What Other Animals Can Chickens be Kept With
Chickens are gaining popularity as pets mostly due to the fact they lay eggs, but people often wonder if they can keep their chickens together safely with other pets.
- Chickens with Dogs
- Chickens with Cats
- Chickens with Rabbits
- Chickens with Ferrets
- Chickens with Ducks or Geese
- Chickens and Other Livestock
Chickens with Dogs
Certain dog breeds have strong prey drives and will attack, even kill, chickens. This is certainly a concern not just for the chickens, but if a dog starts killing one type of animal, it may kill others, making it a liability. The dog breeds to be concerned with the most are the Terriers, Huskies, and Hounds, but a dog such as a Border Collie may want to herd the chickens all day. Keeping dogs and chickens has the advantage that a good dog will protect the chickens against predators, while the chickens will eat fleas, ticks, and other pesky insects that bother dogs.
Chickens with Cats
Chicks would certainly stir a cats natural desire to chase prey, but large hens, and roosters, generally are ignored by most cats. In fact a rooster might even chase a curious cat. I myself have kept free range hens for a few years and my cats have never bothered them. Use caution with young birds, and bantams. Cats and chickens together have the advantage in the cat will catch the mice who may eat the chickens food, and the chickens will eat fleas, ticks, and so forth that bother cats.
Chickens with Rabbits
Some people keep rabbits and chickens together, I have not. The main problems are around feeding and sleeping. Typically chickens roost at night, and as such they poop a lot and it falls straight down, which would not be good if the rabbit happened to be underneath at the time. It is good to make sure the rabbit cannot go under the chickens roost, and has its own place for sleeping, such as a box made up as a den. The chickens feed should be raised off the ground, and the rabbit should have its own food. Neither will be harmed if they eat the others food, but its still not the idea. If the chickens are allowed to free range in the day the rabbit should be put in a hutch because (unless the area is fenced) it might wander off. Chickens are great to keep with rabbits because the chickens eat the flies that cause deadly fly strike (see link below).
Chickens with Ferrets
This is not a good idea. Ferrets are naturally predatory and may kill young chickens, or even full grown ones. The same would apply for Skunks, Raccoons, and so forth, being kept with chickens.
Chickens with Ducks or Geese
There are a few concerns with keeping chickens and ducks or geese together so I do not suggest this. First of all ducks and geese need a place to swim, but chickens cannot swim and will simply drown. More concerning is the fact that chickens and ducks have different feeding needs and some chicken feed contains penicillin, which is deadly to ducks.
Chickens and Other Livestock
One concern here is that if the chickens do not have their own coop for the night that they will roost on the hay for the other animals, thus filling it with their waste. Of greater worry is that if the other animals are not kept out of the chicken coop they will eat the chicken feed and could get very ill (bloat, founder, colic, or even death). I myself keep my hens in a chicken coop at night and allow them to free range with the sheep, a llama, and donkey. Of interest is that the chickens eat the bugs, ticks and so forth, that may plague the other animals.