Neighbor chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Moxiechick, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. Moxiechick

    Moxiechick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a few questions regarding the chickens that live next door.

    I know there are a lot of concerns out there about keeping flocks isolated for bio-security reasons, but our neighbors who have chickens live pretty close and they free range their birds. Our own girls are inoculated against Marek's, so I'm not worried on that account. Their coop is only about 30 feet from our drive way and I've never noticed any smell. The birds themselves look very healthy and I know the neighbor keeps the coop hygienic, as we see her cleaning the coop every week. Any outside contaminants, such as wild birds, are going to be the same wild birds flying around both our properties. Is there anything else I need to be concerned about health wise?

    I'm also wondering what might happen if both flocks are free ranging at the same time. I wouldn't mind them hanging out together per se, but will each flock return to it's respective coop at night? I'm sure my neighbors, as well as I, want to be able to collect the eggs from our own birds! They also have a rooster. For the most part he minds his own business. but occasionally he runs at us, usually if we catch him by surprise turning around the corner, but also if we are trying to walk to an area he doesn't want to vacate. To his credit, he does a fine job protecting his girls and they don't appear to be missing any feathers, even though there are only three of them. He must be a gentleman in the husband department! While I might want chicks one day, "if" one of my girls were to go broody, I'm not sure if I would want chicks from a rooster that will attack people. On that note, I may want to get a rooster of my own someday, and am not sure "Benedict" would take that well. I don't want cockfighting.

    I don't want it to seem like I am complaining about my neighbors or their birds. I actually enjoy watching them and one in particular is very curious about us and comes around to see what we are up to. She's a very funny bird! I just am wondering if anyone else out there is in a similar situation and if they have any insights they would like to share. [​IMG]
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:My situation is not unlike yours excepting I have all flocks (subflocks better term). Biggest problem I see is as noted is lack of control over paternity of chicks your hens hatch. My flocks can operate as almost discrete units although with some fighting. My subflocks in past would generally move about separately if resources that needed could be defended. If not, then subflocks flocks tended to merge.
     
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I don't have a situation like yours, but I have some thoughts to share.

    First, your hens don't need a rooster to go broody. Trust me. Lots of folks on BYC are frustrated when one or more of their pullets/hens go broody and there's no resident rooster to fertilize their eggs. They then have to decide whether they want to buy fertile eggs for 'em to hatch, or to "break" the broody session(s). Or hope the session fades early....

    With a flock - however many - that close to yours, you and your neighbor's flocks will undoubtedly suffer the same illnesses, if any. They may swap mites, too. Or not. *I* think bio-security in that sense is shot, but not necessarily a bad thing. Of course, you should still perform quarantine for other birds outside your two flocks, if you add any, or have other chicken folks visit you, etc.

    However, it does present a problem for breeding, if you are interested in specific breeds to maintain through your own lines.

    I am nearly 100% positive your own birds will return to their own coop(s) at night, if they do so on their own already from within your run. They are creatures of habit.

    On the other hand, the neighbor's roo may be a real seductive kinda fella and he may lure some of your girls away. I'm not positive if hens will give up the security of Home to go off with him overnight.

    If you get a rooster of your own, they may defend their own territory and their own harem, and you wouldn't lose any of your hens to the neighbor's roo. Cock-fighting in non-game chickens is USUALLY not to the death, it's just until the point is proved and may result in some loss of feathers or injuries to comb/wattles. I'll defer to other more savvy BYCers to respond to that issue.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Particularly if both parties have roosters, some hens (maybe one should say pullets) are likely to switch yards and roosts. This of interest to me and I have observed this. With this sometimes you gain, sometimes you loose kinda like with pigeon wars.
     
  5. Moxiechick

    Moxiechick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know hens can go broody without a rooster, but having one around definitely brings more to consider when broodiness happens! [​IMG]
    The roo in question is a Red Sex-Link- mostly white with red shoulders. My girls are all listed in my sig line. They are all hatchery birds, so my choice of roo would be either- A. a match for whatever breed I have that may end up being closest to show quality, despite her hatchery background. (I'm not saying any would or not, I think all my girls are beautiful, but IF I decide to breed, I want the best quality.) or B. An Ameraucana or Easter Egger so the chicks would end up being Easter Eggers, no matter which mother(s) they come from.

