Chickens can be enjoyable to keep and raise. They aren’t picky and will eat pretty much anything that humans can eat, they give you eggs and meat, they have unique personalities, and can be attached to humans.
But, chickens’ natural habitat is outside with open space. They touch and interact with the soil every day, so people may think they aren’t clean. People may also think they are clean compared to many pets, so are chickens dirty?
Are chickens dirty?
Although chickens have the potential to be dirty, they do spend a lot of time preening and looking after their feathers. Furthermore, you can help your chickens stay clean with little effort.
Are chickens the dirtiest?
It’s easy to think chickens are dirty since they can potentially walk on their own waste with their bare feet, they seem to not mind where they are standing most of the time.
However, chickens act just like wild animals. Wild animals also don’t really mind whether where they are standing or walking is dirty or not since it’s not in their concept at all. So chickens aren’t definitely the dirtiest.
So what animals are the dirtiest?
No animal species is the dirtiest, but they can get quite dirty if they aren’t taken care of properly.
With chickens, if there were a dirty score system for chickens, the chickens from the factories will score way higher than free-ranging chickens since, with factory chickens, their waste covers the whole coop faster.
With other animals, such as pigs, while they enjoy bathing themselves in muds, they can be cleaner than indoor pets like dogs and cats that are taken care of properly or even abandoned.
There are many aspects when it comes to the term “dirty” besides appearance, health is also important when telling something is dirty. Animals are susceptible to sickness if they are covered with their own waste.
You may also like: Are chickens social animals?
Can chickens make you sick?
It’s not common for a chicken to make you sick, but there are possibilities. Salmonella is one of those possibilities.
Salmonella is a bacteria that appears in chicken’s poo. And since the chickens use the same “exit” to release waste and lay eggs, this bacteria can appear on eggshells too.
Salmonella can enter your body indirectly through eggs. You use your hand to grab the unwashed eggs from the nest and use it for breakfast or any meal during the day. And then you use your hands to hold food to eat like a sandwich or some fruit.
So unless you wash your hands thoroughly after grabbing the eggs, then the Salmonella may have entered your body without you noticing anything at all.
However, you don’t have to worry too much about the risk of the bacteria. With dogs, you are at risk with the roundworm parasite if they lick their butt and then lick you unless you wash their mouth.
So it is important to prevent these parasites from reaching you. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay away from your chickens all the time.
As mentioned, animals can get very dirty if not taken care of properly. So you should provide your chickens with a clean and big enough space to live in and most importantly, wash your hands regularly, especially after grabbing the eggs.
Should you keep chickens in your house?
As people slowly notice how close chickens can get to being pets like dogs or cats thanks to their unique personalities and their abilities to get attached to humans, people start keeping chickens as pets.
While it is true that chickens are very entertaining and interesting to observe, they are not like your cats and dogs. The main difference is their natural habitat – the outside space.
So why shouldn’t you keep chickens in your house?
Your house isn’t chickens’ natural space
Chickens’ habits are walking around in an open space, digging dirt, and looking for food. So the environment inside the house will be cramped for the chickens.
Also, chickens are social animals. They usually live in a flock and do many activities together like dust-bathing, walking around, etc. If you keep a chicken alone in your house, it will experience stress and suffer badly.
Chickens can spread their waste in your house
Chickens aren’t litter trained. So they may go around and release waste at places in your house, even the diaper chickens won’t help much in preventing the dirty things from spreading in your house.
Chickens can also spread dirty things simply by flapping their wings, which they do a lot. The dust, dirt, and any other things on their whole body will end up in your house, and you will be constantly exposed to them. There may even fecal dust or mites as well.
What disease can chickens spread to you?
Here are some of the diseases you can get from chickens, or from any poultry animal in general: Bird flu (avian influenza), Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. Coli.
For most of those diseases, while it is not common that they are passed to humans, children that are younger than 5 years old, old people, pregnant women, or people with weak immune systems are at risk of getting this flu (source).
It is also important to know that most of these diseases can spread from being in contact with the chickens’ droppings, feces, or chickens’ poop in general. So keeping your chickens and yourself clean is very important.
So, are chickens dirty? Chickens and pretty much any wild animals will be covered with their own waste and dirty particles to some extent. But they can also spend a lot of time preening and taking care of their feathers.
That’s why you should give your chickens clean space, and wash your hands regularly when being in contact with the chickens.