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 Alpacas and Chickens
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Kaye

154 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2007 :  5:14:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Who all has chickens with their alpacas? And how do you handle that? I wonder about the chicken poop. Do they graze when alpacas graze? I was thinking that they would be good to follow the alpacas as we rotate fields. Any thoughts and experiences would be appreciated. Thanks! Kaye

Kaye Sanderson
Diamond Rose Ranch
3950 N US Hwy 68
Wilmington, Ohio 45177
(937) 372-3625

richbye

750 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2007 :  7:42:52 PM  Show Profile  Visit richbye's Homepage  Send richbye a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
We used to have about 24 chickens. One by one they started to disappear. I finally caught a fox tearing the head off my last hen. The fox would break their neck, drag them into the farmer's field about 50 yeards away, then rip into them. We have only one lone rooster left. He lives with the alpacas now.....feels it's safer than the coop. Yes, he poops here, there and everywhere (including the feed troughs). Pain in the butt, doesn't do much in the insect control department, and crows all day, and even during the night if there's a full moon that he can see or if we leave the barn lights on. He's way too big (and old) to eat now.
So, they're messy, go wherever they want, and are good pickin's for predators. No more chickens for us. Ducks on the other hand......

Jeanne

Gemstone Alpacas, Inc.
11300 Savage Rd.
Chaffee, NY 14030
(716) 868-0883
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janechristie

1475 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2007 :  07:45:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit janechristie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Kaye,

We have a slightly different chicken experience to Jeanne! The only times we have had a fox problem in 7 years was when we had a loose outside gate, and on another occasion we had a break in the fence. This allowed a fox inside our fencing at night, which is a disaster for chickens.

Hawks can be a problem, but they rarely bother the chickens when they are around the feet of our alpacas, as the hawks want to eat their meal in peace. Unless the bird is small enough for them to carry over the fence, they generally leave them alone, although the hawks are more bold in the Spring when they have chicks to feed. Now our LGD has matured, she protects all the poultry within our fences, even from hawks. So your chicken experience may depend upon your fencing (we have 5 foot no climb down to the floor, even on our gates), and the predators in your area.

As long as your chickens have a safe place to roost at night, and are trained to go there, (which is easy enough to do), they should not move into your barn and become a nuisance, but if they don't feel safe at night, they will gravitate toward the security of the alpacas.

And yes, roosters crow whenever it is light, and we don't mind that at all. Heard of an old guy going to a farm to select a pet rooster. He sat there all day watching the birds, and the farmer couldn't understand what was taking him so long. Finally, one rooster crowed, and the old man immediately said that this was the bird he wanted. When the farmer asked why, the old man replied that it crowed just like the rooster he had as a boy! If you love chickens, you learn to love the crowing of the roosters. And if not, just keep hens, or ducks!

Jane.

P.S. Jeanne - what type of ducks do you have? We have Muscovies, and love their personality, but would take the chickens over the ducks in the mess department!

www.thistledownalpacas.com
Ph: (804)-784-4837 Fax: (804)-784-4839

Edited by - janechristie on 05/31/2007 07:48:47 AM
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tj838

42 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2007 :  10:17:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We have our chickens with the alpacas. We have 40-50 fancy banties. My kids love them and show them at the fair. Initially we kept them penned up but when we moved them to their outside summer cages several little escape artists emerged. Every evening during feeding we would try to round them up only to look out the next morning and see the same ones out. We fnally gave up. We clean up the poop around the alpaca feeders and keep the feed where the alpacas can't get it. We don't buy medicated chicken feed either. The alpacas don't mind the chickens who will wander all around as the alpacas graze. So far no problems-every seems happy and healthy!!

Tammy Johnson
Muddy Feet Farm Alpacas
11590 Easton Rd
Rittman, OH 44270
luvnmyhalfdzn@hotmail.com

330-466-6102
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JRBABY

59 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2007 :  11:34:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit JRBABY's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Kaye,
I have about 15-20 chickens and 10 guineas that all live
in the same coop. I built the chicken coop far away from the alpacas, but during the day they are free range. The alpacas enjoy
watching the birds, and one of the girls likes to chase them around.
I don't have a problem with the chicken poop because they don't roost
with the alpacas. Where ever the birds will roost at night is where
you will have a lot of poop !! I hope this helps some.


JILL LEWIS
SMILING EYES RANCH
GREAT FALLS , MT
(406)453-0692
http://WWW.SMILINGEYESRANCH.COM
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bobvicki

2950 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2007 :  01:28:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We have both 20 chickens and 4 ducks and they have a roost in the barn with the dirt floor. Sometimes one will have to be broken from roosting on the fence panels but we keep their regular roost next to the laying boxes.

