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Ducks (& other Poulty) in the Garden--Salmonella?!?

 
Nicole Alderman
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So, here I've been, happily applying my ducks' deep litter bedding on my garden, having heard how wonderful poultry poop is for plants. People talk about free-ranging their poultry, using duck water for duckaponics, and/or letting their ducks in their garden to eat slugs and fertilize at the same time. It all sounds wonderful and integrative...and then, I read about Salmonella http://www.cdc.gov/Features/SalmonellaPoultry/index.html (and all sorts of other wonderfully scary things--https://www.birdgard.com/Health-Hazards-of-Bird-Droppings). Some people are saying all the poop needs to be aged/composted to be used (http://www.unce.unr.edu/publications/files/ho/2013/fs1323.pdfOthers say the salmonella can be taken up into the plant and so the veggies shouldn't be eaten unless cooked --not just washed (http://county.wsu.edu/king/gardening/mg/factsheets/Fact%20Sheets/Using%20Manure%20as%20Compost.pdf)

But, then, if bird poo is so horrible, wouldn't all our food be contaminated just by the droppings of wild birds as they go about their live? Some say the rate of salmonella is really low (http://www.permies.com/t/33444/chickens/Normal-rate-salmonella-homestead-chickens). I'm overwhelmed by this. If it were just me and my husband eating the veggies, I'd not be worried. But, I have an 18 month old son, who I want to be able to eat fresh veggies. What are your guys thoughts and opinions and research on this?
 
Dave Burton
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Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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I think it would be more dangerous if the poop was just sitting there for days and weeks on end without getting degraded than if it got quickly degraded. Watch the freely dropped poop and take observations on it. How long does it take for it to be reintegrated into your ecosystem?

I think there is some media-hyping going on with outbreaks.

You have already found the CDC website; they have the best advice on most health issues. Common sense helps a lot, too.
 
Thomas Partridge
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Location: Zone 7a
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I think if you are concerned (understandable with an 18 month old) you should thoroughly wash any fruits and vegetables you harvest from your garden and wash your hands after working in the garden.

On the flip side however, we have had chickens and ducks for over a month now and I often forget to wash my hands after handling their waterer or picking them up and have yet to get sick from doing so. I am not too concerned about it with me and my wife, we are both young enough where even if we got salmonella it probably wouldn't end up being serious. We also use either a tractor that we move semi-daily (ducks) or a massive outbuilding where they get almost 20 square feet each (chickens) so we don't worry about diseases too much. Then again, as I said we are not in your situation and in your situation would probably be far more cautious than we are currently.
 
Dawn Conrad
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Location: south central virginia
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Nicole, I have seven Runner ducks that reside in my garden. However I do raise my veggies in raised beds that are bordered with used wine bottles so the ducks cannot get into them. They happily dine on any bugs/slugs/flying insects they can catch and choice greens within their reach. Two reasons for the raised beds, one being the concern regarding salmonella and the other being that they would clean the veggies out in no time! I do allow them to freely frolic in the beds that are finished producing for the year, so they fertilize a bit and enjoy an end of season treat at the same time.
 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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This is the first I have heard of any bacteria translocating into and through the vascular system of a plant, and the link doesn't work for me! If it's true it would be a game changer for the use of all manner of manures and composts. I have long relied on burial under plants for the safe and useful disposal of even humanure and pet waste....under plants for cooked use or that bear their edible yield well above ground. I do know that in areas without good human waste sanitation where raw sewage is used for fertilizer, the resulting food is not the usual mode of disease transmission....probably because most veggies in such places are cooked. The common methods are 1. contaminated water, including water used for washing, 2. contaminated hands, and 3. flies, which land on manure and then directly on the food. These methods of transmission are worth being aware of on any homestead where manure, human or animal, is in use.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Dawn Conrad wrote:Nicole, I have seven Runner ducks that reside in my garden. However I do raise my veggies in raised beds that are bordered with used wine bottles so the ducks cannot get into them. They happily dine on any bugs/slugs/flying insects they can catch and choice greens within their reach. Two reasons for the raised beds, one being the concern regarding salmonella and the other being that they would clean the veggies out in no time! I do allow them to freely frolic in the beds that are finished producing for the year, so they fertilize a bit and enjoy an end of season treat at the same time.


