Help With Neighbors - We both have birds

Discussion in 'Guinea Fowl' started by mommabirdof4, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. mommabirdof4

    mommabirdof4 Just Hatched

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    Hi All!

    I am a new member and poster to BYC, but I have been using this website now for over a year to learn about raising chickens, and it's a great help!

    My situation is that I live in the country with neighbors whose house is approximately 60-80 feet away from my house. We both have flocks of free range chickens and guineas, but both of us use different husbandry practices.

    Since my husband and I bought our property in order to grow our own food, and we focus largely on natural husbandry practices, we are very careful about what we feed our birds - we allow them to free range the whole day and feed them two big bowls of compost. We only supplement them with feed when necessary.

    Our neighbors, though, seem to want to keep feed available to their birds at all times AND allow them to free range.

    So, naturally, our birds (especially the guineas) have learned to go over to the neighbor's property looking for feed. (Both flocks go to the other side of the property - the neighbor's chickens were at one point laying eggs in our coop!) But recently, our guineas have been attacking our neighbors while the neighbors are letting their chickens in and out of the coop. This is because the guineas know that there is food inside the coop from the past when the neighbors were leaving their coop open with food in it.

    The neighbors don't have this problem with their guineas because they don't let their guineas out until after they let their chickens out, which is at 12:00 pm.

    So, our neighbors have basically "accused" us of not feeding our birds, which is both accurate and inaccurate. Our birds feed themselves for the most part and are happy and healthy, but they DO want to eat store bought feed, which I think is normal behavior and not because they are starving. The "attacking" just seems like attacking because our neighbor's coop is only 2 feet off the ground, and so our neighbors have to bend down to open the door and put food in, etc. and our guineas are trying to get inside the coop (not trying to attack the neighbors out of aggression because they are starving).

    Basically, what do you think?

    Do you have strategies or ideas that would teach our guineas not to do this?

    Or do you have any experience with neighbors who use different husbandry and feeding practices when it comes to free-range birds that creates a problem for one or both parties? How would you talk to a neighbor to explain that just because your way of managing your flock is different than yours doesn't mean that you are being neglectful?

    Thanks!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote: If you are raising jungle fowl or Aseels, Malays, Cornish, Phoenix, Sebrights, Yokohamas or other poor productive breeds, your management technique may work. But for most modern breeds developed in the last couple centuries that you expect eggs from, what you are doing isn't good husbandry.

    If I'm being honest, I think your neighbors are correct. Your birds are starving.
    What substantial nutrition is there in bowls of compost that can provide sufficient energy, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals to sustain your chickens?
    Chickens are voracious eaters that will fill their crop with whatever is at hand to satisfy their hunger. If whatever is at hand doesn't fulfill needs for a level of energy, essential amino acids, fats, vitamins and minerals their bodies need - they will suffer. You don't want them eating compost. It contains the occasional bug but little else.

    The compost pile is a favorite hangout for my birds but I don't expect them to sustain their bodies on that, much less be productive.

    They want to eat store bought food because it is formulated to provide all the nutrients chickens are known to need based on well over 100 years of research.
    If you don't agree, I suggest building a fence between the properties that will keep the two flocks apart. Then, with two flocks with 2 different management techniques, see which one is more productive and healthy.

    To be honest, if I was your neighbor, knowing you feed them compost, I would be more upset than they are with your hungry birds coming over and eating my feed.

    The strategy to keep your birds home is to feed them appropriate food that meets the needs of poultry.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
    2 people like this.
  3. jas humbert

    jas humbert Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can't help but agree with ChickenCanoe. Good fences make good neighbors. I don't allow my chickens in the neighbor's yards and I would not be happy if the neighbor's chickens were coming over and eating my feed regardless of what they were or were not fed at home. Do whatever you like in feeding your own birds Personally, I agree that generally chickens need supplemental feed. But that is not the point. They are your birds to feed as you choose. But for the sake of good neighbors though, find a way to keep them out of neighbor's yard and from bothering neighbors and eating their feed regardless of the reason they are doing so. Its only common courtesy.
     
