NOTE: There have been recent human outbreaks of Salmonella associated with chicks and ducklings associated with an Ohio hatchery.
Avoid contact with the feces of young fowl, and carefully wash your hands with soap and water after handling these animals and anything that has come in contact with them.
CDC article: Multistate outbreak of Human Salmonella infections linked to live poultry (May 30, 2012)
WebMD article: Salmonella outbreak again tied to Ohio hatchery (May 31, 2012)
Safe handling of chicks (University of Kentucky)
Risk of Human Salmonella infections from live baby poultry (Center for Disease Control)
There are many reasons an individual or family may want to raise poultry:
A small poultry flock is relatively inexpensive, requires less space than most animal enterprises and doesn't require much time. In addition, raising a small poultry flock is also a good way to introduce youth to animal agriculture (for food or fiber) and to help build a sense of responsibility (since animals need to be taken care of 365 days a year).
Growing a nation: A history of American agriculture (Ag in the Classroom)
Touching lives in unexpected ways: The benefits animal agriculture offers to our everyday lives go well beyond human nutrition. In this special audio segment, Trent Loos outlines a few of those other uses. Click here to listen.
A History of Agriculture (History of worldwide agriculture by Crest Capital)