Whether you have had chickens for a while and are getting ready to add other livestock to the
farm, are just getting ready to add chickens to your farm, or simply worried about introducing
chickens to your other pets, you be wondering, will other animals get along just fine with my
chickens? Are there any benefits or draw back to raising other animals along with my chickens?
Chickens are amazing versatile, and generally get along just fine with other live stock, but it is
not always that simple.
Ducks and Geese
Ducks can eat the same feed as chickens, and generally get along with them just fine, and will
eat snails, slugs, and other pests chickens may not be as interested in. Ducks tend to be on the
flighty side, but keeping them in with a flock of friendly chickens, will help to tame them. Ducks
that have never been around chickens may be a little timid at first, so they should be introduced
carefully, and observed to make sure they are all getting along just fine. Both ducks are geese
can be extremely messy, so it's best not to confine them in a small area, since they will make
the coop conditions unsanitary for your flock. Geese can be a bit territorial, and may pick on your
chickens if they are kept too small of a space. Ducks, and especially geese do not scratch
unlike chickens, and tend to compact the soil, so don't leave them in one space for too long.
Both need water to bathe and breed, but don't worry, you don't have to have a pond, just a big
enough container for them to submerge their entire body. Make sure you have some sort of ramp
as chickens, ducklings and goslings can fall into the water and drawn if they don't have a way out.
Because baby water fowl are so messy, they shouldn't be brooded with chicks, turkey poults,
and other non water birds.
Another tip: Water fowl have a way of fouling up their water, making it very unpleasant for your
chickens. You can avoid this by putting out a nipple water bucket. Both your chickens and water
fowl can drink from it, but the water will stay clean.
More: Nipple Watering
Summer winter chicken nipple waterer
Nipple watering system made easy
Ducks and chickens commingling
Sheep and Goats
Chickens and other poultry get along great with sheep and goats, and help to keep parasites down
by consuming them out of their manure. Since most parasites are species specific, your flock is not
at risk of getting these parasites them selves. Poultry can graze right along with them, and are not
in as much danger of being trampled as they are with larger animals such as horses and cows.
Note: Make sure to keep your flocks feed away from other livestock, since almost everything
loves chicken feed, especially cattle, horses, sheep and goats, who can, and will tear though
chicken wire and hardware cloth to get to it, and may over eat and make themselves sick.
Goats especially are very sly at getting to feed, so make sure it is secured where they cannot
get to it.
Goats and sheep commingle well with poultry.
Letting chickens graze with cattle can be very beneficial for both the chickens and the cows.
The former enjoy scratching through the cows manure, spreading it out, helping it break down,
and eating any undigested grain. Your chickens will also help keep the fly population down by
eating larvae and other unwanted pests. Some cows will even learn to let chickens and ducks
eat fly's and other insects right off of them. Cows will chase off dogs, foxes, and other unwanted
predators helping to keep your flock safe. It is best to keep small chicks away from cattle, who
may accidentally crush them.
Chickens commingling with a milk cow.
Having chickens and horses together has many of the same benefits as keeping them with
cattle. Chickens will help break down the horses manure, turning it into nice, fluffy, rich compost.
They will also eat any feed that is spilled, which limits waste and helps to keep your horse from
eating dirty feed off the ground. Having noisy chickens flying around them on a regular basis can
help tame flighty horses. Make sure though that your flock is not pooping on your horses hay and
feed, as it can make them ill.
Note: If you give your livestock any kind of antibiotics, medications, pain killers, or chemical
wormers, check and make sure they are safe for poultry.
Chickens generally get along well with pigs, and enjoy scratching through their manure, but some
pigs may see chickens as a tasty snack, though chickens are usually fast enough to get away from
them. Smaller, breeds such as American guinea hogs, kune kune's, and pot bellies will do fine
with poultry, and chickens will probably fine with other breeds as long as they are docile. Make
sure that your pigs do not have anywhere where they can corner your birds.
While some dogs will get along with chickens just fine, providing protection for your flock, others
may see them as a tasty meal. Be very careful when you introduce your dogs to your flock, and
watch their behavior carefully. If possible check with your dogs former owners, and see if they
have had any kind of run ins with poultry in the past. Are your dogs known to go after small animals
and birds? Some breeds are more likely to go after poultry than others, for example, most guardian
dog breeds are good with poultry, but you should be extra cautious with hunting breeds especially.
Even dogs who have never shown any aggression may decide to ''sample'' your flock, or kill for fun.
Once a dog has developed a taste for chicken it is very difficult to break them of the habit. With
some dogs, there is not much you can do but dispose of them, or keep them separate from your
flock, but usually you can train them out of this nasty habit.
More: How to train your dog not to kill chickens
Introducing your dog to chickens tips and tricks
Dog chicken predators: How to protect your chickens from dogs
Most cats will not go after adult poultry as long as they are getting enough to eat else where.
They may go after chicks though, so don't leave them unsupervised around the brooder. Just
like dogs, cats should be introduced to your flock carefully. Observe their behavior toward your
flock. Having cats around can be very beneficial though, as they eat rats, mice and other rodents
that may be attracted by your poultry. Cats and dogs that have been around poultry their whole
lives will be much less likely try to attack your flock, so make sure you introduce your new kittens
and puppy's to your birds right away.
Turkeys can be brooded and raised along with your flock, but you may want separate them
during breeding season (usually March though May, but will depend on the bird) as they may
become aggressive toward you flock. However, this problem usually goes away if they have
enough space. Turkeys are range birds, and should never be confined in a small space,
which may cause more aggression. It can be very beneficial to brood turkeys with chickens
together (they are very susceptible to moisture, so it is not a good idea to brood them with
water fowl) because the young poults will imitate the chicks and learn to eat and drink faster.
The biggest draw back to raising chickens and turkeys together is risk of Blackhead Disease.
If you keep your coop sanitary, and provide clean, fresh water for your flock, than your chances
of black head will be greatly reduced.
With plenty of space, turkeys and chickens commingle well.
Guineas get along great with chickens, and can even, though it is rare, interbreed with them
producing sterile off spring. They are great watch dogs, sounding the alarm when something
is wrong. Guineas can be a bit wild and prefer to sleep in trees than in the coop. If you raise
guineas with chickens, they usually learn to go into the coop at nigh along with your flock. They
enjoy insects of all kinds and do not scratch as much as chickens and turkeys.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to post below, or PM me. Thanks for reading.
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