Can you post a pic of your beds with the bottles. I'd love to see it.
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1261
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I have heard this. Quite a few times. I have decided not to allow it to worry me. My animals are healthy and I have too many other things to worry about. I might not let them in my salad beds, but that's more because they'd eat it all anyway.
 
Meryt Helmer
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Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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I have read that some people will occasionally send eggs to labs to be tested for salmonella. I also have read that the way salmonella usually infects the birds is through mice or rats. if you can do things to limit the numbers of rodents in the area your birds are less likely to ever have salmonella and then there is no risk of them passing it on to you and your family. I have young ducks that are not yet outside but when they do go outside I will compost their bedding well before it goes to my plants and I plan to filter their little ponds water with a duckponics system. they will only be able to free range when I am home because we have so many predators here and if salmonella becomes a concern i will fence off the leafy green plants I eat raw and make it so they only can poop around the fruit trees which have been shown in studies not to take the salmonella up into the fruit.
 
Jennifer Richardson
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Location: Columbus, Texas, USA (Colorado County). Zone 8b, verging on Zone 9. Humid subtropical, drought prone
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So, I used to not care about this with my chickens, I was just kind of like "whatever, people worry too much about nothing," and then I got salmonella last year (we are pretty sure it came from eating fried chicken from Church's on a road trip, not from my chooks, based on timing and some other factors, but it's impossible to be sure, even after the health department questioned me for like three hours on the phone). Anyway, it was really, really horrible. I was hospitalized for over a week, on IV fluids up till the minute I was discharged--I couldn't even drink clear liquids without horrible pain--I was so dehydrated when I was admitted that they couldn't even get a blood pressure to register on their machine, it was so low, and the doctors told me I was going into shock when I was admitted (I cannot remember this, because apparently I was really out of it, but I was not making sense, was unable to answer questions or remember where I was, and seemed to maybe be hallucinating at times). I had severe intestinal bleeding and was actually scheduled for a transfusion in the hospital because I'd lost so much blood, until the antibiotics finally kicked in and my gut healed enough to stop the bleeding, which had been going on for 5+ days. I had to take IV morphine for days as well as some nasty broad spectrum antibiotics because they weren't sure what I had at first, and couldn't wait for cultures to come back because they needed to get it stopped ASAP. The antibiotics led to yeast infections for months afterward, and I'm sure my gut flora are still screwed (foods that previously didn't bother me now cause stomach upset, even months later) and basically everything sucked. And I was a healthy 26-year-old at the time (27 now), with no medical conditions and a strong constitution, who usually eats well (except when on road trips, obviously) and gets plenty of sunshine, exercise, etc. In other words, just having a generally healthy lifestyle did not protect me. Moral of the story: salmonella is nothing to play around with, and it is not something that even a a healthy young person will necessarily shake off on their own in three or four days. Now I only apply chicken bedding, etc. around woody perennials, and not in the veggie garden. It's a personal decision, but I can say that after what I went through, especially if I had a young child, I would not use any poultry droppings on vegetables or low-growing fruits like strawberries, unless it had been hot-composted and aged for over a year (as if it were humanure, basically).
 
Ann Torrence
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I did some math over here on my perceived risks of salmonella from my backyard flock.
 
Meryt Helmer
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Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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Ann Torrence wrote:I did some math over here on my perceived risks of salmonella from my backyard flock.


but is it the same for ducks? do they show symptoms of illness as well? i know ducks are generally much hardier and seem to get sick much less and I hope this means they are less likely to get salmonella!
 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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and this answers my question. ducks act sick when they have salmonella the same as chickens also a veterinarian can test them!
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/647247/salmonella-in-ducks
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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