waterfront and wild waterfowl questions

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by rob42, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. rob42

    rob42 New Egg

    Dec 30, 2013
    Deale, MD
    My back yard backs to a tidal creek that is brackish (semi-salty) water. Most of the waterline (~150') is a bulkhead that is close to flush with the grass, then a short drop, and the water is very shallow. There is also a dock (~10'), and a grassy ramp that goes down to the water (~15').

    I know that I risk possible issues with eagles and ospreys if the chickens are unattended while free-ranging. I have questions on a few other issues:

    (1) Wild ducks, geese, swans, and even herons love the yard, as you can imagine. Will they go after my chickens or their feed? They are pretty wary of humans -- I have only to step into the yard and they are away. Will interactions and/or shared grazing with wild birds contaminate my birds, potentially making them sick? I had planned to tractor the chickens around the yard, and free range when attended -- maybe this will not work.

    (2) What will the chickens do at the water's edge? (I am thinking of a Roomba here. ;-) It may seem like a stupid question, but I have no idea. If not fenced, will they fall in the water and drown -- or swim? Will they intentionally go down to the water via the ramp as so many ducks and goslings do? Will they drink salt water and do themselves harm?

    Thanks so much for your knowledge on this subjects! Let me know if you have direct experience with this. Are there breeds of chickens that are "sea smart"?

    /// Rob ( just off the Chesapeake Bay )
  2. PolkaDot77

    PolkaDot77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2012
    Boise, ID
    As for your first question, wild birds can and will eat any food that is open and available to them. They probably won't chase your chickens or scare them off, but I would worry about any common areas potentially exposing your chickens to mites, worms, lice, mycoplasma, cocci, etc. as there are many diseases that chickens can get from wild birds. Good luck!

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