So youâ€™re in your favorite feed store, buying your horse a few bags of feed, some treats, a bale ofâ€¦. What is that you hear? The peeping of little chicks?!?!? You follow your ears to the tanks full of fluffy balls of cuteness, all the while listing to yourself the reasons why you canâ€™t have chickens â€“ where would they stay, what would they eat, they couldn’t possibly be good to have around horsesâ€¦could they?
Actually, keeping chickens along with horses is a time honored tradition that certainly can be manageable, and even beneficial for you (and your horse)!
- Chickens are opportunists. When aÂ pellet or kernelÂ falls, theyâ€™ll be there to pick it up. This saves your horse from mouthing around on the ground to find bits of feed (a practice that can lead to ingestion of dirt and sand) and it reduces the amount of feed that is wasted.
- Chickens are good horse trainers. A horse that has had exposure to poultry wonâ€™t â€śhave his feathers ruffledâ€ť by sudden movements, loud noises, or the occasional appearance of an eggâ€¦
- Chickens help prepare your horse for the trail. If you plan to take trail rides where wild turkeys, partridge, chuckar, etc. populate it can be beneficial to have your horse used to the patterns and noises of fowl by keeping a few chickens around. A little exposure to flapping, squawking and scurrying can go a long way to desensitizing your horse to those types of events out on the trail.
- Chickens are natureâ€™s fly traps. You and your horse hate bugs â€“ but chickens love them. Chickens eat flies, worms, grubs, bees; if they can catch it theyâ€™ll nibble on it, which means it wonâ€™t be nibbling on you or your horse.
- Chickens are low maintenance. Provide them with a cozy place to sleep, fresh clean water, free choice oyster shell for strong eggshells and some layer feed and they will be happy and healthy.
- Chickens are pets with benefits.Besides being a colorful and entertaining addition to your stable yard, chickens provide one thing your horse canâ€™t â€“ breakfast! Now if they could only cook it and serve it to you in bedâ€¦