Chickens with Goats : Yay or Nayyyyyyyy

Mtnboomer

Songster
Mar 17, 2019
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Southwest Virginia (mountains)
Hey yall,
Been away for awhile, but hope everyone is doing well. I am about to become a goat keeper in a few months and was wondering if anyone here allows their free range flock to mingle with theirs goats? Upsides? Downsides? Concerns?

I intend to fence nearly 1 ac off into 2 separate roughly 1/2 ac paddocks for the goats. The fencing will be robust to deter the host of predators we have and so my current free range gals will be excluded, but I was considering expanding and adding a 2nd flock in with the goats. They would have a coop separate from the goat shed and everyone will be locked inside each night for safety. I was thinking of making the chicken coop like a jungle gym for the goats to play on but wasn't sure if the combination was even a good idea.

We have Brahma chickens and will be starting out with 3-4 TN Fainting goat does that will be bred each season. So a buck will be around for 1-2 mos a year.

Thoughts?
 

alwaystj9

Small goats & big chickens + 1 old horse
Premium Feather Member
Aug 20, 2019
278
590
187
SE Louisiana
I run chickens with goats and have done so for 30 yrs. My chicken coop/chicken feed /water area is fenced with an opening that allows the chickens in & out but goats cannot pass through. Goats are very destructive and will tear up your chicken coop. Even when the kids get in there accidently (when they are little) they tear up nest boxes, knock down roosts and do stupid and dangerous tricks. Both goats and chickens have food-centric thought patterns so you need to figure out a way to feed them separately. I don't leave feed out 24/7, I lock them apart and feed. Once either of these species has found a way to "sneak" the others food, they will spend much effort to get back to it.
Depending what you use to water your goats, you may need to put some kind of cover that limits access as I have fished both chickens and baby goats out of the water tub (an old bathtub used for waterer). I also have stacked bricks that allow safe escape in case one gets in there anyway. Once these two species have tested all your limits and grown your ingenuity, they do quite well together and the chickens greatly reduce insect problems.
In the evenings we take some bread outside and frisbee slices out in the pasture and take bets on who grabs it first...the chickens win more than you expect.
 

cassie

Crowing
11 Years
Mar 19, 2009
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I used to have chickens range in my goat pens. Just make sure that the goats cannot get to the chicken feed. The goats and the chickens got along well. Occasionally a chicken would hitch a ride on a goat's back and occasionally a goat would grab a mouthful of feathers from a passing chicken.
 

Mtnboomer

Songster
Mar 17, 2019
1,012
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Southwest Virginia (mountains)
I run chickens with goats and have done so for 30 yrs. My chicken coop/chicken feed /water area is fenced with an opening that allows the chickens in & out but goats cannot pass through. Goats are very destructive and will tear up your chicken coop. Even when the kids get in there accidently (when they are little) they tear up nest boxes, knock down roosts and do stupid and dangerous tricks. Both goats and chickens have food-centric thought patterns so you need to figure out a way to feed them separately. I don't leave feed out 24/7, I lock them apart and feed. Once either of these species has found a way to "sneak" the others food, they will spend much effort to get back to it.
Depending what you use to water your goats, you may need to put some kind of cover that limits access as I have fished both chickens and baby goats out of the water tub (an old bathtub used for waterer). I also have stacked bricks that allow safe escape in case one gets in there anyway. Once these two species have tested all your limits and grown your ingenuity, they do quite well together and the chickens greatly reduce insect problems.
In the evenings we take some bread outside and frisbee slices out in the pasture and take bets on who grabs it first...the chickens win more than you expect.
I have a 110 gal stock tank already in place above ground with an autofill valve (previous property owners ran cattle) for the goats. I water my chickens now with a rain barrel in warm weather. I was planning on doing the same and in cold weather I'll steal it from the stock tank.

I saw where farmers place a carpet over the top of the stock tank to keep it from freezing and teach their cows to dip their heads under to access it. Would goats do this?
We live in the mtns on VA where the weather is fickle to say the least. We get 70 degree Christmases and over a foot of snow on Easter with everything in between.
The coop would be elevated 32" with an opening only big enough for the birds(10" x 10"...maybe 11"). The does won't fit but would the kids? Probably so thinking of it, but I can provide a 2nd exclusion inside the coop.
I planned to feed the goats the supplemental hay, grains, etc early before chickens are released and then let them pasture feed the rest of the day. Additional feedings may be done in the shed after "lock up" if necessary.

