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Receiving shipments of chicks during the COVID-19 pandemic

We hope this message finds you doing well, staying healthy, and looking forward to the growing season. It will be hear soon, in spite of all that is going on in the world around us. Many of you grow and sell broilers and/or eggs, and right now are receiving boxes of chicks, goslings, or ducklings in the mail at the post office.

A note of caution regarding shipping packages is worth considering. According to the Center for Disease Control, a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. While it is important to remember that this is probably not the main way the virus spreads, nonetheless it is possible to transmit it via this method. A recent study conducted by the National Institute of Health, demonstrated that the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols (up to 3 hours) and on surfaces (cardboard up to 24 hours, plastic and stainless steel up to 2-3 days).

To protect yourselves, you may want to wear disposable gloves during the time you handle the boxes, or wash the outside of the boxes with soapy water or an antiviral. Doing both would be better still, and wearing the gloves while handling the chicks might protect you from a salmonella infection.

It is important to mention that currently there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread to people from the skin or fur of pets, and baby chicks are an unlikely culprit.

Given the serious nature of a COVID-19 infection, taking every precaution possible this spring is not a bad idea.

We wish you the best for a healthy and prosperous 2020!

University of Minnesota Poultry Team
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