They free roam and always come back in at night, the ducks may sleep sometimes in the pens or pastures next to the barn. They all walk in and around the alpacas and neither group seem to have any problems with the others. I have had a duck pull loose hay together and build a nest for eggs right next to where a certain alpaca always cushes.

I did have some chicken and eggs disappearing last year but caught the culprit, a possum, and no more disappearing chickens.

They provide entertainment, fresh eggs, help with fly and bug control and for the little mess they make as far as we are concerned they are not a problem at all.

We do have one rooster, he killed off the other roosters but is not mean or nasty toward people or alpacas and is gorgeous. We try to have a variety of types and enjoy all of them.

Another thing is that lately a lot of people my wife works with have been complaining about the amounts of ticks they have been finding this year, we haven't found any yet.

Bob

Bob & Vicki Blodgett
Suri Land Alpaca Ranch
3288 Halter Avenue
Newton, Iowa 50208
641-831-3576
alpaca@iowatelecom.net
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Alpacalady

685 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2007 :  08:40:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit Alpacalady's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We have a few chickens in with the female alpacas, the chickens have their own house where they go at night and also lay their eggs. The alpacas seem to enjoy the company of the chickens and the crias love to chase them. Also we do not seem to have nearly as many bugs around as some farms, so they are doing their 'job' as well.

We also have some Guinea Hens, now down to only 2 as the fox likes them for lunch! I will get more Guineas as thay are excellent tick control.

Might get a few ducks as well, a friend has Muscovies and swears by them to get rid of slugs.

Laila

Graceland Alpaca Farm
Lisbon Falls, Maine
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SuriPark

22 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2007 :  8:48:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just picked up my chicks from the post office this morning.They came from Murray McMurray Hatchery. We got 5 Buff Orpingtons, 5 Barred Rocks, 5 Austrolorps, 5 Light Brahmas, 5 Dark Brahmas, and 1 surprise chick was included. I thingk the surprise chick is a Buff Cochin. They are so fun to watch. We have had chickens on our farm for a year now. We had a alot of slugs around and since we have the chickens we rarely see slugs anymore.They gobble all the creepy crawly things they can find. We like our chickens around the farm.

Kelly Delwiche
Suri Park Alpacas
Denmark,WI
920-863-3188
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pinkertondan

623 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2007 :  10:32:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit pinkertondan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We do too. They sure do make noise, but it makes it feel like the 'old barnyard times'
Sarah

The Pinkerton Tribe
Rockford Bay Ranch
14701 S. Heritage Dr.
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
www.rockfordbayalpacas.com
www.alpacanation.com/rockfordbay.asp
info@rockfordbayalpacas.com
(208)769-9999
Email me! I would love
to hear from you!
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Kaye

154 Posts

Posted - 06/08/2007 :  10:43:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you everyone! I love to find out how everyone else does things. I plan on having the chickens in a chicken coop so that's where they'll be at night. Sounds like alpacas and chickens are a good partnership. And I like the presence of the chickens. My Dad had one hen who thought she was a dog. She'd chase a fisbee or ball, racing the dog to get there first! My dad would pour a bit of his beer in a bottle cap, and the hen would rush over to drink it. She'd stand at his door and look inside when Dad would be in his kitchen listening to music - and the hen would rock back and forth as if she were dancing! You look back over those memories, and you say to yourself "those were the good days!" Kaye

Kaye Sanderson
Diamond Rose Ranch
3950 N US Hwy 68
Wilmington, Ohio 45177
(937) 372-3625
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janechristie

1475 Posts

Posted - 06/08/2007 :  1:07:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit janechristie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Kaye,

That is funny! Our family pets growing up were chickens. We had a rooster named Arthur, who used to wait for us to come home from school every day, then fly up onto the windowsill to watch children's TV hour with us. My dad always said Arthur was going in the pot, but whenever he was out gardening, that rooster was right there with him, and when he thought we weren't looking, he would feed Arthur bugs and worms! Suffice to say, Arthur never went in the pot and I used to carry him around under my arm, just as my daughter would do with her Golden Campine rooster, G.C.

Now we have Wilma the Welsummer, who runs up and greets us every day like a pet dog, follows me around the garden and lays her beautiful dark brown eggs in our alpaca hay feeder. We have chicken eggs of every color and size and collecting them is like finding treasure.

Enjoy your birds!

