Salmonella and Poultry

This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

After you touch ducklings or chicks, wash your hands so you don't get sick!

Do you have live poultry (chickens, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, and turkeys) or are you thinking about building a coop?

Are you planning to have pictures taken with baby chicks or purchase baby chicks for the holidays?

Poultry can sometimes carry germs that make people sick even if they look clean and healthy.

In 2023, Mississippi had 21 cases of Salmonella reported that were linked to a national outbreak due to backyard poultry. These animals shouldn't be treated as pets, and adults and children should take steps to avoid contamination and illness from them.

What to Know

  • Contact with live poultry (chicks, chickens, ducklings, ducks, geese, and turkeys) can be a source of human Salmonella infections.

  • Salmonella germs can cause mild to severe diarrheal illness in people. Infants and older adults can die.

  • Chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry can carry Salmonella germs and still appear healthy and clean.

  • Salmonella germs are shed in their droppings and can easily contaminate their bodies and anything in areas where birds live and roam.

Protect Yourself and Your Family from Germs


  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam.
  • Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.
  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water as soon as possible.
  • Clean all equipment or materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry outside the house, such as cages or feed or water containers.


  • Don't let children younger than 5 years of age, elderly persons, or people with weak immune systems handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry.
  • Don't let live poultry inside the house, in bathrooms, or especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens, or outdoor patios.
  • Don't snuggle or kiss the birds, touch your mouth, or eat or drink around live poultry.

More Information

Last reviewed on Mar 26, 2024 request edits
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866‑HLTHY4U Contact and information

Facebook Twitter Instagram RSS

Accredited by the national Public Health Accreditation Board