Health concerns when tending to Tahoe-Truckee backyard chickens |

Health concerns when tending to Tahoe-Truckee backyard chickens

Gina Kang
Special to the Sun

These backyard chickens are owned by Morgan Goodwin, Truckee's vice mayor.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Backyard poultry is becoming more popular, and we are seeing more chicken coops in the Truckee/Tahoe area. Raising chickens is a fun and healthy way to produce eggs for your family, but there are health implications to consider when raising your own poultry.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2012 there were a record number of outbreaks of salmonella associated with backyard flocks.

Live poultry such as chickens, ducks and turkeys are carriers of salmonella. Salmonella may not cause sickness in birds, but can cause illness when passed to people.

Salmonella is a bacterium that is passed through fecal matter, and it may get on beaks, feathers and feet. Housing, water dishes and soil can also get contaminated with salmonella.

Hands should be washed immediately with soap and water after handling birds. Children should also be supervised and their hands cleaned thoroughly after handling of birds.

The CDC recommends that children under the age of 5 and immunocompromised patients avoid handling backyard poultry. It is also recommended not to allow poultry into your home, as the reported outbreaks have been associated with birds spending time in the household.

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Residents of the Truckee/Tahoe area can have wildlife such as coyotes passing through the backyards. Ensure that you have a secure enclosure for your chickens that protect them from predators such as coyotes.

For more information regarding salmonellosis in backyard poultry, please visit the CDC website at

Dr. Gina Kang, DVM, MS, lives in Truckee and is the owner of Doctor's Office for Pets on 10939A Industrial Way #101, Truckee. Visit to learn more.