Backyard Chicken Coops Can Pose Viral Threat

By Robert PreidtHealthDay Reporter FRIDAY, March 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Elevating chickens in your

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Elevating chickens in your backyard — a well-known craze all through the COVID-19 pandemic — retains challenges that can come residence to roost in an unwelcome way.

It truly is presently very well identified that poultry can unfold the salmonella germs to human handlers. But chickens cooped up in backyards could also be breeding grounds for viruses that pose an even greater community overall health risk, according to Sonia Hernandez, a professor of wildlife condition at the University of Georgia, in Athens.

“As a researcher who research pathogen movement alongside distinct groups, I see backyard chickens as a probable interface exactly where pathogens can spill around into wild birds, or vice versa, and even into folks,” Hernandez mentioned in a college information release.

“Owners need to have to find info and health care care for their animals to minimize individuals challenges,” she mentioned.

The major risk comes from family chickens’ probable as a reservoir for mutations in the so-termed avian flu (“fowl flu”). These viruses can infect commercially generated poultry and devastate individuals industries. But people could be specifically influenced, much too.


“Traditionally, most hugely pathogenic avian influenza viruses only influenced chickens in business functions,” Hernandez mentioned, “but not too long ago, we have seen that they can — in uncommon instances — move into folks, and there are expanding stories of it impacting backyard chickens and wild birds.”

Bird flu outbreaks could unfold to people, one thing which is on scientists’ minds in a calendar year dominated by a world-wide pandemic of coronavirus. Most experts believe that SARS-CoV-2 originated from an animal-to-human “spillover” event occurring somewhere in China.

“People today need to have to acknowledge that they have to acquire some duty for their overall health and the overall health of their animals,” Hernandez mentioned. “Also, we’re dwelling in a pandemic at the minute since of a spillover event, simple and simple.”

Hernandez reminded the community that, other than the probable risk from viruses, chickens can effortlessly unfold salmonella to folks.

“It can become especially hazardous if you blend tiny chickens with tiny folks — youthful chickens that are shedding a ton of salmonella with smaller young children that don’t have the finest cleanliness techniques,” she mentioned.


Most folks who get salmonella infection have signs such as diarrhea, fever and abdomen cramps, but about 26,five hundred People in america are hospitalized due to these infections and 420 die just about every calendar year.

Hernandez mentioned overall health officials are trying to stay on top of salmonella in backyard chickens since they have seen an explosion of salmonellosis as trying to keep chickens has received popularity.

Hernandez co-wrote a paper with Andrea Ayala, a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., about how ailments can be unfold involving chickens and wild birds. Just lately printed in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, it outlined strategies backyard rooster owners can retain their flock, wild birds and by themselves risk-free.

The approaches involve positioning backyard rooster feeders exactly where only chickens can access them and making use of mesh to stop wild birds from coming into get hold of with chickens and their coops. The authors also endorse obtaining rid of wild fowl feeders and removing contaminated drinking water resources, insects and rodents. They mentioned it truly is also vital to manage great cleanliness, such as altering footwear when visiting distinct flocks and restricting readers.


In the information release, Ayala pointed out that, “as backyard chickens become extra widespread, the interactions involving wild birds and backyard chickens are also probably to maximize. Wild birds are captivated to meals, drinking water and shelter, and backyard chickens present all 3.”

A lot more info

The U.S. Centers for Disease Handle and Avoidance has extra on backyard poultry.

Source: University of Georgia, information release, March 2, 2021