Purple martin colonies and back yard chickens...?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Intheswamp, May 18, 2009.

  1. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    In talking with a local commercial breeder (he just got 18,000 21-week olds in his house) he stated that he can't have purple martins on his property due to regulations set forth by the poultry company that he grows for....the reasoning is for bio-security, which makes sense.

    But, being on a smaller scale, I was wondering if any of you experienced BYCers have purple martin colonies on your property? If so, have you ever had any issues?


  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    ANY wild birds colonizing on your property around your birds are a threat to them, disease-wise.
  3. MHF

    MHF In the Brooder

    Aug 28, 2008
    Durham, NC
    Well I guess my flock is done for. I have three Purple Martin colonies with in a hundred yards of my flock, along with four Blue Bird houses and 6 wild bird feeders and Doves that feed in my horse pastures.

    Last edited: May 18, 2009
  4. baldie

    baldie Songster

    Sep 25, 2008
    Douglas, MA
    What is a purple martin??????????[​IMG]:idunno
  5. fargosmom

    fargosmom Songster

    Dec 27, 2008
    Pasadena, CA
    I would think martins would be a good thing - don't they eat their weight in mosquitos? BTW baldie - they're like swallows. Really amazing flyers.
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Generally speaking, wild birds can carry disease to your flock. That said, probably most disease is carried in on someone's shoes or other birds they buy. I can't stop wild birds from hanging around my place in the woods, but I no longer fill bird feeders.
  7. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    Thanks, folks, for the replies.

    The disease aspect of housing a colony of course is my primary concern. My henhouse will be approximately 200-250 feet from my gourd rack which isn't really that far in the big scheme of things since purple martins migrate thousands of miles twice a year. But, I've had the colony (16 gourd gourd-rack) for years so I guess it'll be staying. Thankfully, martins are not ground dwellers, they eat their meals on the fly (flying bugs) and even drinking on the fly. Basically the only times that they come to the ground is seeking grit or mating. The droppings are the big issue, but at least these are widely scattered or either more closely confined to the base of the gourd rack. It seems the martins normally defecate upon taking flight and within 100-200 feet of the rack...that leaves my propose henhouse right at the edge of this perceived dropping perimeter.

    As for the myth of "eating their weight in mosquitoes"...nah, just a myth propagated by a less-than-honest "businessman" as a slogan to sell *his* martin houses. Purple martins might accidently eat a mosquito but they don't frequent the areas that mosquitoes do and are either just leaving the roost or going to roost when the mosquitoes start coming out in numbers.

    MHF... How long have you had both chickens and martins?

    fargosmom... Yelp, they are truely amazing flyers! A real joy to watch.

    speckledhen... I stopped feeding wildbirds a few years ago and before then only fed niger and blackoil sf seeds. The cracked corn/millet mixes tends to draw in the weaver finches and starlings. Being as corn/millet is a big part of chicken mixes do you have a problem with these two rodent birds around your place? I'm curious as to whether I will see these birds suddenly start showing up once I start raising my flock. We have many poultry farms in the area and I see many of these flying rats hanging out at the big houses. Presently I have no foreigners, only native species that frequent the property.

    Thanks for all of your replies,

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