Wild Bird Feeders & A Free Range Flock...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Lunachick, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Lunachick

    Lunachick Chicken Slave

    Mar 19, 2007
    Brick, NJ
    Am I taking a chance? My birds free range when I'm home and about. I have 4 hens and the yard (fenced by 6' cedar) that they can play in is about 25' x 100' . I also have a wildbird feeding station not 20' from their run. When I let them free range, they go over to the the bird feeder and scratch around the dirt right below. I use all around weather suet in little cages.

    I thought I read here somewhere that you really should have those feeders elsewhere, or I might be taking a risk for my chooks to pick up a nasty disease from them. Is this right? Should I really be concerned?

    They ( my chooks ) have been under the feeder scratching around for awhile, and everyone seems fine. I even have my newest BR letting her aggressions out by chasing the wild birds out of the yard. Does she know something I don't know?

    What are you're opinions on this?
     
  2. That's a good question! We feed the wild birds and have feeders all over.
    The first spot the chickens hit when they are out is under the sunflower seed feeders.
    I was worried for a time because of the (and I can't remember what it is) house finch disease that effects their eyes. I was told by the folks at Clemson that that is specific to finches and wouldn't bother chickens.

    I'm sure there is the 'potential' to pick up diseases from wild birds, but we haven't seen any problems.

    I worry more them picking up parasites (mites, worms, and such) from the wild birds.

    Good luck!
    [​IMG]
    Lisa
     
  3. penelope77

    penelope77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 6, 2008
    northeast oklahoma
    i hadn't even thought of that. luckily my goats are the only ones at the bird feeders anymore and the chickens just clean up the mess the goats leave. that's after the goats lick the ground of course.
     
  4. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    It's for sure a risk.

    I in particulare dislike bird feeders for the enormous amount of predators they attract. Last night I saw FIVE (!) raccoons at my neighbors feeders 25 feet from my coops. In the last year alone I've seen opossums, rats, and skunks scavenging from those feeders.

    Not to mention the mice, shrews and small birds they attract which in turn attracts larger predators like coyotes, weasels, owls and hawks.

    If you keep your feeders clean and don't let discarded seeds and hulls accumulate under the feeders and even empty or let them run out by night time that will really help cut down on problems.
     
  5. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    In addition to the risk of disease being brought in by the wild bird population, the risk for predators is too enormous for us here to have bird feeders. They attact black bear here and we only had a wild bird feeder up for a short time before black bear started coming to rip them down for their snack. They quickly disappeared once the feeders were gone.

    Jody
     
  6. suebee

    suebee Speaks Silkie Fluently

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    Apr 1, 2007
    N. Carolina
    I've had chickens for years and bird feeders for years. My chickens hang around at the bird feeders. Never lost one to disease. The wild birds cue my chickens if there are predators nearby. Especially hawks! I've never had raccoons or rats in my yard because of the feeders...if I do, it's at night when the chickens are locked up.

    I just love watching the birds at the feeders with my chickens roaming around the yard.

    I have heard it's a risk because of disease but so far it's been fine.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. SproutGirl

    SproutGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 3, 2008
    Missoula, Montana
    Wow, you guys still get wild birds at your feeders with chickens around? My chickens chase off all of our wild birds. We used to keep a list of all of the different types of birds that we had seen from our kitchen table which grew steadily and happily included 3 species of woodpeckers! Now, all we have are 2 species of chickens outside that window. Of course, they do chase off the squirrels, so that is a nice bonus. Our birds are very territorial!
    [​IMG]
     
  8. suebee

    suebee Speaks Silkie Fluently

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    Apr 1, 2007
    N. Carolina
    Wow Sprout! Your chickens ARE very territorial! I've never heard of that! You do have your feeders up on a pole right?

    My chickens don't run off the wild birds...because they are Silkies. (If ya don't know, the most docile chicken)
    The only wild bird they ran off was a dove eating off the ground at the feeder. My silkies were so proud! [​IMG]
     
  9. SproutGirl

    SproutGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 3, 2008
    Missoula, Montana
    Our feeders hang up in trees off of branches, well out of reach of chickens! No Nuthatch or Chickadee would dare frequent our yard anymore. And even the large and rather pointy Flicker keeps his distance these days! We only have 4 chickens, but they keep watch!
     
  10. eggzettera

    eggzettera Chillin' With My Peeps

    From what I understand is the biggest problem is water - do not let your chickens & wild birds drink from the same place.
     
    1 person likes this.

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