Running laying hens with cows

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tncattle
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Running laying hens with cows

Postby tncattle » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:57 am

Does anyone do this? If so how do you do it? Please be as specific as possible.

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Rafter S
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Re: Running laying hens with cows

Postby Rafter S » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:05 am

We've had chickens off and on, and would always let them out in the afternoons where they could catch bugs, scratch through the cattle manure, etc. What more do you need to know?
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tncattle
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Re: Running laying hens with cows

Postby tncattle » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:53 am

Rafter S wrote:We've had chickens off and on, and would always let them out in the afternoons where they could catch bugs, scratch through the cattle manure, etc. What more do you need to know?

We have 50 acres of river bottom pasture divided into 4 lots. I was thinking of running more electric fencing and dividing into 8 lots and moving cattle more often and letting chickens go behind them? Or should they just be right in there where the cows are at the same time?

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slick4591
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Re: Running laying hens with cows

Postby slick4591 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:14 am

The chickens will do their own thing and not necessarily follow the cows. I take unwanted cockerels out to the farm all the time and they are seldom with the cows.
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Stocker Steve
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Re: Running laying hens with cows

Postby Stocker Steve » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:29 am

tncattle wrote:letting chickens go behind them? Or should they just be right in there where the cows are at the same time?

yes
no
takes time for manure bugs to hatch
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M-5
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Re: Running laying hens with cows

Postby M-5 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:18 am

Feed plenty of corn and chickens will stay pretty close
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farmerjan
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Re: Running laying hens with cows

Postby farmerjan » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:08 am

If you are wanting to run the chickens behind the cattle as "fly control" then you need for the cow to be ahead of the chickens 48 hours or more. Depending on the weather and such. Most that I have heard and done is about 3-4 days behind the cows. Research the life cycle of the flies that are your biggest problem and follow with the chickens accordingly. Once you get the fly population down, then being with them or near them will keep the manure piles spread out and the flies will not have many places to lay the eggs and there will be little larvae hatching for them to eat. If you want them to simply free range and eat the bugs in general, then they can run together. One thing, if the chickens have lice, the cows can get it from them. Lice can be a "multi-species" pest as opposed to some things being species specific. On pasture it isn't much of a problem, but chickens in the same barn can be.

One thing, if you are thinking something like a mobile chicken coop then I would run them in a separate field. One thing that we found is that the cows will be trying to get into the coops for the feed, and they will try to get their heads in the little "trap door" that the chickens come out and can start to tear it up. They will also try to get to where they can reach in and eat the poultry manure if the birds have a roost pole(s) for night time roosting. We used smaller camper trailers and retrofitted them for the chickens as mobile coops for about 100 birds in each. Feed and water in the coops, roosting poles for the night. I let them out free range days, then locked them in at night. The cows would practically stand on their heads thinking there was something in there that they needed to have to eat, trying to reach in the little trap doors. If I opened the big door in the summer, I had 2 2x4 "bars across the doorway so the cows couldn't go in. And yes, had calves that would hop up in there. This is FUN!!!!! But they would reach their heads in there, try to get into the feeders, knock the 5 gal automatic water fountains over, and try to get whatever they thought they ought to have. And I am talking summertime, with pasture up to their knees. PITA nosy cows!!!!

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jkwilson
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Re: Running laying hens with cows

Postby jkwilson » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:47 pm

Unless you have mobile coop like a chicken tractor, you are going to spend a lot of time chasing chickens and the coyotes will be well fed.


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