birds...in your yard around chickens

slbenter

Songster
7 Years
Mar 24, 2013
138
392
206
Dover Tennessee
Our new coop is finally near being completed. It will be an 8 X 10 coop ( Chateau coop from Cutest Coops ) and it will have an 8 X 12 covered run.
Our home is built on a clearing of land within an old Oak forest, so the surrounding area is pretty much forest. While waiting for the rains to subside, we have been blessed to notice the wonderful diverse species of birds that live here.
However, after reading this website for many years, I am left wondering just how problematic these birds really are to my future flock of chickens.
We have observed Humming birds, Orioles, both yellow and red, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Forest Phoebes, Cardinals, Swallows, woodpeckers, and various nuthatches so far.
Of course, we see hawks flying over the canopy...don't know what kind yet. I know they are a danger, but the question I'd like to discuss is just the regular birds that are plentiful here. Specifically, what kind of threat do they actually pose, and what steps can I take to protect my future flock of roughly 15-20 chickens?
I maintain a few Humming bird feeders, but my husband would like to make some other, different types of feeders for the orioles and some seed/suet feeders for the other types of birds. This makes me a little nervous, but I can hardly blame him...it's a paradise here compared to the California coastal city we lived in previously for 30 years. I'm talking about the diseases and parasites they may transmit.
The coop will be located on the side of our home, and the feeders he's planning on putting up will be directly in the back of the yard, a few hundred feet back. Probably 2 or 3 hundred feet away from the coop. Will we be sorry for doing this?
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
13 Years
Nov 18, 2007
26,442
18,919
781
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
Don't worry. Wild birds if they get into your coop can introduce things like mites and lice. I have had birds for many years and only within the last couple of years have my birds had mites. I treated the birds and coops with permethrin poultry dust and spray and it took care of the mites. I only treat if there is a need. I went for years and never had any problems so I was surprised when mites showed up on the birds. If the birds are excessively preening or loosing feathers then check them. Some mites only come out at night and feed on the birds when they are roosting so I use a headlamp and after they roost I have both hands free to check the birds. Good luck and have fun with your future flock...
 

GC-Raptor

Free Ranging
Jul 26, 2016
5,028
9,229
621
Connecticut, USA
I used to feed the songbirds seeds year-round and suet during the winter.
But I stopped the year-round feeding when I got chickens.
I only fed them November through April.
Two years ago I stopped the seeds and only feed them suet Nov through April.
I have two suet feeders, each holds two cakes. I have them in the front of my house, the coops are out back.

I also keep the chicken feed inside the coops. The chicken pens are not songbird proof. GC
 

neo71665

Crowing
Mar 22, 2020
1,748
3,643
266
Arkansas
Never had any issues with wild birds. I do feed the wilds birds in the front yard and even have bird houses for the blue birds. My chickens are out back behind the shop.
 

