If you’re a “locavore,” interested in where your food comes from, and you care about factory farming, you may well be among the growing number who keep backyard hens or ducks. If you do, however, you need to be aware of safe practices. E are obvious, but others will come as a surprise. I never thought it would be wrong to wash eggs, for example. Here are some guidelines to keep you safe from the risk of bacterial salmonella.
- Wash your hands with soap and water after handling eggs, chickens, or anything to do with them, such as feeders or coops. “Wash” means rubbing your hands under soapy water for long enough to sing “happy birthday” to yourself – I..e, don’t just rinse. That merely hydrates the bacteria 😉 If you can’t wash, use hand sanitizer.
- Don’t bring anything to do with your poultry into your home.
- Keep your coop clean; remove feces daily with a scoop. Cleaning the coop, floor, nests and perches regularly will help to keep eggs clean and reduce the risk of salmonella.
- Keep kids, the elderly, and people with suppressed immune systems away from poultry and poultry gear.
- Collect eggs daily. If you’re uncertain of the age of an egg, or it’s cracked, throw it away.
- Clean dirty eggs with a brush or cloth. Don’t wash them, because this can drive bacteria into the egg.
- Refrigerate eggs immediately after collection.
- Cook eggs thoroughly. Raw or undercooked eggs can make you sick.