When it comes to raising backyard livestock, goats and chickens are two of the most popular options. They don’t take up too much space and they’re easy to care for while producing useful and nutritious food items. But with limited space overall, you might be wondering if it’s alright to just keep your chickens and goats together, or if that might cause some problems.
Goats and chickens will get along just fine, and putting them together shouldn’t result in any assaults or deaths; they may even become friends. But there are many other issues that can result from keeping these two species together, which is why you need to offer them separate spaces for bedding and eating, even if you allow them to pasture together.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the specifics of keeping goats and chickens together. If you do it right, things can be harmonious. Done wrong, however, you might be wasting money and risking the health of your animals.
Benefits of Keeping Chickens and Goats Together
Before we get into the particulars of how to go about keeping goats and chickens in the same space, it’s important to understand why you would want to do such a thing in the first place. In truth, there are quite a few reasons why you might want to attempt pasturing these species together.
Concerns About Keeping Goats With Chickens
Spreading disease between species is one of the most concerning factors to consider when planning to let your goats and chickens pasture together. Several diseases can be shared among them, and some of these will even transfer to humans.
Cryptosporidiosis, for instance, is a parasite that can infect your chickens, goats, and even you. Worst of all, it’s often deadly for children, making this a real scare for families with goats and chickens.
Chickens are also carriers of salmonella. This bacteria lives in chicken intestines and is present in chicken waste. Should a goat lay in waste from a chicken, it could infect the goat’s udder with salmonella, which could be potentially lethal for a feeding kid.
If you plan to keep your chickens and goats together, you’ll need to make sure you’re vigilant about keeping the area clean. If an animal does appear to be ill, quarantine it quickly and get immediate veterinary assistance.
There’s a pretty noticeable size difference between chickens and goats. Goats also have hard hooves, and if your chickens don’t move their feet fast enough, they may end up getting stepped on. Goats just don’t pay attention to where they step, so accidents like this are common, though not too serious. Luckily for your goats, the chickens don’t pose much threat to them.
Your chickens will probably be fine if they get into your goats’ feed. Granted, goat feed wouldn’t make a suitable long-term feed for chickens as it doesn’t contain the nutrients they require, but they wouldn’t get sick from eating a bit of goat feed. The same is not true in reverse. Goats can get extremely sick from eating goat feed, which is why you must keep the chicken feed out of reach from your goats. In fact, when goats get into chicken feed, it’s quite often fatal.
On the subject of food, your chickens could easily spoil your goats’ hay. Chickens aren’t particular about where they lay their waste, so don’t be surprised if your chickens poop on your goats’ hay. The goats won’t eat that hay anymore, so it will just go to waste. Make sure to elevate the hay to where your goats can eat it, but your chickens can’t ruin it with their waste.
How to Keep Goats and Chickens in the Same Yard
There’s definitely a lot you need to be careful about when trying to keep goats and chickens together, but that doesn’t mean you should be deterred. Many people find great success allowing them to pasture together. You just want to make sure you take a few precautions.
Have Them Sleep Separately
Your chickens and goats should have separate sleeping spaces. This way, your chickens can feel safe and secure. Your goats will benefit too, though, because their sleeping space will stay free of chicken waste, which is essential for their health and well-being.
Careful With Their Food!
You’ll need to be careful when it comes to your animals’ food. If your goats get into the chicken feed, it could spell disaster. Prevent this by ensuring the entrances to the chicken coop where their feed is offered are too small for the goats to fit through. Similarly, feed the goats grain while the chickens are still in their coop in the morning or evening and elevate the hay off the ground so that the birds aren’t spoiling it with their waste.
Cleanliness Is Key
Many problems can arise if your animals’ conditions aren’t kept clean and hygienic. You don’t want to deal with outbreaks of disease, as this can result in sick animals, people, and even deaths. Make sure you devote plenty of time to cleaning the pasture and keeping it free of waste and mess.
Goats and chickens can be kept together, but you’ll need to take some extra precautions to ensure it’s safe for everyone involved. Disease, injury, and issues with food are all possibilities that need to be accounted for. But if you take some sensible steps to prevent these possibilities, then your goats and chickens should get along fine and may even benefit each other in the long run.
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