The Center for Food Safety and the Prevention of Foodborne Disease aims to improve food safety and prevent foodborne disease by fostering collaboration among academia, government, and industry in Colorado and the Region. As a Center within the Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH), we are committed to improving training, research, continuing education, and outreach related to food safety and the prevention of foodborne disease.
Backyard Chickens: An Egg-cellent Idea
Chickens are a great way to teach your family about food, responsibility, and animal husbandry. Additionally, they are rather entertaining. However, before purchasing a few feathered friends, keep these tips in mind to keep the chickens and your family safe. For more information regarding backyard chickens from the Colorado State University Extension click here.
Caring for the Flock
Maintaining the flock in an enclosed shed is often a local requirement and will help protect the flock from predators and make egg collecting easier.
Eggs will stay cleaner if the shed area is kept clean and dry. Maintain floor litter in good condition. Thoroughly clean and disinfect the shed at least twice a year. Obtain an approved disinfectant from your feed store and apply according to directions.
Allow one nest for every three to four chickens and make sure nests are large enough for your hens. To protect eggs, pad nests with straw or wood chips. Clean out nest boxes once a week to remove dirty litter and manure and replace with clean nesting material.
Allow adequate nest space and plenty of clean nesting material to help to ensure clean eggs and limit egg breakage.
Provide a perch above the floor over a dropping box away from the nests. Chickens will roost on the perch to sleep and defecate into the wire-mesh covered dropping box.
Caring for Yourself
Always wash your hands with soap and water after handling eggs, chickens, or anything in their environment.
Do not wash feed and water dishes from the chicken shed in the kitchen sink.
If you choose to share eggs from your flock with friends and neighbors it is important to follow the safety recommendations outlined in this fact sheet. Use generic egg cartons that do not display a store or brand name and provide the date eggs were collected.
Adapted from CSU Extension Backyard Chickens Fact Sheet.