1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

I've Heard About Guard Llamas and Geese, but What About Horses?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kittykitty30, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. kittykitty30

    kittykitty30 Chillin' With My Peeps

    125
    6
    63
    Apr 1, 2014
    Spring Creek, Nevada
    We have been thinking about horses for a long time. We have enough space if we put a horse in with the chickens. Of course we would replace the fencing. Thoughts? We also have been considering allowing the chickens to free-range as long as they have access to the coop at any time. We have an acre and a half with neighbors- they are not too close but they are close enough for the chickens to reach if they were curious enough. Thoughts? :/
     
  2. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    What type of animal are you expecting the horse to protect your chickens ftom?
     
  3. kittykitty30

    kittykitty30 Chillin' With My Peeps

    125
    6
    63
    Apr 1, 2014
    Spring Creek, Nevada
    Honestly, I'm more scared of human predators than animals. The roosters take care of the small predators but I don't think they would be much help against a human attack.
     
  4. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    IMO you would be better served with a llama, a lot less overhead and feed cost... And they are born guardians, I'm always quite impressed at how mine react to any strangers or even me if I'm out after dark and they are not sure it's me... They always rise to the occasion and position themselves between the perceived threat and their 'flock' and even go on the offensive sometimes to deter the threat... And you can't slip anything by them, between their hearing and eyes they seem to always have great situational awareness...

    I just don't see a horse running out and positioning itself between the threat and the other animals, in fact I suspect it's far more likely the horse will flee vs taking any defensive stance...

    The previous tenants at our house had multiple horses, but still had a guard donkey to watch over their goats as the horses were useless in doing so...
     
  5. kittykitty30

    kittykitty30 Chillin' With My Peeps

    125
    6
    63
    Apr 1, 2014
    Spring Creek, Nevada
    Alright, I'll talk it up tonight with the family. Thank you for your help!
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

    7,249
    1,545
    356
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I have had horses and chickens for a long time. In general they get along fine, but DO NOT protect each other from predators. The chickens do good work on the horse manure, and stray grains that are left behind, and the horses get more tolerant of flapping noisy birds, but protection/ NO! You do have to protect your coop from the horses, or they might demolish it. Mine is fenced away from their field. Get horses because you can't live without them; no other good reason. Mary
     
  7. kittykitty30

    kittykitty30 Chillin' With My Peeps

    125
    6
    63
    Apr 1, 2014
    Spring Creek, Nevada
    Okay. I still plan on getting one; I've been drooling ever since I met the horse the lady I house sit for owns. :drool.
    I will definitely be considering a llama!
    Thank you all for the replies. You may have just prevented a disaster!
     
  8. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    My public service announcement... Beware horses are not cheap nor carefree...

    I have known WAY too many people that brag about the great deal they got on a horse (usually free) only to find out a few months later that they can't afford to feed the horse, can't afford the vet bills and/or don't have the time/facilities to sufficiently care for them...

    On the other hand i have found llamas are surprisingly easy to take care of, they poop in the same place by nature so clean up is easy, they really don't eat that much overall and besides a spring wellness overhaul (sheering/nails clipped/booster shots/worming) they are pretty much carefree the rest of the year...
     
  9. kittykitty30

    kittykitty30 Chillin' With My Peeps

    125
    6
    63
    Apr 1, 2014
    Spring Creek, Nevada
    I have had horses successfully before, they are possibly the most expensive animals you can own. :p We had to sell ours before because the economy where we are was unstable but we could easily afford them now.

    Llamas are awesome, my friend used to have one. Except for the spit. That isn't fun. But they make awesome pack animals!

    Would the two do well together though? I've never had llamas before so I am unsure as to whether or not they would fight. Unlikely but good to know.
     
  10. Ponyfeather

    Ponyfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    238
    16
    88
    Feb 26, 2014
    California
    I have had horses guard chickens before. But the chickens had their own space in the horse pasture. I will note though that these two horses where exceptional animals in general. One of them once slid in pavement with me on her and did everything in her power not to fall on top of me. Another was bit by bee, while I was on him and I felt his whole body tense under me but didn't freak out because I was on his back.

    Horses will protect them though but I think it hinges on the individual horses. The mare once hurt herself rather seriously trying to save their favorite hen.
    I think a Llama might be better suited to hen protection. Unless you where planning on getting a pony or a mini horse. A donkey might work also they are great guard animals as long as you don't mind the noise.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by