Ive never owned goats so this will all be a learning experience with im sure a steep curve but i love a challenge. Im also a designer and love to design and build solutions to new problems.

Im thinking of building the goats their own "log cabin" from trees on our property.

Pretty excited about whats to come!
 

alwaystj9

Small goats & big chickens + 1 old horse
Premium Feather Member
Aug 20, 2019
278
590
187
SE Louisiana
I have a piece of hog panel that clamps on top, the openings are big enough for horse and goat noses to drink but tries to screen out the rest. It rarely freezes down here and a rubber mallet kept hanging on the fence takes care of any ice. And don't bang the hard plastic buckets when it's cold - they break...No idea about carpetting in troughs. Goats think they'll die if they get wet so I don't think it would work. In Colorado we used stock tank heaters, they worked well.
Some days a chicken will decide to perch on the lip of the trough to get a drink and fall in...Baby goats will be running along and suddenly one will leap and twist to the side and Splash! the rest keep going...
I actually have 3 totally different height water containers in a row. Some days the horse will decide she likes the way the chicken water tastes and sucks all that down. The mid level trough is s'posed to be the goats' but they drink out of all 3. The chickens always have the option to return to their pen where I always have water for them.
 

alwaystj9

Small goats & big chickens + 1 old horse
Premium Feather Member
Aug 20, 2019
278
590
187
SE Louisiana
The coop would be elevated 32" with an opening only big enough for the birds(10" x 10"...maybe 11"). The does won't fit but would the kids? Probably so thinking of it, but I can provide a 2nd exclusion inside the coop.
Do not forget that goats can and will jump and climb onto anything. Many use a doghouse as a springboard for escape. I had a Nubian that dented the heck out of my truck roof. I had a Nigerian dwarf weanling this past year who climbed a 6' chain link fence to "unwean" herself.
The goats will be all on, over and under that coop. They also rub their bodies against things to scratch. They have girdled and killed a few young trees doing this and all my fences have a goat-shaped bow in them. My current buck, Tickfaw, knocked a fence panel down one time two years ago and escaped, ever since he "checks" every panel in the fence on a regular basis. And usually, if not horned, if they can get their head inside or through something, they can get the rest in...then they panic because they can't get out.
Build your place strong and smart and you will do well.
 

Mtnboomer

Songster
Mar 17, 2019
1,012
1,730
222
Southwest Virginia (mountains)
The coop would be elevated 32" with an opening only big enough for the birds(10" x 10"...maybe 11"). The does won't fit but would the kids? Probably so thinking of it, but I can provide a 2nd exclusion inside the coop.
Do not forget that goats can and will jump and climb onto anything. Many use a doghouse as a springboard for escape. I had a Nubian that dented the heck out of my truck roof. I had a Nigerian dwarf weanling this past year who climbed a 6' chain link fence to "unwean" herself.
The goats will be all on, over and under that coop. They also rub their bodies against things to scratch. They have girdled and killed a few young trees doing this and all my fences have a goat-shaped bow in them. My current buck, Tickfaw, knocked a fence panel down one time two years ago and escaped, ever since he "checks" every panel in the fence on a regular basis. And usually, if not horned, if they can get their head inside or through something, they can get the rest in...then they panic because they can't get out.
Build your place strong and smart and you will do well.
Them climbing on it is the idea. It would be entertainment for them. I just don't want them in it. :) my 1st thought is to have 2 offset entry holes for the chickens. Basically they would enter one and turn down a narrow shoot or hall to find the 2nd one into the coop. Thinking mouse in the maze looking for cheese. This should deter the kids from getting in but may result in a stuck goat.
Everything I build is strong. Keeps the bears out and limits me from having to fix or replace things. Time is very limited around here as it is.
Im told that fainting goats are less likely to jump and climb because of their condition. But we may expand in different breeds in the future so I am planning for the worst and hoping for the best.
 

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