goats with chickens?

kristenmarie(Z4-5/New Mexico)July 11, 2005

More goat questions here...

So I know I've read quite a few places that goats and chickens are a good combination, and I'd planned on putting mine together eventually. But the woman who sold me my goats today said she would never house the two together because the birds are dirty creatures and I'm going to be milking, so there's a risk of salmonella, etc.. Seems to me, though, that if I keep the milking area separate from the barn living quarters, wash hands, wash the udder, etc, it shoudl be OK? What do you goat experts say on this??

Kristen

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lesli8(8TX)

I think it could be done, I would not ever think that would be a problem so long as it is done as you have described. I would think that you would not be any more exposed to salmonella than when you gather eggs. I always think that washing hands is important, but honestly us farm girls can be a little tougher because our immune system is probably stronger.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 1:20PM
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DPallas(z6, SW Mo)

I don't think you'll be happy with goats and chickens housed together, in fact, you might find yourself trying to figure out a way to keep the chickens out of and away from the goat barn.

I had a proper chicken coop with perches and boxes, but the laying hens were allowed to roam free and they suddenly decided to take up residence in the goat shed. They perched on the panels separating the kidding pens and dropped manure right on the goats. The goats would also lay right on spots of manure and get filthy. The chickens constantly scratched in and turned over the straw bedding, so it was never clean. They'd scratch right down to the gravel floor and mix the straw with dirt. If I changed the bedding and sanitized everything, they'd have it a mess again in less than a day. They also attracted snakes looking for eggs. I had to quickly build a chicken wire fence to keep them contained at the coop because they were such a nuisance; if I shooed them out of the shed, they'd come right back.

I never thought about the salmonella risk, I just hated the filth near my goats, but it's true that salmonella will kill goat kids swiftly. All of the goat people I know keep their chickens contained in separate quarters, with good reason, IMO.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 8:05AM
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lesli8(8TX)

humm good info, did not know all that. I know lots of folks that have goats and chickens running together. I do know something that makes it a PITA though, My goat loves chicken food,and I really think if allowed to she would eat herself to death with chicken feed. She doesn't seem to have that ok, now I am full mechanism, she just gobbles like she is starving. That is why she can't be in the large chicken pen.
But not all chickens carry salmanella, right? How can you tell if it is present, do the chickens show any signs?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 9:18AM
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DPallas(z6, SW Mo)

Chickens running around with goats outdoors aren't a problem, they're just a problem indoors or if they get into the feed bunks.

Chickens carrying salmonella appear to be normal and healthy. Salmonella bacteria normally live in the intestinal tracts of humans, livestock, birds, reptiles, etc... Animals carrying it in their guts aren't actually ill. (Same thing with E. coli.) Illness occurs when food or water becomes contaminated with fecal material, but eggs are infected while still in the chicken's ovary.

You could possibly have a culture done to detect salmonella, but a clean test wouldn't guarantee much. Wild animals, including birds, turtles, and lizards could introduce it to a farm at any time. About the only way to avoid problems with it (and E. coli) is to keep feeders and waterers clean and not let the pasture get so short that animals have to graze too close to the soil or manure. Pasteurization kills it in milk.

Goats don't seem to have an "I'm full" reflex, and neither do sheep. They can literally eat themselves to death from acidosis, or ruin their hooves from founder, if they manage to break into a feed shed.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 1:38PM
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kristenmarie(Z4-5/New Mexico)

thanks... I'm leaning toward keeping the chickens separate for living quarters, but letting them share a little yard... but it does seem like it could get filthy. it probably depends on how many chickens we're talking about here and I'm talking 15 to 20 so that's enough to create one heck of a nasty goat barn...

Kristen

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 11:54PM
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