Keeping goats and chickens together is a fantastic way to develop a more self-sufficient homestead for you and your family.
However, keeping both animals safe and happy is a bit tricky.
Part of the dangers of keeping goats and chickens together is goats eating mass amounts of chicken feed.
Too much chicken feed leads to a myriad of health issues for goats.
Knowing how to prevent goats from eating chicken feed is essential to keep them safe.
Goats should not eat chicken feed, even though they do love to eat it. Chicken feed causes diarrhea and bloating, which doesn’t seem bad, but it may be fatal in high amounts. Prevent this by keeping the feed out of goats’ reach.
As homesteaders, we must keep all of our animals happy and safe.
Keeping goats out of chicken feed is crucial if you plan to keep both on your property.
Let’s look into how to prevent goats from getting at your flock’s feed.
Is Chicken Feed Bad For Goats?
It is okay for goats to eat a bit of the feed from their chicken friends.
Goat and chicken owners know how much the herd can eat in a single sitting.
If one goat eats a full chicken ration, they are susceptible to bloat and digestive issues.
While the nutritionally complete chicken feed is fantastic for the health of the flock, it causes serious disruption of the flora balance of goat stomachs.
Despite the common belief goats can eat anything, they have a sensitive intestinal tract.
Certain foods will hurt their stomachs.
For the most part, goats are fairly instinctual about what food will and won’t hurt them.
However, they love a good snack and will stuff themselves with it if given access.
Here are some of the most common issues associated with goats eating chicken feed.
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Disruption in healthy gut bacteria and flora
How To Stop Goats From Eating Chicken Feed
Goats love to eat and often will find whatever food is around to satisfy their large appetite, which causes huge concern among goat owners.
The best way to keep goats away from your chicken feed is to keep the chicken coop away from the goat manger.
Separate housing helps prevent temptation from getting the best of your goat’s voracious appetite for chicken food.
Chickens will also potentially soil goat feed with feces, so it’s best to keep them apart to limit sick goats on your homestead.
Keeping goats with chickens is beneficial for homesteaders and farmers, but there are some measures to take to keep them both healthy and safe.
Goats with access to chicken feed are subject to several health issues, so housing chickens away from the goat herd is very beneficial.
One of the most significant issues with goats is their ability to shimmy into chicken coops.
Goats overeating chicken feed is a common concern for a backyard homestead keeping goats with chickens.
It is easy for goat keepers to keep larger breeds in their goat pens and away from the coop.
However, goat kids easily slip into the coop.
To prevent this, we recommend using a small opening just big enough for one chicken to enter and exit at a time.
This way, the chicken access will be too small for even baby goats to enter, and the biggest goat won’t have a chance of entering the coop.
Luckily, if you keep laying-hens, female chickens tend to be smaller than roosters and require a smaller chicken door design.
For an inquisitive goat, it helps to reinforce the chicken wire and framing of the coop.
Tips For Keeping Chickens And Goats Together
Keeping chickens and goats together is an excellent option for a homesteader.
Dairy goats supply nutritious milk, and chickens lay plentiful eggs.
The combination of milk and egg production allows for a great level of self-sufficiency for backyard farms and homesteaders.
Both types of farm animals are a joy to have around.
Their unique personalities and quirky traits make them easily lovable and entertaining on our properties.
While keeping both a flock of chickens and a herd of goats on a backyard farm is fantastic, there are some tips and tricks for keeping them all together happily.
If you take these measures, you will prevent goats from eating chicken feed and a myriad of other issues commonly faced by the cohabitation of these farm animals.
Don’t Let Them Cohabitate
While the idea of your goats snuggling up with your chickens is a delightful thought, it is not realistic.
Each shares diseases and illnesses easily spread by cohabitation.
Chickens may spread salmonella bacteria, e. coli, and additional illnesses capable of causing severe health complications for goats.
Keeping them apart is the best way to keep everyone healthy and prevents the mass spread of infection, illness, and disease.
Keep Goats From Harming Chickens
Despite their best efforts, your goats may accidentally harm or kill chickens. Goats love to jump and romp about the yard.
They love to climb on platforms and jump off for fun.
They may not mean to land on a chicken, but the likelihood is very high in close quarters.
Some goats, especially baby goats and kids, will headbutt chickens.
While this is fine for young and growing goats to do to each other, a headbutt can kill or seriously injure a chicken.
Read more in our article on whether goats will attack or protect chickens.
Keep Chicken Feces Out Of Goat Feed
If you’ve kept chickens for a while, you’ve undoubtedly noticed how indiscriminately they drop feces.
This is not safe for goat feed. Eating spoiled goat feed causes serious health issues.
The same is true for goat feces in the goat manger.
Chickens love to peck and scratch about the hay and bedding in the goat shelter.
If they do this through soiled bedding, there is a severe concern of infections and illnesses in the flock of chickens.
For this reason, it is best to keep goats and chickens in separate housing.
Allowing them to come and go as they please through the other’s shelter causes significantly more problems than good.
Related: Can goats eat sheep feed?
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