Since 2004, the mail-order baby chickens often used for backyard farming and in Easter baskets have been linked to over 300 salmonella cases in 43 states.
Approximately 50 million live poultry are sold through the mail each year.
Health officials say that most consumers are unaware you can contract salmonella by touching baby chicks and chickens. The birds can carry bacteria on their feet, feathers, beaks, and eggs, so people should wash their hands thoroughly after handling the poultry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that children under 5 years old should not touch live chickens at all.
According to the Associated Press, salmonella outbreaks have been linked to poultry hatcheries for over 50 years.