Topic of the week - Keeping different poultry types together

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sumi, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    35,988
    7,453
    646
    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Many of us start off by keeping a few chickens, or ducks, and then decide to expand the flock by adding a few birds of a different species. Some geese, guinea fowl, some ducks maybe. And with them comes the question: can you keep different poultry types together and how do you best go about it? I would like to hear from you all who keep different poultry types. What worked for you and what your experiences were. Notably:

    - Can you/how do you brood/house different poultry types together?
    - What about feeding?
    - Keeping males of different poultry types in a mixed flock - do's, don'ts and management.
    - Which poultry types compliment each other and which should not be mixed, if any?



    For a complete list of our Topic of the Week threads, see here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/topic-of-the-week-thread-archive
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    I currently keep eight species, most of them mixed. I have a main pen which houses chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and guineas. I also have a pigeon/chukar pen and a peafowl pen which includes one chicken.

    I don't recommend mixing species. It's a hassle and much easier and safer for all birds involved to be segregated by species. I've seen more deaths, injuries, and fights in my mixed species pens than my single species pens. Of the deaths and injuries, I'd say turkeys and chickens were responsible for most of them.

    Everyone goes on the same feed, based on the requirements of the pickiest species. My main pen eats a 20% Flock Raiser with oyster shell supplements. My pigeon pen eats a 12% Maintenance ration with 20% Flock Raiser and a 16% mini-pellet available in a separate feeder. My peafowl pen eats a 24% Gamebird mini-pellet.

    The species I would say complement each other best include ducks and geese, guineas and most species, and pigeons and chukar. Particularly the pigeons and chukar get along famously - in the sense that thy ignore each other completely. Guineas I like to think of as the police of the bird world. They're always on guard and alert, running about in their own little posse, screeching at any sign of danger. They also seem to be the bravest and most likely to actually attack a predator should the opportunity arise. However, if they get it in their minds that a chicken or other bird is upsetting them, they can become aggressive. However, I've found drawbacks to be minor when it comes to this species. Ducks and geese of course seem to get along well, since they are such similar species.

    I've seen very little in fighting between males of different species. Excluding my Chukar cocks who will happily attack a chicken cock over ten times their size (and typically will win and have the roosters cowering in a corner soon after). Guinea cocks will chase after rooster cocks they don't know, but are not combative long term.
     
    5 people like this.
  3. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Turtle Rock Poultry Premium Member

    39,433
    10,237
    656
    Aug 1, 2015
    I do brood and house different types together, and it has worked well for me on my limited budget. When brooding, I do keep ducks separate, as they are so messy I feel it might cause cocci issues in chicks. Guinea fowl I just keep with the chicks, and they get along just fine. I put all poultry types outside after about two weeks of age, and start letting them occasionally meet the adults (with supervision) by week 3-4. Integrating them young helps reduce the amount of fights, IMO.

    Again, getting young birds is conducive to preventing fights.... When keeping drakes in with chicken hens, make sure there are duck hens for him to apply his attentions to, or you'll likely have issues with the drake trying to breed the hens.

    My male guineas have not shown any aggression towards the drake or any of the multiple roosters.

    I've only ever had guineas, chickens, and ducks, but they seem to get along just fine, and I don't see having to separate them anytime in the near future.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

    531
    107
    111
    Nov 21, 2015
    Montana
    My experience is a lot more limited than others- I just have chickens and ducks, but they all get along with no problems, and they're all housed together. My very first batch of birds was 2 Rouen ducklings and seven assorted chicks. They all lived happily in the brooder together and would sleep in a pile with the chicks piling on top of the ducklings like they were using them as pillows. I don't have any roosters but I have had several drakes, which have never bothered the chickens. Generally the ducks sleep outside in the run at night- it's rare for them to go into their house, but occasionally they do. The chickens roost and the ducks make nests under the chicken nest boxes.
     
  5. silkiecuddles

    silkiecuddles FortheLoveofSilkies

    4,547
    610
    286
    Mar 1, 2015
    Florida
    :goodpost:
    My guineas do a better guard job then the supposed guard dogs. :lol:

    - Can you/how do you brood/house different poultry types together?

    Yes, it can certainly be done. I currently keep my peafowl and guineas together, then all my other chickens are in seperate pens. But, during the day all the chickens and guineas free range together.
    I don't let the peafowl and chickens out at the same time though because several of my chickens are slightly agressive towards the poor peas.
    The guineas can be bossy sometimes, but the peas have roosts they can use to escape the mafia (that's what I call my guineas :lol: ) if need be.
    I have a lone Pekin duck as well, but he has a dog cage he sleeps in right outside the coop. He doesn't bother anyone and they don't bother him.

    - Which poultry types compliment each other and which should not be mixed, if any?
    Personally, I would never want to mix ducks with any other breed (other than geese If i eve got any) due to mess and them having different reproduction ways. I'll leave that at that.
    I've kept pigeons and silkies together with no problem. No one got eaten or stepped on :rolleyes: but the pigeons did have a high roost that was very inaccessible to the silkies.

    I think with mixing different poultry types, that main thing would be to make sure everyone has room to escape if they need to. If birds are being injured, then certainly separate them and come up with a new housing situation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  6. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

    531
    107
    111
    Nov 21, 2015
    Montana
    I can't edit my post, but wanted to add that the only problem I had at first with keeping the ducklings and chicks together, is that the ducklings got hot at the temperature that the chicks were comfortable at. I got a bigger brooder so the heat lamp was only on one side and the ducklings could get away from it.
     
  7. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,470
    569
    236
    Apr 25, 2015
    Middle of Nowhere
    Right now I have a few ducks with my chickens. I find the best way to water is to have a chicken waterer, and then a sled for the ducks especially in the winter. Granted they drink out of each others all the time, it works really well though
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  8. gary bamford

    gary bamford Out Of The Brooder

    52
    4
    21
    Sep 7, 2016
    Aviemore
    [​IMG] 3 big pens and the ducks are in the woods all fenced
     
  9. gary bamford

    gary bamford Out Of The Brooder

    52
    4
    21
    Sep 7, 2016
    Aviemore
    [​IMG] One of 3 pens heat by a wood burner solar light and rain harvester make keeping easy
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. gary bamford

    gary bamford Out Of The Brooder

    52
    4
    21
    Sep 7, 2016
    Aviemore
    [​IMG] At the back
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by