy puddles.
- Increase Chicken resistance to Salmonella by using Probiotics.
How does Salmonella Spread in Chickens?
Before all the alarms sound in your head, Salmonella in an established healthy flock of Backyard chickens is unlikely.
Salmonella is a bacterial infection. It spreads quickly from infected backyard chickens to their keepers or handlers. The most common way of Salmonella entering a coop is from Mouse and Rat droppings. That is why a Waste reducing Chicken Feeder such as Dine A Chook is a vital asset for your coop. With virtually no feed on the ground, there is less attraction for rats, mice and other vermin. The salmonella germ can get in the chicken coop from many sources. Just the same as Coccidiosis can enter the coop from preowned chicken feeders, bedding or coops, so can Salmonella. Other ways it can enter the coop is from infected hay or straw, plants and also it may be present in the soil.
Once in the coop or pen, it can spread from bird to bird from contact with their feathers, feet, beaks and more likely their faeces. It can also be transferred hen to hen via the drinking cup or contaminated feeder.
Therefore it is essential to always keep an eye out for a sick bird. Keep in mind as a backyard chicken keeper watching for sick birds is part and parcel of protecting your flock. Not just from Salmonella but also other diseases which may be transmitted such as coccidiosis.
Symptoms of a Chicken with Salmonella:
We want to throw in a disclaimer here. Dine A Chok are not poultry medical experts, but the advice below has been diligently researched.
While the below does not guarantee a definite diagnosis for Salmonella, you should keep an eye out for the below symptoms in your poultry. If you see these symptoms isolate the chicken and take it to the vet. Do not reintroduce it until given a clean bill of health. Also, before reintroduction to the flock, the returning bird should be vaccinated for coccidiosis and remain isolated for a week or so.
- Chicken appears weak and sluggish
- The combs and wattles on the hen are less red and more purple
- Suppressed appetite
- Increased thirst
- Very obvious white, golden yellow or greenish diarrhea
- Reduction in laying
- Swollen eyes which can lead to blindness
- Swollen and stiff joints.
The tricky part for a backyard keeper is that these symptoms can also be from other poultry illnesses. So, therefore, a trip to the vet is the only way for a professional diagnosis.
Once you have seen these signs and symptoms, take the following steps:
- Implement immediate isolation of the hen or hens
- Clean and disinfect the coop including changing all bedding and nesting materials.
- Ensure you wash thoroughly including hands and also under fingernails.
- Wash your boots and clothing with an antibacterial laundry wash such as Canesten.
- Take the afflicted birds to the vet.
Once again, remember in Australia, a clean backyard chicken coop it is a very low risk for Salmonella infections. However, following the advice above will lessen the risk further. We also more comprehensive information on how to prevent Salmonella infecting you and your family. Feel free to take your time and read the below articles. Let us know via email if you have found them helpful.