BE CLEAN Concerned about germs? We are too! Bonding with the animals is probably the whole reason behind your visit. But whether you’re petting your family dog or a goat at the farm, practicing good hygiene is important.
We take every precaution possible to make your visit fun and safe, but we need your help too. Remember, even healthy animals and people can carry germs.
- Clean your hands!!
Use soap and water at the hand washing station before entering and after leaving the animal exhibit areas. (Germs go both ways….we want you to be healthy and we want our animals to be healthy too!)
There is also hand sanitizer available near the exhibit pens to use after touching the animals, fences, food or bedding.
- Avoid hand-to-mouth activities
Never eat or drink while interacting with the animals. Do not put your fingers near your eyes, mouth or nose until after you have washed up. Pacifiers and toys should be tucked away while near the animal exhibits.
- Don’t touch the poo!!
Really? Yes, really….poo can look incredibly interesting to little ones.
- Animals respond best to a quiet calm approach. Don’t run, jump, yell or chase the animals. Our animals are our family and are VERY important to us. It is imperative that they be treated with respect, care and kindness.
- Remember animals are not toys. Animals may bite, kick, scratch or spit if they feel threatened or uncomfortable.
- Children must be supervised by parents at all times – we gave up babysitting for poop scooping.
- Please remain in the public area only – remember, I live here!
- No climbing on fences or gates – monkeys to the playground!
- Please do not throw stuff into the pens – animals assume everything is edible, a lot like toddlers (see “don’t touch the poo” above).
- Shirts and shoes are required – ewwww (nobody wants to see that!).
- No smoking – fire scares us (for obvious reasons).
- No Pets – service animals specifically trained to assist persons with disabilities are welcome.
- Due to state requirements, nutritional balance and animal safety only food provided by Cooks Country Connection may be fed to our animals friends.
We care about doing things right. We are a USDA licensed petting farm. This means we have met the government standards for cleanliness and animal care.
USDA License number 41-C-0287
So what is E. coli?
Here some info from the Mayo Clinic website: “Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals. Most varieties of E. coli are harmless or cause relatively brief diarrhea. But a few particularly nasty strains, such as E. coli O157:H7, can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.” Click on the link to get to their site and get more info.
How do you catch E. coli?
As the article above said, you can’t really “catch” E.coli. It lives naturally in the intestines of healthy people and animals. The goal is to avoid transmission!!
The article goes on to say: “You may be exposed to E. coli from contaminated water or food — especially raw vegetables and undercooked ground beef. Healthy adults usually recover from infection with E. coli O157:H7 within a week, but young children and older adults have a greater risk of developing a life-threatening form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.”
So if it is naturally occurring, how can a person avoid it?
It’s all about the transmission of the bacteria. Soooo….follow me here…..this is the easy part….WASH YOUR HANDS!!!
DON’T EAT OR DRINK in the animal areas!
And DON’T TOUCH THE POO!
How come people who live on farms don’t get sick?
I asked the State Public Health Veterinarian that very question. Her answer was pretty simple… because of their exposure, most farm kids are immune to bugs found on farms by age 5. So, the answer is, we farm kids have gotten sick!
Human immune systems (if they are doing their job) only let us get sick from something once. Exposure results in immunity. Awesome hey?
Our part… here’s what we are doing:
1) There is a hand wash station with soap, water and disposable towels located between the “animal area” and the “human area”.
2) There is hand sanitizer on every row of animal pens, on the fence by the playground, in the big red barn (and of course the outhouse!).
3) We keep up with the poop scooping and we don’t keep our animals in the exhibit pens full time. This helps keep EVERYTHING cleaner!
5) Our animals have had a vaccine that helps prevent them from shedding E.coli 0157. It is not a guarantee, but it is that “one more thing” to help keep our visitors healthy.
Your part…here’s what you need to do:
1) USE THE HAND WASH STATION!!
2) USE THE HAND SANITIZER!!
3) NO FOOD, DRINK, BOTTLES, PACIFIERS OR TOYS IN THE ANIMAL AREA!!
4) DON’T TOUCH THE POO AND DON’T KISS THE COWS!! ((even though they are so darn kissable!!))