Onyxflock

Songster
Jan 25, 2020
213
366
143
Onyx, Ca ... Kern River Valley
Our new coop is finally near being completed. It will be an 8 X 10 coop ( Chateau coop from Cutest Coops ) and it will have an 8 X 12 covered run.
Our home is built on a clearing of land within an old Oak forest, so the surrounding area is pretty much forest. While waiting for the rains to subside, we have been blessed to notice the wonderful diverse species of birds that live here.
However, after reading this website for many years, I am left wondering just how problematic these birds really are to my future flock of chickens.
We have observed Humming birds, Orioles, both yellow and red, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Forest Phoebes, Cardinals, Swallows, woodpeckers, and various nuthatches so far.
Of course, we see hawks flying over the canopy...don't know what kind yet. I know they are a danger, but the question I'd like to discuss is just the regular birds that are plentiful here. Specifically, what kind of threat do they actually pose, and what steps can I take to protect my future flock of roughly 15-20 chickens?
I maintain a few Humming bird feeders, but my husband would like to make some other, different types of feeders for the orioles and some seed/suet feeders for the other types of birds. This makes me a little nervous, but I can hardly blame him...it's a paradise here compared to the California coastal city we lived in previously for 30 years. I'm talking about the diseases and parasites they may transmit.
The coop will be located on the side of our home, and the feeders he's planning on putting up will be directly in the back of the yard, a few hundred feet back. Probably 2 or 3 hundred feet away from the coop. Will we be sorry for doing this?
Our hens free range in the yard alongside the wild birds. My husband keeps 2 feeders for the wild birds and they scratch a lot on the ground that the chickens get. Mostly the hens are interested in scratching for bugs along the fence and they don't seem too obsessed with the birdseed. I was worried about mites, etc. - but have found great info. on this site to control those pests and it doesn't seem to be an issue.
Our run is chain link and the little birds fly in and help themselves in the feeders. We leave the gate open and the doves fly in as well.
Hawks are the big "bird" issue so me and my dog keep a watchful eye. We have Cooper's hawks that get to be about 2 feet tall. They will try to catch a hen, even the larger ones. The value of the wild birds is they're a good early warning system when the hawks are around, and they distract the hawk that flies after them instead of going to ground where the hens are.
 

pozees2

Crowing
Feb 12, 2020
846
3,204
466
Pueblo, CO
We have coops and runs out back, and most of the feeders out front, although we do have Hummingbird feeders out back and on one side of the house as well. I worried about it some the year H1N1 made the rounds, but because we aren't really in a direct migration route, I didn't worry that much. Our runs are chain link as well, with chain link across the tops, which keep out birds of prey but definitely not the smaller birds. I thought about it a long time and decided the cost and effort of adding 1/2" hardware cloth all the way around and atop all the runs still wouldn't be a perfect solution because each flock gets free range time every day, so they are exposed plus the gates are open, and not letting them free range would have made us all sad. I have had to treat for mites almost every year at least once, but I don't know if it's due to wild birds, mice, little striped ground squirrels, tree squirrels we had show up several years in a row, or something else. I put out electronic traps for mice, and most years kill 50-100, but it's not all of them. I get way too much delight from watching wild birds at the feeders out front to stop using them. I guess if it became a life or death decision I'd rethink it, but I can't name a single bird I've lost that I felt attributable to the presence of wild birds.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
22,982
37,574
1,096
southern Michigan
As mentioned, mites and lice are the main problem with wild songbird interactions. It's best to have wild bird feeders away from areas that your flock frequents if possible, because the feeders also attract night visitors like raccoons and opossums, both bad to have hanging around.
I feed wild songbirds too, and remove feeders if raccoons or whatever show up, for several weeks, to discourage them.
One very important thing to look out for; wild wrens, at least, can contract Mycoplasma gallisepticum, a respiratory disease that will kill them, and if it infects your chickens, is there for their lifetime, until you kill your birds and repopulate later.
Twice in over thirty+ years I've seen a snotty nosed wren here, and I took immediate action both times! The wild bird feeders came down and were bleached, and not put back for a couple of months. My flock was locked in for several weeks, and I asked the neighbors to stop feeding the wild birds and clean out their feeders too.
We were lucky, and had no problems with our flock, thankfully, but we also acted as fast as possible to manage a possible disaster.
Otherwise, watching the songbirds and hummers is so worth it!
Mary
 
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slbenter

Songster
7 Years
Mar 24, 2013
138
392
206
Dover Tennessee
Twice in over thirty+ years I've seen a snotty nosed wren here, and I took immediate action both times! The wild bird feeders came down and were bleached, and not put back for a couple of months. My flock was locked in for several weeks, and I asked the neighbors to stop feeding the wild birds and clean out their feeders too.
We were lucky, and had no problems with our flock, thankfully, but we also acted as fast as possible to manage a possible disaster.

Wow. You have a keen eye! I can barely keep my binoculars steady enough to identify the bird I'm looking at, much less see that it has a snotty nose. :bow:D
 

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