Jane.


www.thistledownalpacas.com
Ph: (804)-784-4837 Fax: (804)-784-4839
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menagerie

163 Posts

Posted - 06/08/2007 :  3:06:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Chickens work very well with the alpacas. We have 25 and they do a great biosecurity job for us. They not only eat the bugs and eggs in poop piles but will scratch the poop piles which allows the sun to dry everything up. We do have a hen house and an area fenced in but our chickens are free range. They can fly over the gate. They go back in at night. Once your peeps are big enough to put in your hen house area, put them down there and allow them to stay in that area. Once they learn to fly out, that's fine, if you have the space to let them roam. They will go back in at night. Some may find that they prefer the alpaca barns. By confining them to the hen house area when small, it teaches them where to go to roost at night. We've had chickens for 8 years and they really do help with parasite control. Not to mention, our egg supply. I've not had to buy eggs at the store in 8 years. Good luck with your new additions.

Naomi Fenstermacher
Menagerie Farm Alpacas
2564 Cambridge Road
Honey Brook, PA 19344
(610)273-0220
www.alpacanation.com/menageriefarm.asp
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Rileysmama

11 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2007 :  01:57:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit Rileysmama's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Im so happy to see this thread.. its just what Im wondering about. We just bought our first home on 5 acres. We have about 3 acres of field, not fenced yet. I really want to get chickens or guineas. I dont know what breed to get or really much about the care of them. Basically I want them for entertainment, spider control and eggs. Not for meat. I was thinking of getting them when I fence in my pasture. We dont have any alpacas yet and probably wont for a year or two or three.

Any thoughts on what breed of chickens?
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janechristie

1475 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2007 :  07:22:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit janechristie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Jess,

We like to keep medium-heavy weight threatened or endangered breeds of chicken - they tend to be good hustlers, are often very beautiful and are harder for the hawks to carry off over the fences than the light breeds. Some of the more popular commercial heavy breeds are not as cost-effective to keep as the older "backyard" breeds. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has a list of rare and endangered breeds at www.albc-usa.org/cpl/wtchlist.html#chickens

The chickens we most enjoy are:
Welsummers - which lay a large, dark brown egg March - November,
Speckled Sussex - they lay a medium/large light brown egg year round and are easy to confine as the adults are really too heavy to fly - more like falling with(out) style!
Dominiques - lay a medium size brown egg year round

These breeds are all friendly, fun to raise, and good hustlers.

We also have Anconas, Campines, Buff Minorcas, Blue Wheaten Ameraucanas and Buttercups. They lay white eggs (Ameraucanas blue) and the white egg layers are generally not as people-friendly as the brown egg layers. However, the Minorcas and Anconas lay a really large white egg, and are a small, independent bird that avoids predation well, so they are an attractive and practical addition. For beauty and diversity of color, the Buttercups must be the best, as both the hens and roosters are beautiful. They lay a small white egg quite frequently, and are almost an ornamental fowl they look so pretty. They can become friendly too - our rooster, Boris the Buttercup, hangs out up by the house and comes into the rabbit room to clean up any food spilled on the floor. All of these breeds are on the conservation list.

And finally, we keep Delawares (white bird, big brown eggs year round), Buff Rocks (golden bird, big brown eggs year round), and have added Blue Laced Wyandottes and Barnevelders this year, which are both really attractive and unusual breeds of chicken and seem to be working out well.

Yes, it is a little like something out of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" around here at feeding time, but we love our chickens!

Jane.

www.thistledownalpacas.com
Ph: (804)-784-4837 Fax: (804)-784-4839

Edited by - janechristie on 07/05/2007 07:52:58 AM
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menagerie

163 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2007 :  10:57:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We have Rhode Island Red Bantams, Araconas (dubbed the Easter Egg Chickens as they lay pastel colored eggs), Polish White Bantams and will be getting Cochins. Got rid of the last three guineas as they just were a pain. Besides being terribly noisy, they got into the hen house and started to go after the little chicken hens.

Naomi Fenstermacher
Menagerie Farm Alpacas
2564 Cambridge Road
Honey Brook, PA 19344
(610)273-0220
www.alpacanation.com/menageriefarm.asp
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gatewayfarm

1420 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2007 :  2:04:16 PM  Show Profile  Visit gatewayfarm's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rileysmama
Any thoughts on what breed of chickens?



We have somewhere around 30 Light Brahma hens, and 3 cocks. Good, easy care breed. Good foragers

Cold hardy.

Friendly, though a little stand-offish. Have never been chased by a rooster yet.

Good layers, even in the winter. They do slow down a bit, but we usually have eggs when the neighbors are in the middle of a winter lay-off.

They do go broody and are good setters.

Cocks can push 13 lbs and make very good roasters.

