Baby chickens, though cute, should not be given as Easter gifts, warns the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in a news release. The department cautions that giving young chickens or ducklings to children as Easter gifts can endanger those in the household.
"We urge people to avoid baby chicks, ducklings and other young fowl as Easter gifts because they pose a real health risk for young children and those with weakened immune systems,” says Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, deputy state epidemiologist for the Division of Public Health. “These birds may appear healthy, but they can carry strains of Salmonella and other bacteria that can cause serious illness.”
If parents do choose to give young birds as Easter gifts, the department has a few guidelines to follow to ensure the safety of humans.
- Do not keep baby birds in child care centers or inside homes;
- Avoid eating or drinking around birds or their living areas; and
- After handling birds immediately wash your hands with soap and water. Avoid touching anything else before washing your hands, including pacifiers, toys or bottles.