With Easter two weeks away, chicks and ducklings are hatching across Maryland, but the cuddly birds carry real risks for children and families who do not know how to properly handle poultry. The Maryland Department of Agriculture announced on March 23 it “strongly discourages” people from buying chicks as presents this spring, because of the risk of illness from improperly handling live poultry.
“Obviously, we can’t stop commerce, but it’s just not a good idea,” Dr. Michael Radebaugh, the state veterinarian, said in an interview Thursday. Maryland has been on heightened alert since highly pathogenic avian influenza, or bird flu, was found in Tennessee this year, Radebaugh said. Sickened flocks have been contained, eradicated and disinfected. No cases have been found since March 15. Read more