This is no laughing matter. Before you snuggle, fondly nuzzle, cling to, hug, love or kiss your chickens, listen to this warning from the Centers For Disease Control. You have a good chance of contracting salmonella.

Chicken petting and nestling tend to be associated with a potential to be contaminated with the disease. What's more, chickens don't actually show outward signs of being contaminated.

Other than kissing Ms. Chic, often, humans come into contact with salmonella as they clean coops or gather eggs. Then, after touching their mouths or faces, ingested germs can cause fever, diarrhea, and in severe cases, death.

Chickens can either be born with the bacteria or when chickens poop, it gets in the dirt and dust that they play and walk in. And you'd never know by looking at the animal because chickens don't actually show outward signs of being contaminated. Chickens as indoor pets, rather than just egg-layers, are also becoming more and more popular.

We just passed Ash Wednesday. Springtime is the beginning of salmonella season for chicken owners, as people plan on incorporating fowl into their yards or buying them for Easter.

The CDC firmly discourages buying baby chicks as Easter gifts. But if you do, at least wear different shoes when going inside coops and rigorously wash up well after handling chickens.

But whatever you do, please don't keep live poultry in your bathtub, and in the name of Saint Valentine, the CDC implores you not to canoodle, peck, pucker up or make out with your poultry.

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