Safe handling of chicks


The intestinal tracts of all mammals (including humans) and birds have various types of
bacteria as part of their natural intestinal micro flora. There are many opportunities
(such as pets, playmates, etc.) for young children to be exposed to these bacteria.
Some types of bacteria may cause disease in susceptible humans. When dealing with
animals in any situation personal hygiene is important. This is also true when conducting a chick incubation and hatching project. Here are some reminders of proper hygiene practices.

Hand washing is necessary to reduce any risk of bacterial infections. Wash your hands
after coming in contact with any animals, birds or eggs. Proper hand washing
techniques should be taught to insure the health of the students.
RUB your hands vigorously with soap and water for 20 seconds (about the time it
takes your students to sing the Alphabet song)
WASH the back of hands, wrists, between fingers and under fingernails
RINSE well
DRY thoroughly with a paper towel
TURN OFF water faucets with an elbow or paper towel

If there is no access to running water, anti-bacterial hand sanitizers or wipes should be
used. A variety of anti-bacterial lotions and hand sanitizers and wipes are available at
most grocery, drug and department stores. Read the labels and select products that
state they have a kill rate of 99% or greater for bacteria on contact. Wash hands
properly as described above as soon as possible.

Supervise children when handling birds or animals.
Do not allow children to nuzzle or kiss animals, chicks and ducklings
Do not allow children to touch their mouths or eyes with their hands during or
after handling animals and birds prior to hand washing
Do not allow children to eat and drink before washing their hands thoroughly.

There are other things that can be done to reduce the risk of exposure of bacteria:

-Always clean and sanitize the incubator prior to incubating eggs
Only set clean eggs from a reliable source
In order to prevent the potential transmission of bacteria from adults and children
to the chicks or eggs, hand washing prior to handling the eggs or birds is
Always thoroughly clean any surfaces that have been contaminated with animal
Clean and sanitize the incubator immediately after use and properly dispose of
the shells and eggs that do not hatch