Keeping backyard chickens

Backyard - chicken

Keeping chickens as pets can be a rewarding experience, especially for children. However, chickens and other poultry can carry germs such as Salmonella, even when they appear healthy and clean. These germs are found in the chickens’ faeces (poo) which can contaminate the chickens' feathers, the environment they live in, and the surfaces of their eggs.

The Food Safety Unit at the Department of Health and Human Services has put together the below information to ensure you can keep your chickens, yourself and your family safe and healthy.

Please read: How many chickens you can keep on your property

Keeping chickens and staying healthy

Follow these simple steps to help make sure that keeping chickens is a positive experience and reduce the chances of you or your family becoming sick: 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water when handling chickens, their eggs or coming into contact with chicken litter etc. 
  • Supervise young children when they are around chickens to ensure they do not cuddle or kiss the chickens, or touch their faces or mouth with unwashed hands 
  • Don't eat or drink around live poultry 
  • Have a dedicated pair of shoes to wear inside chicken enclosures and don't wear these anywhere else
  • Wear gloves when cleaning out the chicken enclosure. 

For a full list of helpful information, such as egg safety and chicken health:

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Last updated: 07 July 2020