    I'm not even quite sure if I want to breed or not. Mostly I would want to as my girls get older and egg production drops. Right now, we have 8 hens for 2 people, so we're going to have eggs coming out of our ears for a few years yet. I do think having a roo around to protect the girls might be a good idea. I really like the looks of blue chickens. If I decide not to breed, I would pick a blue roo. If I do, perhaps a splash or some other color that would throw blue chicks. I'm not crazy about RIR, of which the roo is half. It's good to know that if I do get a roo, that the fight(s) would not be lethal!

    I'm mostly concerned about any other diseases (besides Marek's, which my girls are inoculated for), which may not show themselves but still be there. I know that sometimes birds may be carriers for disease that they themselves are immune, but that another flock would be susceptible.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    In respect to lethality of rooster conflicts, even if one bird is actual gamecock, it generally requires two game roosters to result in actual deathloss so do not sweat that issue. I have had game chicken flocks (including battle hardened brood cock) intermingling with non-game flocks that had multiple roosters and only problem was again parentage issue. If parentage is an issue, then hopefull some genetic marker that is easily seen can be used to detect hybrids. I was only concerned about purity of game line so when hybrids occured with large multipurpose fowl, they were easy to detect by weight and conformation from an early age on. If parentage needs to be guaranteed, then when breeding keep breeders penned up for at least three weeks to ensure rooster you want to be daddy is in fact daddy.

    Once your flocks begin interacting, they will in respect to disease issues, become a single management concern with inputs from both owners. Your bio-security will only be as good as the guy with least secure measures. Both parties may need to adhere to some quarantine methods or at least try to practice some good selection practices when bring new birds in. My flock is at present not closed (still bringing in new stock for long term breeding project). One or two individuals in my flock are constantly being affected by some sort of sniffles but so long as nutrition good and other stressors not excessive then losses not likely to be an issue. Keepers of free range birds will have to be concerned more about diseases coming from wild sources but owing to less stressfull and lower density conditions, the outbreaks that will occur relatively frequently will not likley be devistating like intensive large scale producers deal with. Much of the bio-security concerns are for benefit of larger commercial operations. Sadly it is us small guys that can be reservoirs and sometimes vectors of disease organisms for their flocks. Hence that is why governmental folks promote bio-security so much to public.
     
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Roos will dominate for a harem and hens will choose a roo. You read much of folks with multiple roos and not having problems excepting worn out hens.

    My uncle had a roo show up to his house. He does'nt even have chickens. A neighbor a few houses down does though and his own rooster. Nobody knew where this fella came from but he hung around for the summer. Would roost in the garage and follow untie and uncle about the yard or be at the kitchen door begging for breakfest treats. Anywho, the end result was some of the neighbors chickens eventually came down the road (without their roo) and corraled him back to their coop for some quality time each day. This bachlor would come home to roost in the garage each night until he finally moved in with them after a week of courtship. So as you see, hens will choose a roo too. Aperantly he intergrated with the flock without any problems. Perhaps there were too many hens for the older roo to manage alone.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    What I see with smaller harems < 5 hens or so dominant rooster does most of mating. Subordinates float around outside of group and mate either when dominant can not see what is going on or subordinate forces a mating attempting to get job done before dominant forces him off. It is subordinate roosters that typically roost away from from group. Subordinate roosters do test dominants from time to time. Even smaller harems the dominant does virtually all of mating.

    The worn out hen look I associate with large flocks and those that are confined or as indicated previously, too many roosters.
     
  9. Kharmel

    Kharmel Out Of The Brooder

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    Are you my neighbor? Lol, I see you are in Maine so I guess not but I'm in the same situation and I have a rooster , the neighbors do not.

    We both free range our chickens and my rooster runs back and forth between my place and theirs since I am down to only four hens, those plus the 14 next door are more than enough to keep him occupied. Thankfully, they don't seem to mind. I've asked a few times if it bothered them that my rooster is over there so much. They always say they don't but I can tell they don't appreciate the fertilized eggs:D I told them at least this spring, they won't have to buy chicks!

    I guess they can't say much though since their two dogs are always on my property (carrying away my shoes that I leave outside and getting into my garbage) and their hens were the first to start visiting my rooster. He's funny to watch because he'll be hanging out with "his" hens then decide it's time to go next door and takes off running. Spends an hour or so and then runs back home. In the evening, they are all in the correct coops by nightfall.

    I should add that two of their hens are regulars at my place. They come over to eat then go back home.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2010

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