JM

Gateway Farm Alpacas
Shop Americas Alpaca
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Nobellafarm

101 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2007 :  08:49:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit Nobellafarm's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We like Bantam Cochins. They have been easy to handle and hardy. I like them because I find their feathered feet and legs appealing. We started with one male and two hens and now have two more chicks. We have 5 altogether. Their mess is minimal and they take up very little space. They do free range during the day, but stay next to or in only one alpaca paddock, which is the male's paddock. They co-exist nicely.



Patty Mattingly
Nobella Alpacas
Leonardtown, MD
www.nobellaalpacas.com
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Nobellafarm

101 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2007 :  09:34:11 AM  Show Profile  Visit Nobellafarm's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We like Bantam Cochins. They have been easy to handle and hardy. I like them because I find their feathered feet and legs appealing. We started with one male and two hens and now have two more chicks. We have 5 altogether. Their mess is minimal and they take up very little space. They do free range during the day, but stay next to or in only one alpaca paddock, which is the male's paddock. They co-exist nicely.



Patty Mattingly
Nobella Alpacas
Leonardtown, MD
www.nobellaalpacas.com
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janechristie

1475 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2007 :  9:56:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit janechristie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi John,

Have been chased by a Campine rooster - they can be mean sometimes, even though they are small, but quite fearless in protecting their hens. We named him Fry. Also had an Ancona rooster go "bad" that we named Alfredo. I'll leave their fate to your imagination - no place for a mean rooster on a farm!

Jane.


www.thistledownalpacas.com
Ph: (804)-784-4837 Fax: (804)-784-4839
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The Paca Factory

592 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2007 :  07:05:13 AM  Show Profile  Visit The Paca Factory's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We have had chickens run with our alpacas and can't say it's a bad idea. Our only problem we have a couple of very hungry racoons around here and seem to be feeding them too well. That seems to be the only problem we are running into. We are starting all over this year with our chickens again. Each year we seem to do something different and hope it is better security. The only problem that I have with chicks is that they tear up your flowers and veggies. (little devils) Unless you can keep them in the pasture or paddocks you can kiss your young plants good bye. I really enjoy watching them waddle about too. They can be great fun. However I don't like having a rooster around. We have not ran into a breed of rooster yet that won't separate and peck the dickens out of a gals. I really HATE that. Oh don't get them started in making their home in the paca barn either. They poop all over the barn. Unless you get it when it is fresh it is next to imposible to wash off. That looks like the devil too. Well, good luck and have fun. If anyone has some good ideas on how to keep the hens out of trouble let us all know. Short of confining them that is. I've got that one figured out. When you confine them they then become raccoon food. Linda

David & Linda Bradley
The Paca Factory
Durand, Mi.
989-288-3315
thepacafactory@aol.com
www.alpacanation.com/thepacafactory.asp

Edited by - The Paca Factory on 07/07/2007 11:52:09 PM
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janechristie

1475 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2007 :  1:25:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit janechristie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Our Great Pyrenees protects our poultry from both land-based predators and hawks. It also helps to put the chickens up in a shed at night, which is easy to do if you train them to roost in a shed from the time they arrive - all you have to do then is shut the door once they have put themselves away! Some of our less people-friendly light/medium chicken breeds will also fly up into the trees at night to roost, which keeps them pretty safe from most predators.

Yes, chickens can be a pain with small plants, fruits and vegetables, but they are wonderful for eating the bugs. We have been putting out Japanese Beetle traps and filling 2 bags a day. If you dunk the bags in a bucket of water for a little while, with a squirt of dishwasher detergent, you have a veritable feast of yummy chickie snacks. Our birds wait for us to dump them on the compost heap and then have a feeding frenzy. Now they have learned that they taste good, they go looking for them in the plants too!

Re the roosters ragging the hens, in our experience, it comes down to a numbers game. If you have too many roosters, you have hens with bare backs. There are four boys on our "hit list" right now for exactly that reason, so if anyone wants a free rooster, give us a shout! If the ratio of roosters to hens is kept in balance, the hens don't get bullied - that tends to happen when you have too many roosters all trying to demonstrate their dominance by breeding the hens, and the girls suffer from the unwanted attention.

We like to keep one rooster per group of hens, and some roosters will tolerate a "second" male to help them protect the group. And the roosters really do protect the hens - watched our Campine risk his life to bring a female across open ground when the hawk was circling above, and everyone else had made it back to the safety of the shed except her. Also saw that same little rooster go after two of our adult male alpacas when they were fighting, because he felt they were threatening his hens.

Jane.

www.thistledownalpacas.com
Ph: (804)-784-4837 Fax: (804)-784-4839

Edited by - janechristie on 07/07/2007 1:27:50 PM
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