Keep Kissing Your Pet Chicken -- Until it Kills You

What happens when your daughter asks for a puppy and you buy her chickens instead? She gets upset, you eat fresh eggs everyday and the government warns you playing with your new pet can be deadly.

"Chick02". Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons

New York's Fox 5 tells us about a Queens kid who wanted a dog for her birthday but got pet chickens. Mom says "She was at first disappointed," but really, chickens are super easy to care for:

"They're very independent. It's almost like having a cat."

Harrigan and her family keep these four hens as pets. The Harrigan brood's laying and strutting and clucking proved so popular in its Little Neck neighborhood that other humans on the block constructed their own coops for their own tenants to keep up with the Harrigans.

"Since we got chickens, all the neighbors decided they wanted chickens," Harrigan said.

And what goes with chicken besides 11 herbs and spices? Salmonella, according to the Centers for Disease Control:

The CDC put out a warning asking chicken owners not to snuggle or kiss their birds for fear of contracting salmonella.

"Chickens actually have salmonella naturally and they don't get sick from it, but humans do, and the main symptoms are diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain," Dr. Robert Glatter said. He didn't need to read the CDC report detailing the rise in salmonella infections from pet chickens, ducks and turkeys in 2015 to recommend against keeping chickens as pets.

Read the rest and a little something from the CDC about the 1 million illnesses, 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths annually from Salmonella (including that "children under the age of 5 have higher rates of Salmonella infection than any other age group"). Death by dog is somewhat lower (OK, it's a lot lower).