Can Chickens Eat Goat Feed?

Last Updated: 22.10.19

 

In case you have a larger farm and multiple animals around it, you might be wondering what approach is the right one when it comes to their food, especially if you are feeding baby goats, but chickens are also in the picture. The good news is that these animals can live well together, as chickens can enjoy a free range around a property.

However, there are certain aspects you need to keep in mind before putting chickens with goats in the same space, and in the following lines, we will take a closer look at what these are, to avoid potential risks as much as possible in the process. The good part is that you will get to have fresh and tasty milk, goat cheese, and eggs, among many other things.

 

Food

Given that food is a delicate issue, in general, since it’s vital in an animal’s life, this is the first aspect you will need to consider when keeping goats and chickens together. As a rule of thumb, you want to keep them out of each other’s food as much as possible, especially when it comes to the goats.

It’s a known fact that they generally love chicken feed, but you want to do everything you can to keep them from enjoying it. If they do eat chicken food, they can end up dealing with diarrhea since their digestive system is not ready for those ingredients. In very serious intolerance cases, things can get a lot more serious and the animals might end up dying.

Chickens, on the other hand, don’t have the same issue since they are known to be eating pretty much anything around a farm. Therefore, the chances of them being affected by an element contained in the goats’ food are very low. If your chickens are not dealing with any particular condition, then this shouldn’t be an issue.

Keeping the food fresh

Chickens are rather low maintenance and don’t leave a significant livestock footprint, which also means they are adaptable to a large number of environments. In case you are not sure whether a particular type of feed they might have access to is safe, you can always ask the local vet for a second opinion on this.

Since we’re talking about chickens, it’s a good moment to say that they are also not the cleanest animals since they tend to leave their droppings anywhere. In case this happens to be in the hay your goats are getting ready to eat, then there’s a very high chance that the latter won’t be willing to touch the feed anymore.

In this case, you’ll have to provide a fresh batch and waste some hay, and therefore some money, on this. There are various measures you can take to make sure that everything works out well, the first one being to keep the chicken feeder in a location that goats don’t have access to.

Normally this should be a dedicated coop that is large enough for chickens to easily get in and out, without offering enough space for a goat’s access as well. Since we’re talking about keeping feeds as separate as possible, you should also consider storing the hay for your goats in a feeder that can be suspended, so that chickens cannot get in it in order to lay eggs.

Another measure is to feed grains to the goats when chickens are not active, such as before releasing them in the morning and after locking them up at night.

 

Housing

Given that we’re talking about successfully keeping goats and chickens together, the topic of housing should also be taken into consideration for the comfort of both types of animals. While you can safely let them free range together, keep in mind that each one of them needs a separate area.

Chickens need a safe place where there are no goats and where they can stay warm and protected from any predators, while goats require a space free of birds since roosting ones can leave droppings and scratch up soiled bedding, making things uncomfortable.

On the other hand, the good part is that the dedicated space or yard doesn’t have to be too special. Mostly, you need to make sure that it’s properly fenced, and panels with 4” openings should get the job done if your goats belong to a larger breed. For smaller breeds, panels with 2” x 4” openings are the way to go.

Moreover, you should think about predators as well, since they are an issue in pretty much any area. You can add an electric fence to keep them away, and if this is something you are considering, a 5000-volt charger is suitable for both chickens and goats.

This way you can also make sure that the animals stay inside their dedicated spaces, even though it might not sound like the friendliest solution out there.

Other risks

Of course, there are some other rather small but still worth-considering risks when keeping goats and chickens together. One of these refers to injuries, and the most common type you might end up seeing is a chicken’s foot stepped upon by a goat since these animals are not particularly aware of where they step.

If a chicken is not fast enough to dodge the situation, small accidents can happen. Other ones can include sharp pecks that goats might get if they are too curious and insist on getting close to the chickens.

However, there are also advantages if you decide to keep these two types of animals together. Besides the space you might end up saving, chickens reduce waste from goats since they pick up dropped grains, and also eat parasites or bugs that might otherwise trouble the goats.

Last but not least, these two species can provide some companionship to each other, which helps their overall health and entertainment. If you make sure that they each have a dedicated safe space they can use anytime and keep goats away from the chickens’ feed, then you should be able to raise them together without any problems.

 

 

 

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