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  4. mommabirdof4

    mommabirdof4 Just Hatched

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    Hi, thank you for your replies. We have done a lot of research about how much chickens and guineas can forage off of using some of the leading experys in this area. Our chickens are just as productive as another nearby chicken keeper who uses more conventional methods.

    But the issue is NOT our flock of chickens, it is our guineas.

    Fences will not keep either of our flocks of chickens off of either person's properties. We live on long, narrow properties and our homes are very close (not as close as some houses in cities), but as I mentioned 60-80 feet apart. Our guineas and our neighbor's guineas are the ones that do more long didtance foraging.

    Any adive from people who raise guineas?
     
  5. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have no guineas now but have had in the past. If you had a well stocked feeding station they would still forage, (Don't know where you live but with winter coming on the foraging might dry up a bit.) but probably stay closer to home. Guineas are decent fliers and ours would go high in trees and on the roof of the house so the only way you can keep them home is to have covered runs or a fenced in area and keep their wings clipped.
     
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  6. mommabirdof4

    mommabirdof4 Just Hatched

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    Oh, also, even though this post was about guineas and intended to be addressed by people with guineas, for those who have chickens - Google Karl Hammer from Vermont Compost who has been using the method of husbandry I described successfully since the late 90s. He was featured on BYC at some point in time. But his work isn't what we used to formulate our model of husbandry, and we do use some feed when necessary. I will try to get more info about this kind of handling posted here.
     
  7. mommabirdof4

    mommabirdof4 Just Hatched

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    Oh, also, our guineas eat more grain than we would like because they are in their coop every other day. Now that I think about it, this may be why they are so fanatic about getting grain. My husband and neighbor's husband decided to alternate days that each of our guineas are out so that they won't flock together. The neighbors and we both wanted guineas to get pests out of our yards - so the neighbors got 30 and gave us 10 in trade for some work.

    So I think what I am going to suggest to my husband is no more keeping them in the coop every other day. Maybe we can try being home at 12:00 when the neigjbors are letting their birds out and us getting our flock steered away and giving them feed at a different location at that time and see if they will forget about the neighbor's chicken coop.

    And if that doesn't work, we will just get rid of the guineas. Though, we did think about raising them for meat as well as pest control - but if our neighbors are keeping their own flock that comes in our yard, we may still get the benefit of pest control.
     
  8. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What chicken canoe said applies to guineas as well. I free range my guineas but always have feed available, they seem to prefer bugs when they can find them but need the nutrients in grains for health.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  9. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens free range and so did my guineas when I had them. I have four feeders set up and on some days I barely have to top them off. On rainy or stormy or snowy days they go through much more food when what they are foraging for is not available. I would assume if your chickens and guineas are frantic for grain they are hungry and not getting enough to eat.
    When my chickens scratch in the compost and yard and bugs are available along with plants, they eat very little of what I give them. But it is always available.
     
  10. BCL1766

    BCL1766 New Egg

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    We have only guineas now but plan to get chickens this spring. I leave water and a self feeder in there coop at all times, 24 hours a day. My guineas free range for most if not all day, every day. Even with having feed available "24" and treats given to them they would still visit the surrounding neighbors looking for food and doing what they do walk around. I am on three acres and decided to get more birds, guineas and chickens in spring so installed 800 feet of aluminum powder coated pool fence that is 54 inches high and the vertical balusters are spaced 3 1/2 inches apart. They are capable of flying over the fence BUT not one of them has done it and we've have had it up for over 6 months now. Do you self the favor and just fence in you area where you want to keep them. You can let them free range all day, every day and you will not have the worry where your knuckle heads are causing trouble. Now we are thinking of getting some Nigerian Dwarf Goats now that we have the fence up.

    Brett
     

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