Everyone I know with backyard chickens loves them. The birds take care of pillbugs and spiders, and the family gets fresh eggs. Sure, the birds are hard on the grass, but there are ways to mitigate that.

HOWEVER, a bunch of Washington kids (including one in Yakima) have gotten REALLY sick from backyard birds.

Salmonella is the culprit. It's one of the reasons you're supposed to wash your hands after handling raw eggs.

Apparently it's in chicks' poop!

So if you've got birds, ESPECIALLY if you have chicks, reconsider if you really want them, and if you do, WASH YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY!

Adrian Samson