combining poultry

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Hillsvale, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. Hillsvale

    Hillsvale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2009
    Hillsvale, Nova Scotia
    So I am in the process of designing my coop... I plan on likely 4 laying hens but want meat chickens and turkeys..

    Can I combine all these different purpose birds or will I have problems? What about their pasture area... will they play nicely? The plan is to give the birds a fenced in area (with electric) approximately 25 by 80 feet or so.

    I assume since the meat chicks will be bought in the spring that they will be ready to be butchered before I need to concern myself with winter room in the coop.

    Thanks all
  2. Ang

    Ang Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2008
    West Central Illinois
    Well, you can tell I grew up farming! I read that as combining as in harvesting with a combine. Sheesh! I think I need a nap!
  3. Dar

    Dar Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 31, 2008
    the hatchery where i got my hens STRONGLY advised against mixing chickens and turkeys, something to do with diseases, also the feed requirements for chickens and turkeys are different (i think)

    meeties stink so I am told... i have never had them so I cant speak from first hand experience, but again i would think you would want your meeties on a feed to promote growth not egg production so the protein levels would be different

    this is just my opinion i am by no means an expert
  4. natalie1136

    natalie1136 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 5, 2009
    Dennison Illinois
    Quote:I did too. I couldn't figure out what she meant combining chicken.LOL
  5. Hillsvale

    Hillsvale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2009
    Hillsvale, Nova Scotia
    sounds messy!
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I read it that way too [​IMG]

    The thing with chickens+turkeys is that chickens can be carriers of blackhead, which is unnoticeable and meaningless to chickens but often deadly to turkeys. If blackhead is common in your area, or you actually have had problems with it on your property, this is a definite concern. OTOH if it is uncommon in your area you might choose to try mixing them together and hope it works ok.

    Turkeys also commonly carry a strain of Marek's that, if chickens catch it, does not adversely affect the chickens and can help them be more immune to the more-serious strains of Mareks floating around out there. Thus there is a small *potential* (not always actual) benefit to chickens.

    Meat chickens, if you mean CornishX, will almost have to be kept separate however. They are a whole 'nother thing. A few people try to free-range CornishX, and if you are going to do that (like in a large yard, not in a run) you could TRY mixing them. However, under most circumstances you would really want them separate. Their requirements (food, sanitation, housing) and behavior are just a lot different.

    Of course if you were going to raise a 'real breed' of chicken for (non supermarket type) meat, THEY could be mixed with your layer flock.

    Good luck, have fun,

  7. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    Quote:I used to live near a chicken processing plant, and we would collect chickens off the side of the road that had fallen off the trucks that were bringing them to the plant. We let them run loose in a big yard full of trees and grass and brush, and we fed them growing crumbles. It was fun to watch them learn to be chickens, as in scratching, dust bathing, and catching bugs (there's NOTHING like watching a big old clumsy CornishX chasing a June bug!).

    Couldn't keep them as pets because they literally ate themselves to death, but when we did butcher them they beat the daylights out of anything from the store.[​IMG]
  8. Hillsvale

    Hillsvale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2009
    Hillsvale, Nova Scotia
    the farm up the road free ranges his poultry: layers, meat, turkeys, geese... these are mostly heritage breeds and they don't seem to fight but I am not aware of their housing situation.. I want to try and be a smarter peep when I go up there to chat him up about what he does and hope to buy my critters from him. I don't want to wear out my information seeking welcome! We are also on dial up at home so its hard to surf from there... lol

    Chickens falling off a truck... seems the makings of a joke somewhere in there!
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
  9. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    As Pat says, meaties need to be separate. I would try for 100 sq ft/bird in pen if yo have the room. It is worth it. If you are starting with only a few, you likely will expand. Could be a tractor would do until you firm up your goals of chicken population?
  10. wyo-helpmeet

    wyo-helpmeet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2009
    West TN
    Quote:OMW, they do! A friend of mine had about 60 layers & roos and they were clean, didn't smell bad, etc. She added our meaties to the mix & the smell is disgusting. The meaties are always dirty & smelly, whereas the layers (including the flock I took to her) are always clean. The meaties refuse to roost, too, dunno why, but the layers cram themselves onto the 2 top roosts & the meaties won't even get on the first one. They'd rather lay under the roosts.

    You also need to be careful with weather change too. We were told that the slightest change in weather and the meaties die. We believe this as the first drop in temps at night and we lost 39 meaties. None of the layers were lost & there was plenty of heat in the coop.

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