Often, you see farmers combine goats and chickens in the same living space, but why do they do this? Are goats beneficial to chickens, or are they just good for socialization and friendship? Do goats protect chickens?
Goats don’t always protect chickens as some people may seem to believe. They actually have some of the same predators going after them, but having them around can be beneficial by other means.
These benefits can be for both goats and chickens. Continue reading to figure out why they can be beneficial and how you should introduce your goats to your chickens for the smoothest transition.
Will Goats Protect Chickens?
Goats will not go out of their way to protect chickens, and it is known amongst those who raise goats that the predators after chickens will also go after goats. Goats aren’t that protective regarding chickens; their children maybe but not chickens.
Now, this doesn’t mean every goat is meek and will run if a predator is nearby. In some cases, the goat will fend off a stray dog or other smaller predators, keeping your chickens safe, but don’t count on it. It is best to assume the goat will not protect your chickens.
Goats are happier when they have things to play with. Look through these Goat Toys on Amazon for inventive feeders and large balls or toys for your goats.
Even though goats may not protect your chickens, they can benefit your flock. Here are a few benefits of having them around:
- They deter some predators.
- They bring flies, which means more food for the chickens.
- Goat milk is great for chickens.
Goats may not actively protect your chickens, but they can deter some of the smaller predators like hawks and falcons. They may even scare off some snakes and other predators like small wild cats. You don’t have to worry about them with the goats around.
Goats also bring flies around, so chickens will have more to munch on. Goats can be messy, and this helps you reduce that mess. If anything, it benefits you so you don’t have to chase the flies away.
The milk that comes from goats is a great and healthy source of nutrition for your chickens. You can feed them the extra milk, preferably fermented, because it has more nutritional value. It helps you reduce buying commercial layer ration for your chickens.
Here’s a cool video showing how goats can be safely kept with chickens:
There are some downfalls to having goats share a living space with your chickens. For new farmers, it may be easier to keep them separate until you have gained some experience. Here are a few reasons for this:
- Goats are messy.
- Young goats like to misbehave.
- A head-butt can be lethal.
- Chickens don’t care where they poop.
- Goats can break eggs.
Again, goats can be messy. Yes, chickens can keep the flies away, but it doesn’t take care of the other messes like poop. You will need to clean up those areas.
Young goats can misbehave. They are a mischievous bunch. They will play with the chickens and chase them, causing them more stress. This can be more stressful than beneficial for your flock.
- Goats tend to head-butt when they get annoyed or just want to be left alone.
- Sometimes they do it because that is their personality.
- It doesn’t matter why they do it, but if they do it to your chicken, it can and most likely will be lethal.
- Chickens can’t withstand that type of impact.
Goats are messy but so are chickens. They will poop anywhere and everywhere, and this includes on your goats. You read that correctly. They will hitch a ride on the back of your goat and will just poop on them. They don’t care.
Goats also may end up breaking the chickens’ eggs. Try to keep goats from getting into their coop. They are curious and sometimes find their way in there. This will prevent mishaps and keep your eggs safe for consumption, and it is always good to have their own sleeping spaces.
Many beginners and other owners have successfully cared for goats and chickens. It is not something that can’t be done. They can live without incidents.
But here are some tips to consider, especially if you are new to these types of animals:
- Give them different indoor places to reside.
- Keep young goats away from chickens.
- Don’t force it.
- Allow them to warm up to each other.
- Beginners may want to keep them separate at first.
Ensure that you provide two different places where they can sleep at night. Chickens and goats will not mix well if you put them in the same inside living space. Goats could hurt chickens or break eggs, and chickens may not like the intrusion into the coop.
Most of the time, goats will just ignore the chickens. Don’t be afraid to test the waters out a few times before throwing them all together in the same field. You may be surprised at how easy it is to integrate the two.
What Animals Can Protect Chickens?
Goats are not considered guardian animals for chickens. If anything, goats need a guardian animal as well as chickens.
If you were looking specifically for a guardian animal for your chickens, here are a few more options:
Any of these animals can be added to your livestock and protect your chickens and goats. You can enjoy having both goats and chickens while not worrying about predators coming after them.
Be aware that you should check the breed of the dog before picking one out as your guardian animal. Some breeds are more inept to hunt your chickens rather than protect them. It is best to buy a dog that is considered a herding dog.
Goats may not protect chickens but can help with your chickens’ ecosystem and allow you to get fresh goat milk! Just take the right precautions to minimize any incidents between the two and figure out what is best for your livestock. You got this!