Will Goats Protect or Attack Chickens?

Chickens are susceptible to being attacked by various predators such as coyotes, foxes, cats, raccoons, and opossums.

If you have a sturdy coop for your chickens, they will be safe at night as long as you herd them in when it gets dark.

However, you will need to protect your chickens while they roam and get some exercise during the day.

Some chicken owners get a trained guard dog to offer protection, while others allow their flock to share space with livestock animals like llamas, alpacas, and even goats.

But will goats protect or attack chickens?

Goats will not be able to protect your chickens from common ground predators, but they will deter birds of prey. Goats are also friendly animals and are not likely to attack your chickens. As long as your goats and chickens are provided with plenty of space, they will typically ignore each other.

It is possible to allow goats and chickens to roam together, but there are some precautions you will need to take.

Goats and chickens are two entirely different species, and they both have specific needs when it comes to food and housing.

Read on for the advantages and disadvantages of keeping goats and chickens together and other ways to keep your flock safe.

will goats protect chickens

Goats Are Prey Animals Too

Since goats are prey animals, they will do very little to protect your chickens.

Goats have an instinct to run away from any potential threats because they cannot defend themselves.

The same predators hunting your chickens will go after your goats as well.

Adding a goat to your chicken flock may encourage predators like coyotes and dogs to attack.

Goats are much larger than chickens, and a predator may be enticed to attack if it results in a bigger meal.

Smaller predators like foxes and raccoons are less likely to attack your chickens if there is a goat among the flock, but they may still be able to injure your animals.

Will Goats Hurt Chickens?

A goat will not hurt your chickens as long as they are not confined in a cramped space.

Goats are somewhat careless in their movements and may accidentally step on a chicken’s foot if there is not adequate room to move around.

A small space will also encourage chickens to peck at the goat’s legs, causing some cuts and bruises.

Young goats are also exceptionally playful, and they enjoy running and jumping around.

Playtime needs to be supervised to ensure the goats do not unintentionally harm the chickens by landing on them or head-butting them.

Providing your goats and chickens with lots of space will decrease the risk of accidental injuries for both animals.

Advantages of Keeping Goats and Chickens Together

With the proper setup for both animals, there are several advantages to keeping your goats and chickens in the same area.

Goats Deter Birds of Prey

While they cannot defend your chickens against most ground predators, goats are an excellent deterrent for birds of prey.

Owls, hawks, and eagles will usually avoid hunting where there are larger animals.

Goats also move around a lot, and many birds of prey will not bother hunting where there is a lot of activity and commotion.

Goats Produce a Lot of Milk

Lactating goats need to be milked every day to prevent ill health effects.

Daily milking usually results in more milk than a typical family can consume.

To put some surplus milk to good use and prevent waste, you may feed it to your chickens.

Allow the milk to ferment overnight with plant leaves and seeds leftover from feeding.

The milk will firm up to the same texture as a soft cheese, which you will then be able to feed to your chickens.

Goat milk offers many nutrients to your chickens, including calcium, vitamin A, and protein.

Since it is high in calories, always feed your chickens goat milk in moderation to avoid obesity.

Interesting reads:

Chickens Are Good Pest Control for Goats

Goats are very messy animals, and their urine and feces will attract flies and other pests.

Chickens will eat these insects and any snails or slugs, which carry a nasty parasite affecting goats.

The parasite is known as the deer worm, and it mainly affects goats and sheep.

Deer worms work their way into a goat’s spinal column and brain stem, resulting in paralysis or death.

Goats generally do not eat anything after it has fallen to the ground, and these feed remnants will attract mice.

Chickens effectively keep mice away from your goat’s feed by eating any leftovers spilled on the ground.

Further reading: Do chickens eat mice and keep them away?

Disadvantages of Keeping Goats and Chickens Together

The benefits of keeping goats with chickens are great, but there are some disadvantages.

Chickens Create a Mess

Chickens are not shy about defecating wherever they please, and nowhere is safe.

If a chicken perches near the goat’s hay, it may become contaminated by chicken poop.

Goats are picky eaters, and they will stop eating the soiled hay until it is replaced with a fresh batch.

This results in a lot of wasted hay and creates extra work.

You will also need to thoroughly clean the manger.

Your goat’s water supply may also become contaminated by a wayward pooping chicken.

Dairy goats need to drink a lot of fresh water to maintain milk production, and they will refuse to drink dirty water.

