CDC warns kissing, snuggling "Backyard Chickens" leads to Salmonella outbreaks

NOW: CDC warns kissing, snuggling “Backyard Chickens“ leads to Salmonella outbreaks

OZAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Backyard chickens will be soon be allowed in the village of Grafton. The change comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues a warning about the birds.

An outbreak of Salmonella may have been caused because people were treating them too much like pets - even kissing them, according to a press release.

With all this talk about backyard chickens - for one families right inside the town of Saukville - during more than two decades those backyard chickens have been a way of life.

Erin Stewart has a whole flock of birds behind her house.

"I just kind of loosely call it the Free Spirit Farm," Stewart said.

"We found the chicken coop on the side of the road for free, ripped the siding off of it and made it match our house," Stewart said.

"We built the house and within a week of being out here I had chickens ordered," Stewart said.

It all started well before her own chick...or rather, son...was "hatched".

"Oh yeah, she's a big chicken person. It's the chickens then me sometimes," Taylor Stewart, Erin's song, said.

And although there have been no issues with their chickens, already in 2017 there have been more cases of salmonella linked to poultry than in all of 2016 combined. Those figures are nationwide. One person even died in North Carolina, according to a press release.

The CDC blames people getting too comfortable with backyard chickens which carry the disease.

This is Erin's take on it:

"Some of them are definitely more pets than others but i'm not out here kissing them or anything," Erin Stewart said.

"The good ones get names. Otherwise they just kind of get generalized by their colors. The red one, the yellow one," Erin said.

"I'd say take care of your birds by washing your hands. I wouldn't go putting them in your face but treat them like a normal animal. Don't be putting them in your face," Taylor Stewart said.

"It's kind of hard to resist but do the best that you can because it's better to stay free of diseases," Taylor Stewart said.

The village of Grafton's backyard chicken ordinance goes into effect on September 1. Permits are required.

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