Concerned about wild birds


In the Brooder
12 Years
Dec 10, 2007
New Hampshire
I was wondering how bad it is to have chickens eating under wild bird feeders?

My mom feeds the birds all year round, and we have tons of birds and squirrels in our yard. Of course my chickens love to eat the seed that drops on the ground, and I cringe thinking about all things they're being exposed to. Can anyone who has experience with this tell me if they've noticed an increase in diseases and/or parasites when their chickens eat under the feeders?

Two of my original flock had crop infections last summer, and I recently noticed lice on the chickens I adopted this winter, although I suspect they came with them as they haven't really been exposed to the wild birds yet.

I'm fine with her feeding the birds in the winter, that's when they truly need it anyway, but I really wish she would stop when the weather gets nice. My mom says I'm worrying too much, but she's not the one who has to take care of the chickens when they're sick.
We have many feeders and every kind of bird (from wrens to Pileated Woodpeckers). We're in the woods and the only way to be sure of no disease/vermin exposure would be to have completed enclosed coops and runs. We use diatomaceous earth (DE food grade) mixed into the bedding and dustbathing areas and this has been successful so far (mites/lice). I check the chooks and turks with a lighted handheld loupe every few weeks and they've been clean for three years.

The only concern I'd have with feeders would be if the seeds get wet and start to ferment and then get dumped by squirrels or feeding birds, that could result in quick death owing to something like aflatoxin (from molding grain).

It's probably a good idea to dust with Sevin or DE to suppress the inevitable exposures.
What's good about them? lol Anyway, Canker is caused by drinking stagnant water that is infected with Tricholmanos Gallinae, a parasite that is transmitted mostly by pigeons.
We have our bird feeders set up in the front yard away from the chickens. That way we can enjoy the wild birds without worry and they seem to not eat as much chicken feed as they did before we put up the feeders.
My personal experience has been 100% negative with bird feeders. Every fall I've had to deal with both mites and lice that the chickens have got from wild birds.

Then there's the opossoms, raccoons, mice and rats that I see almost daily under and on the bird feeders. Not to mention the foxes hawks and coyotes that are attracted to the increased prey numbers present around the bird feeders.

Personally I don't think it's right to feed wild animals that includes wild birds. As base prey species it throws off the whole ecosystem to artificially increase their numbers beyond what the land can sustain.

That's been my experience in my local area anyway.

Don't get me wrong. I don't doubt it's possible for bird feeders to be used responsibly and to avoid all the problems I've seen, but it would take forethought and planning.

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