Whether you are a backyard farmer or a homesteader, you may wonder which livestock you can raise together. Goats and chicken are the most popular options because they are relatively easy to care for, don’t take up much space, and are suitable for production.
If you have limited space, you’re probably wondering can goats and chickens live together.
Goats and chickens can live together but should have separate spaces for sleeping and eating. Keeping goats and chickens shouldn’t result in fights or deaths, and these two species can even become friends. However, problems occur when goats and chickens share the same sleeping space and food.
Interested in pasturing chickens and goats? Read on! This article will share the pros and cons of keeping goats and chickens together.
Benefits of Pasturing Goats and Chicken Together
There are several benefits to raising goats and chickens together. Here are the advantages of keeping these two species:
1. Fewer Bug Bites for Goats
Bugs are a natural part of a chicken’s diet and are full of protein and other essential nutrients. Chickens love to forage bugs of all shapes and sizes.
The fact that chickens love eating bugs is beneficial for goats because these insects may bite and infect goats with different diseases. Chickens will gobble all insects that come their way, from common flies that pester goats and get inside their eyes to everything in between.
Besides rooting through goat’s bedding for bugs and worms, chickens will also devour any bugs in the yard or pasture. This ensures goats won’t get bitten by any pesky bugs or insects.
2. Goats Protect Chickens from Predators
Chickens are prey to many predators, including raccoons, foxes, coyotes, dogs, owls, and some hawks. While it may seem unlikely, goats can help protect your chickens from predators on the ground and from the air.
During the day, birds like hawks are less likely to go after a chicken that stands close to a goat. At night, the goat’s loud bleating can be enough to deter larger predators from breaking into the chicken coop.
Although goats are great protectors of chickens, you should still take the necessary steps to secure your coop. Don’t forget that goats are also prey animals that can fall victim to much larger predators.
3. Chickens Reduce Food Waste
Goats drop a lot of grains while eating, and all that food will go to waste unless the chickens live nearby. While foraging for bugs and other goodies, chickens will also eat all the grains that goats dropped on the ground.
Besides keeping your yard clean, chickens are also helping your budget by ensuring there’s less food waste overall.
Although they are different species, goats and chickens sometimes form close friendships. Goats are very social animals that need the company of other goats, otherwise, they can become depressed and sick.
Chickens and goats can form interspecies friendships, but to a goat, a chicken can never be a replacement for another goat. So, while these two species can live together in harmony, you’ll need to keep at least two goats so they can stay healthy and happy.
Risks of Pasturing Goats and Chickens Together
As you can see, there are several benefits to keeping these two species together. However, pasturing goats and chickens isn’t without risks.
Here are the most common downsides of chickens and goats living together:
Shared diseases are the major risk associated with keeping goats and chickens together. Several diseases can be spread between these two species, and some can even be transferred to humans.
Cryptosporidium is a parasite that infects goats and chickens and can even infect you. This parasite is usually transmitted through the infected animal’s feces as well as contaminated water.
Another common disease that is seen in chickens and goats is salmonella. Salmonella is a bacteria that lives in the intestines of chickens and is present in their waste.
If a goat lies in infected chicken waste, its udder can become infected with salmonella, which could potentially be fatal for the feeding kid.
If you want chickens and goats to live together, you must keep the area clean and remove all chicken waste. To prevent the spread of diseases, quarantine all animals that seem sick and call your vet immediately.
Goats are significantly larger than chickens, and they also have hard hooves. Most goats don’t pay any attention to where they step and are likely to step on a chicken if it doesn’t move fast enough.
Accidents like this are common but aren’t very serious. Luckily for goats, chickens pose little to no danger to them.
3. Goats Shouldn’t Eat Chicken Food
Chickens won’t become sick from eating goat’s feed, although it doesn’t contain all the nutrients chickens need long-term. The same can’t be said for goats eating chicken feed.
Goats can become extremely sick from eating chicken feed. Eating too much grain causes bloat, which can become fatal if not treated in time. Chicken feed doesn’t contain the essential nutrients goats need to stay healthy.
If you plan to keep goats and chickens together, you must ensure goats can’t get a hold of chicken feed. The easiest way to do this is to hang chicken feeders inside the chicken coop where goats wouldn’t be able to reach them.
Chickens and goats can coexist in harmony, but you’ll need to take some safety measures to ensure everyone stays healthy and safe. Diseases like salmonella and cryptosporidiosis, injuries, and food issues are the possible downsides of keeping these two species together.
However, if you provide separate sleeping spaces for goats and chickens, are careful with their food, and are determined to maintain cleanliness, your animals will stay healthy and happy and thrive. If you do everything right, your goats and chickens can even become friends and benefit from living together.