View Full Version : Can you get salmonella from holding a baby duck?

01-29-2000, 02:48 PM
Anyone out there know if its possible to contract salmonella from holding a baby duck at a petting zoo? I know the risk exists if you hold a chick but I can find zero data on the risk concerning ducks. Someone please educate me on this!

Ursa Major
01-29-2000, 02:58 PM
Only if it poops on you, and some how gets into your mouth.

The bacteria lives in the intestinal tracts of birds (and other animals, including humans). Quite often some traces of intestinal matter is left on poultry after it is dressed (butchered). If the bird is not cooked at a high enough temp. some of the salmonella bacteria will survive the trip to your stomach and cause an infection that causes dehydration and the runs.

01-29-2000, 03:16 PM
Thank you for your response... I was aware of that info regarding chickens... however i was curious if ducks posed the same risk.. or if the risk is lower or even higher than chickens

Vestal Blue
01-29-2000, 04:52 PM
In a word: Yes. I agree with Ursa.
Minimize the handling, don't put your hands near your face, and wash hands ASAP afterwards. This is hard in a zoo, so may I suggest a germicidal lotion such as Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer? Wash your hands liberally with it for at least 15 to 30 seconds, and that should take care of it.

01-29-2000, 05:08 PM
(The answer you're looking for is yes... we straight dopers like to be obtuse)

"C'mon, it's not even tomorrow yet..." - Rupert

If you need a graphic solution, http:\\talk.to\Piglet (http://talk.to\Piglet)

01-29-2000, 05:32 PM
Thanks for the response to this.. if i may id like to ask those of you responding, where did you obtain the information on ducks vs chickens. All written/printed material i have found pertains only to chickens. I have had one vetranarian tell me the risk is smaller where ducks are concerned but did not know where i might find proof of this fact. So to those of you replying, are you making an educated guess or have you found something to back up the information.... i dont meen to be pushy about this but the information i find out may determine wether or not the ducklings will be availabe in our local petting zoo to hold in the future... thanks again


01-29-2000, 06:02 PM
Ducks wash their butts in the water all the time, chickens do not.

Commander Fortune
01-29-2000, 06:32 PM
Yeah, but then they get get out of the water having just washed their butts only to track through a bunch of guano eew. Therein lies the reason for the washing of the hands.

01-29-2000, 10:53 PM
How about a press release from the CDC, Atlanta?
www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/salmchic.htm (http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/salmchic.htm)

(BTW, the answer is yes.)

Some days you're the dog, some days you're the hydrant.

01-29-2000, 11:10 PM
Well, that pretty well ends it. . .but what about rubber duckies?

Ray (always good at duckin' the question)

01-30-2000, 03:22 AM
FWIW, the risk is higher with reptiles. Don't have a link, but L.A. County published some datat on this, as well as some stuff to be found over at CDC.

It's probably more of an issue to have some kinda sanitary procedures at the petting zoo, like handwashing facilities, as opposed to trying to reduce the risk of illness by eliminating any given type of critter from the kiddies' grasp. Iguanas, hoofed animals, cats and rabbits all pose infectious risks (from salmonella to tularemia), not to mention monkees - so you presumably were thinking of some level of confidence for any given critter - such a method would be, er, unsound.

You no doubt are delving into the dark realms of liability... best get one of our regular lawyer posters to chime in. Better yet, hire one. Good luck.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
01-30-2000, 06:12 AM
Originally posted by NanoByte:
Well, that pretty well ends it. . .but what about rubber duckies?

Ray (always good at duckin' the question)

<font size=4>Bestiality combined with a rubber fetish? You're a sick little monkey, aint you Nano? </font> :D

With magic, you can turn a frog into a prince. With science, you can turn a frog into a Ph.D, and you still have the frog you started with.

01-30-2000, 06:28 AM
I'll say upfront I don't have any sources for this to hand, just experience.

One reason duck(ling)s and chick(en)s are noted in the Salmonella stakes is the food they used to be fed contained a high incidence of Salmonella. They ate the food, the bugs bred in their gut, and then...Well, baby fowl are not noted for their toilet training skills, so lets just say they shared the end results generously. (Same with pigs/piglets). Hence some flocks would have a high incidence of Salmonella.

So after this was worked out (and I will never, but never, forget the conference session where an earnest researcher shared her findings, including photos, of her work among the piglets, taking what can best be described as samples! The formerly-known-as-white labcoat can best be described as a tactical error) the fowl industry modified its feed to reduce the contamination, and the carry-rate for Salmonella in domesticated fowl flocks reduced. But not stopped - there are sources other than feed, so a level of problem will continue.

Some non-domesticated fowl which frequent rubbish dumps, such as seagulls and pigeons, are more of a problem. But not likely to be in a petting zoo, which is the point of the OP. But it's not just the fowl - ever looked at the back end of a lamb? Bleeeech.

Remember, kids suck their fingers, eat dirt, and do other things that turn the stomach of hygiene conscious adults. And IMH(personal as distinct from professional)O that's as it should be - you can't wrap 'em in cotton wool and you can't sterilise their surroundings. But you can remove signeificant risks.

I agree with the previous poster (whose name I can't see while writing this), set up a handwashing facility. Need to CYA for legal reasons on the details? Ask a professional industrial microbiologist (not pathologist)- try the nearest Uni if the phone book doesn't have a listing.

Odd, you know....few people ever ask a food microbiologist about their day's work over dinner.

01-30-2000, 06:34 AM
Of course, when I referred to the previous poster with whom I agreed, it was Jorge.

Not the soul with the active imagination.

01-30-2000, 08:10 AM
Nano, my guess would be that as long as your rubby ducky doesn't relieve itself in the bathtub, you should be safe.

Some days you're the dog, some days you're the hydrant.

01-30-2000, 09:19 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by coosa:
[B]How about a press release from the CDC, Atlanta?

that information was extremely helpful.. thank you

01-30-2000, 09:26 AM
Thank you all so much for helping me with this... the petting zoo that i am referring to does provide antibacterial gel (bought through the vet clinic) and anit bacterial hand wiped that are formulated to kill the salmonella virus. The info that i have obtained from you will really help me in at least souning informed when i talk to the people working there.... thanks again...you guys/gals are GREAT

01-30-2000, 10:45 AM
You're welcome, rayeann. Glad we could help.

Some days you're the dog, some days you're the hydrant.

01-30-2000, 01:54 PM
One other thing to consider is that you will probably need a pond/pool for the ducks to swim in. Be aware that ducks crap in the water, and people like to throw food to them in the water. Most of that gets eaten quickly but some of it sinks and rots. So, unless you have an easy way to clean the pool, it is going to get pretty foul (no pun intended) pretty quickly.

"You can be smart or pleasant. For years I was smart.
I recommend pleasant."
Elwood P. Dowd

Ursa Major
01-30-2000, 02:04 PM
people like to throw food to them in the water. Most of that gets eaten quickly but some of it sinks and rots.

That's why you also need some garbage fish (carp, catfish, etc)in your duck pond. Not only will they eat the excess duck food they will also eat the duck poop (and like it, and ask for more!). Various plants (esp. water hyacinths) will take care of the fish poop.

A rudimentary and consistent biosystem is the best defence against feces-borne diseases.

01-30-2000, 11:33 PM
But throw in pigs and you have yourself an influenza factory... Ha ! Without an active imagination, huh ? (can't bring myself to add smiley to indicate joking nature of last comment).