Mixing poultry : Pros/Cons of raising mixed flocks</font color>
I think anytime you can start ANY project with a plan in mind it will work out much better in the end. These beginning blogs are thoughts and ideas that are beginning to formulate as we embark upon our journey of homesteading in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. I ran across a podcast by Mother Earth news where the guest, Cindy of Guinea Fowl International spoke about raising mixed flocks of poultry. I thought I’d brainstorm and create a pro / con list for taking a leap of faith and moving towards our goals of sustainability and self-sufficiency.
Pros for starting off with a plan for a mixed flock:
- If we begin by going into it with a plan for a mixed flock, we can benefit from coops being diverse, and we’d build it with any type of poultry we are raising in mind.
- It could be a one and done poultry plan.
- Don’t have to build different coops/housing for each variety.
- As long as their needs are met, most varieties of poultry get along with each other.
Cons for starting off with a plan for a mixed flock:
- The initial start-up cost would be more because we’d have to build housing, fencing, feeders and runs for each different type of bird we raise.
- We’d need to ensure they all had the food and diet they need to grow and live naturally.
- Differing foods might require extra money. Some species are more dominant and can be bullies to other types of poultry.
- There can be some cross-contamination disease concerns (example: chickens can be carriers of “blackhead” which doesn’t really affect them but to turkeys, it can be deadly).
- Injury to young birds can be a concern as some species can be aggressive towards young birds that aren’t within their own species (example: Rhode Island red chickens can be very aggressive towards young birds that aren’t their own type).
- Some types of poultry need more protein in their food than others, and some, if they get too much protein can experience deformities as they grow (certain species of ducks in particular) .
What would YOU add to a pro/con list of starting to homestead with a plan for a mixed flock? Drop us a comment and let us know your experiences, thoughts, and ideas.
Source: Finding your flock Cindy Gibson, Guinea Fowl International, Podcast Guest Listen to the whole Mother Earth News podcast here
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