In the 1970s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) decided to do something about the birds.
A “Peeing Problem” program was born, where researchers would gather urine samples from chickens and examine them for signs of fecal contamination.
In addition to looking for bacteria, they would also look for the smell of feces.
The result: chickens became a lot less likely to pee on their faces and hands.
And for a time, it worked.
The program was expanded in the 1990s to include ducks, geese, guinea pigs and turkeys.
But now that the government is stepping back from the eradication of the species, what is it doing to keep them out of our kitchens?
“Pee-less chickens are not a major problem anymore,” said Dr. Mark F. Tarnopolsky, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Missouri.
“In fact, they are in decline.”
He told Business Insider that the USDA has been experimenting with different methods of “pooing control” and that they’re currently testing different methods on birds, including a method of “sucking” urine from them and using a “pressure-washed” spray.
“There’s a lot of work that has gone into the technology that we’re able to use on chickens,” he said.
“But the fact that we don’t have a solution for them yet is a huge problem.”
“Pooing controls are very effective and they’re cheap,” said Tom Vavras, director for sustainable agriculture at the USDA.
“Poo-free is not a solution.”
He explained that the process involves washing the bird’s face, neck and throat with a solution of vinegar or a detergent and then spraying it on the bird to “suck” it up.
The bird will then return to its cage, and the vinegar will wash off the bacteria.
The process also helps reduce the risk of the birds getting sick.
“The biggest thing for us is, is that it’s a matter of hygiene,” said Tarnow, of the U-M study.
“The cleaner the bird is, the less likely it is to get a cold.”
And the UMSF study shows that even birds that are perfectly healthy like chickens, ducks and geese are at a higher risk of contracting respiratory illnesses if they’re allowed to urinate on themselves.
“We have a very, very low incidence of disease among chickens and ducks, but they’re not a healthy population, and that’s why we have to take action,” said Vavra.
“If you look at our bird population, that’s about 10 times lower than what it would be if we just went and eliminated all birds.”
He said that as a matter, the USDA is currently looking into ways to eliminate pee-free chickens from the U;s diet.
“They’re doing all kinds of different things to try to try and address the issue,” he explained.
“One thing is, if you’re trying to get rid of them, we’re working with the industry to figure out how to get the best products.”
If you’re worried about peeing on your chicken, it’s worth looking at the pros and cons of peeing and then deciding for yourself whether it’s something you’d want to do with your chickens.
Pee-free chicken is a great way to avoid the most common health problems that chickens face and the added benefits of a clean environment.
You’ll find some other ways to avoid peeing that will be even more beneficial.