It’s cold, very cold outside, here in Western New York.
We have plenty of snow, which makes it difficult—and sometimes downright dangerous—to visit friends, hang out at the local diner/coffee shop, and keep up with the community gossip…er, news.
Television “marathon” programs are re-runs.
I’m thinking it’s time to shake things up a little with a controversial topic!
From my research, which consists entirely of reading Facebook posts and asking two other people, I’m realizing that there are two distinct camps when it comes to free range chickens and backyard bird feeders.
Are you in Camp #1: feeding backyard birds and encouraging (or at least not discouraging) your flock of chickens to clean up the spills and excess from under the feeder? Or,
Are you in Camp #2: Actively discouraging your flock—setting up barriers, even taking down wild bird feeders?
Since it seems that you will already have a definite opinion on this subject, it’s probably not necessary for me to make the following suggestions, but if for some reason you are still “on the fence”, here are a couple things to think about:
Is the birdseed sold for wild birds harmful for my chickens?
What about Salmonella from wild bird droppings?
You might also read this 2013 article from Community Chickens blogger Wendy Thomas: “Why I Think Chickens and Wild Bird Feeders Don’t Mix”, or follow along this thread, “ What about free ranging under bird feeders?” from www.backyardchickens.com.
These questions and articles may give you a little more “fodder” for your argument—or your decision-making. I think though, even if you don’t feed wild birds, maybe never have, maybe don’t even have a flock of chickens…you will have an opinion.
Just to be clear and so you will know I am not (particularly) biased…my flock of 17 hens is, well, “chicken”. They like to have the coop door open on sunny days, but not one of them will step out into that white stuff. They stand in the doorway and look out, but that’s it. No free-ranging anywhere near a winter wild bird feeder for my girls! And, yes, I do feed wild birds; I have three feeders, and I feed birds year round. Those feeders are inside the huge fenced dog yard, and my chickens, even if they were to wander out that far, have no access to that yard.
I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts and mediating a lively discussion!