Chickens should not be allowed into the goat barn, especially at night.

The birds might roost on a ledge above the goat’s bedding and defecate, or they may scratch and churn up previously soiled spreading.

These actions create unsanitary conditions for your goats and may cause dangerous bacteria or diseases to spread.

Goats Might Interfere with Chicken Egg Production

Your female chickens may decide to lay their eggs in the goat’s hay feed because it is very soft.

This creates a problem because goats are likely to break the eggs when rummaging for food or simply out of curiosity.

Broken eggs mean fewer eggs for you, but they also leave behind a sticky mess in the hay.

After cleaning the manger, you will have to waste even more hay by throwing the soiled portion out and replacing it with fresh.

Goats Are Very Rambunctious

Goats get pretty rowdy when they play, and they are often oblivious to anything around them when they run and jump.

Baby chicks are in the biggest danger of getting stepped on by a goat since they cannot get out of the way very quickly.

A goat will also climb on any nearby structures and jump off, where they could potentially land on a chicken by accident.

Goats may also head-butt a chicken while being playful.

The goat does not have any bad intentions when head-butting a chicken, but it is often fatal for the bird.

Goats and Chickens Share Diseases

Goats and chickens carry host-specific diseases, which means they cannot pass certain illnesses to each other.

Unfortunately, many diseases are not host-specific, so the same illness affecting a goat may also be passed to a chicken.

One of these diseases is cryptosporidiosis, which is caused by protozoa.

Cryptosporidia protozoa are intestinal parasites, and they cause illness in both mammals and birds.

Cryptosporidiosis is common in young chickens, and it is easily passed to baby goats.

Crypto may be fatal if it is not treated quickly.

Salmonella is another disease affecting goats and chickens.

Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of chickens, and they are largely unaffected by it.

The chickens will spread the salmonella bacteria through their poop.

If a goat’s udder comes into contact with the salmonella-infected feces, her nursing kid is in danger of receiving a lethal dose of the bacteria.

Also, if you do not clean a doe’s udder before milking her, some of the bacteria could end up in your milk bucket.

Chicken Feed is Dangerous to Goats

Goats will eat almost anything in sight, and this includes chicken feed.

A goat cannot digest the proteins and grains found in chicken feed, so this is very dangerous for them to do.

If a goat consumes a large amount of chicken feed, it may be fatal.

At the very least, your goat will become very sick.

To keep your goats out of the chicken feed, use a hanging feeder and ensure the opening is too small for a goat to get to the food.

Is It Safe to Keep Goats and Chickens Together?

It is safe to allow these animals to be together as long as you have a large amount of space and keep the chickens out of the goat barn and the goats away from the chicken coop.

Ensure all of your chickens are in their coop at night, so they are not sleeping in the goat barn.

It is best to keep the sleeping quarters for both animals as far away from each other as possible to avoid any cross-contamination of either environment.

Related: How do goats sleep?

Keeping goats away from the chicken enclosure is easier since goats are too large to fit inside.

Monitor your goats and chickens whenever they are together to ensure no aggressive behavior between them.

Other Ways to Protect Your Chickens

Aside from getting other animals to protect your flock of chickens, there are some ways to improve the safety of the coop and the chicken run.

One way to keep birds of prey from attacking your chickens is to cover the chicken run with a sturdy welded wire.

Use a portable chicken tractor to regularly move your flock to fresh grass or install an above-ground tunnel system to keep your birds safe from predators.

A chicken tunnel is usually constructed from chicken wire, and it allows your flock to roam in the designated perimeter while keeping them safe from predatorial birds and ground animals.

Flashing lights will startle a hawk and other birds of prey.

For an inexpensive solution, hang aluminum pie plates, pieces of aluminum foil, or old DVDs from trees around the area.

When the sunlight hits these shiny objects, it will create a colorful flash to scare off most flying predators.

At night, a motion-sensor light will scare away any nocturnal predators.

Use gate latches that require more than two steps to open to prevent raccoons from getting in.

Bury the fence at least 2′ to 4′ feet into the ground and line the bottom with hardware cloth to keep ground-dwelling predators away. 

Read next: Do sheep kill chickens?

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Growing up amidst the sprawling farms of the South, Wesley developed a profound connection with farm animals from a young age. His childhood experiences instilled in him a deep respect for sustainable and humane farming practices. Today, through Farmpertise.com, Wesley shares his rich knowledge, aiming to inspire and educate others about the joys and intricacies of rural life.

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