As It Happens

CDC warns urban farmers not to 'snuggle' with backyard chickens

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say almost 200 backyard chicken owners have come down with salmonella this year from getting too cozy with their poultry.
(CBC)

As tempting as it might be to give them a peck, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning backyard chicken owners to keep a safe distance from their chickens. 

The CDC says 180 people have contracted salmonella this year from backyard poultry. CDC veterinarian Megin Nichols told NPR, "We do not recommend snuggling or kissing the birds, or touching them to your mouth."

Lynette Mattke (not pictured) is a chicken owner in Washington, DC. She tells As It Happens guest host Laura Lynch that she's not going to stop cuddling her chickens.

"I have some hens that will jump up onto my lap even if I don't have food or treats with me. I don't think they would do that if they didn't appreciate a cuddle...She tucks herself with her head under my arm, closes her eyes and she's off into chicken heaven."

Mattke says she isn't worried about the CDC warning because her birds are contained in a backyard coop, and away from other animals from which they might contract diseases.

Even so, she stops short of kissing her birds.

"I've never really felt the need to kiss the chickens. I don't know why one would, really."

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