Fake news stories warning about the dangers of dressing chickens in Halloween costumes forced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to put out a statement contradicting the erroneous reports.
The CDC issued a press release offering tips for people to safely handle their chickens when dressing them for Halloween. The advice is as follows:
- Always wash your hands after touching chickens or anything in their environment. Running water and soap are best. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available, and wash your hands thoroughly when you get to a sink.
- Keep chickens outdoors. Never bring them in your house.
- Don’t eat or drink in the area where the birds live or roam.
- Don’t kiss your birds or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth.
- Children under 5 years old should not hold or touch chickens. Young children are more likely to get sick because their immune systems are still developing and they are more likely to put their fingers or pacifiers and other items into their mouths.
- More information about keeping backyard chickens and other poultry is available at https://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellapoultry/index.html.
The viral fake news stories claimed the dangers of a salmonella outbreak from chickens that allegedly sickened 92 people and even hospitalized 21 people. The false headlines also said that the strain was resistant to at least 13 different antibiotics, a claim that likely could have spread fear to consumers about antibiotic resistance in livestock.
After the CDC issued its statement a number of media outlets shared the correct news and let people know they could in fact dress up their chickens for Halloween:
The news did lead to some fun on The Late Show with Steven Colbert where poultry inspired Halloween costumes were shared like Cluck Norris:
While the CDC may say it is safe to dress your chicken for Halloween, we’re pretty sure farmers might be a bit apprehensive to the whole idea because it involves “putting a chicken in a costume.”
If you are a bit leery about chickens in costumes here are some ideas to instead dress your children up in agriculture themed costumes to go trick or treating: