Some children may be looking forward to a feathery surprise in their Easter baskets this year, but health officials say that could be a dangerous idea.
Right now, it's easy to find baby chickens and ducks chirping throughout stores across the state.
"It's just that time of year, we get them in every spring, it goes for about three weeks to five weeks," Tractor Supply Company manager Nate Luhn says.
Luhn says they're a popular item.
"People just like to buy them," he says.
But the little babies can carry a big risk.
"Chickens and ducks are just prone to salmonella," Luhn says.
It's an infection most often transmitted when people eat meat that hasn't been cooked properly. But Central District Health Department officials warn that touching chicks and ducks can also lead to an outbreak.
"It affects everybody differently, and if you have underlying health conditions, then it can make it worse," Registered Nurse Katie Wichman says.
A salmonella outbreak could have a much bigger impact on kids and the elderly.
Wichman says that's because the immune systems in those age groups aren't as strong, so for the young and old, symptoms could be much more severe.
Wichman says those symptoms include nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
Some cases can even lead to hospitalization. But, with the proper precautions, it is preventable.
Central District Health Department officials say the best way to avoid infection is by washing your hands immediately after touching a chick or duckling.
Most places chicks and ducks are sold offer hand sanitizer, but Wichman says that's not always the best option.
"It does kill the bacteria, but if you do have visible dirt or grime on your hands, it's not going to kill it 100 percent," Wichman says.
She suggests washing with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
Central District Health Department officials say for most people infected with salmonella, symptoms should go away within a week without any treatment or antibiotics, as long as you're drinking plenty of water.