Commingling Chicken & Horses

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Michael&Anna, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. Michael&Anna

    Michael&Anna Hatching

    Dec 21, 2007

    Is it a bad idea to have chickens around horse stalls & manure? A friend of ours told us that allowing chickens to be around and potentially eating horse manure is bad idea. This may be a dumb question, but we're new to small family farming and want to avoid problems. Thanks for your time and advise...
  2. Standard Hen

    Standard Hen Songster

    May 17, 2007
    Hello & welcome.

    I have horses & chickens. Of course the chickens are in and out of the paddocks when I let them free range with never any problems or health issues at all. I have no idea why your friends would have told you that as chickens have been on farms with other livestock for absolute years. Go for it, they will love each other!
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Welcome! Most days when I open the coop door to let my girls free range they head straight to the barn and absolutely love scratching around the horse and llama stalls. All that wonderful poo with insect eggs and worms ... what a find!!

    Chickens are great at helping keep bugs in check because they go through the manure. Let em at it.

    By the way, there's never a dumb question ... always ask.
  4. Michael&Anna

    Michael&Anna Hatching

    Dec 21, 2007
    Thank you for your quick reply. That's exactly what we thought but we just wanted to be sure. My friend believes there could be problems with disease affecting egg or meat consumption. All the talk about diseases related to livestock made us wonder. Thanks again...
  5. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    From what Ive been told by my vets, its not good for the horses to let chickens roam where they will graze, due to salmonella concerns. I have horses, and when my chickens arrive, they won't be allowed where the horses go. But then again, theres been chickens roaming horse barns for eons, so what do I know?
  6. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    I've had one person tell me she heard of diseases being passed from chicken poo (deposited on/in horse feed) to the horses, but never anything going the other direction. I've never heard of anyone who has actually had any problems.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I know someone who lost his horse to salmonella presumed to be from freerange chickens in the hayloft. But as long as they can't get into the hay and the horses aren't allowed to graze on significantly 'chickened' areas of grass, I can't see the problem.

    I suppose your friend is probably thinking of the chickens acquiring some sort of systemic bacterial disease from the manure which could get into their eggs and cause food poisoning. But honestly it seems to me that as long as the chickens are well-kept and healthy that is exceedingly unlikely, and it's not like the non horse poo parts of their environment are exactly uh sterile and sanitary either [​IMG]

    But I would suggest you keep the chickens out of any horse poo that you plan on picking up yourself, e.g. in stalls or if you do 'poo patrol' around sheds or in corrals. I spent a lot of time for a few yrs cleaning stalls with freerange ducks around, and man oh man, if the ducks got to the horse droppings before you did it was a giant nuisance because they took those nice chunky easy to pick up balls of manure and sort of seived and stomped 'em into an area of homogenous loose poo fibers that even a shavings fork is almost powerless against! Chickens, with their scratching around, ought to be even worse.

    Good luck,

  8. rdranch

    rdranch Songster

    Apr 13, 2007
    The girls come in very handy when its time to turn the manure pile. They will flatten a 500# pile in no time and when they are done it only takes a few minutes to pile it up again. Mine generally stay away from the horse as he likes to give them a little chase now and then. It's funny watching them run the gauntlet from the run to the compost area straight through the corral. [​IMG]
  9. Picco

    Picco Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    I haven't heard of any problems that affect the chickens negatively, but know a few that can affect horses. There are a few pros and cons to keeping the species together. Chickens can help mellow out a spooky horse. With all of their sudden movements, squabbling and flying around, they make the horse less jumpy when it experiences certain things, like wild turkeys on the trail (which make some horses freak out).

    There really isn't too much of an issue with parasites since they have completely different digestive systems. As someone already mentioned, its best to keep the birds out of feed/hay storage areas. Recurrent Uveitis (an eye disease) is thought to be caused from a bacteria found in other livestock's manure, but the condition isn't all that common .

    One thing I've heard that can be a problem is the dust that chickens create (can cause respiratory problems) but if their living space is kept clean and well ventilated it shouldn't be a problem.

    I know people who keep chickens and horses together without any problems. They keep litter drier by scratching and keep rodents away by eating spilled grain.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2007
  10. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    Thank God we just got rid of our horses, but we have had horses and chickens intermingling here for 7 years. Someone told me that letting the chickens scratch in the horse poo would make the eggs taste funny but DH never complained. I do not eat eggs but he LOVES them and he has eaten fresh eggs since we got married and got our first hens. The chickens do make quick work of ANY pile of ANYTHING. After a while they learned that the oats and stuff passed through undigested and followed the horses all day long waiting for a TREAT!!! LOL. I know that's gross but it's funny.

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