If you’re considering alpacas as a new addition to your yard, you might be wondering if they are compatible with chickens. Can chickens and alpacas live in the same space together? Should you be worried about anything bad happening?
Can Chickens Live With Alpaca
With proper preparation and integration, both animals can live together. There are a few benefits from them doing so. When paired with chickens, Alpacas have fewer bugs and parasites, and alpacas will view chickens as their herd and protect them from small predators.
How To Keep Chickens And Alpaca
Chickens and alpacas can be peacefully kept together on the same property peacefully. Your yard or pastures will need to be fenced in to keep your livestock in and also keep some predators out. Chickens and alpacas will also need separate sleeping spaces such as their owns coops and sheds.
Chickens and alpacas can share some of the same food sources so you can have a centralized feeding area that your animals should happily share together. Alpacas also eat hay, which chickens should be kept away from as best as possible. Your chickens will poop or nest on the hay which is a health concern and risk for your alpacas.
Chickens should be kept in groups of 3 or more, while alpacas should be kept in 2 or more. They will form a “herd” together and provide each other with mutual benefits.
The Risks Of Keeping Chickens With Alpaca
Although keeping chickens with alpacas is relatively harmless and a healthy matching, a few potential risks need to be considered.
Alpacas are very protective of those they consider their herd. They have very strong guarding instincts and will guard livestock in your yard such as goats, sheep, pigs, and chickens from smaller predators.
They will always remain alert and watchful and scare away predators by stomping around, chasing the predators, making loud noises, and spitting at them.
Alpacas are very fast and can easily outrun most small predators. Sometimes they will stomp them to death if they can reach them before they escape. If your chickens are in the path of the defensive alpaca, they have a chance of being stomped on and sustaining a few injuries. Alpacas might also accidentally step on your chickens’ feet every now and then, causing minor injuries.
Your chickens’ intestines are full of harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli. It shouldn’t cause any sickness to your flock, but chickens are notorious for spreading Salmonella to other livestock or animals you might have on your property.
Chickens create and drop a lot of feces throughout the day and even poop while they sleep, which means Salmonella is everywhere. This is why it is recommended that chickens have separate housing from all other animals.
While it’s okay for chickens to free range with your alpacas, you need to make sure you’re keeping your yard as clean as possible. Chickens also like to nest in or poop on your alpacas’ hay, so make sure it is in a manger with a top over it so your flock can’t get in.
In rare cases, alpacas can contract Salmonella, campylobacter, or E.coli as poultry feces contain strains of them in their feces. If you notice your alpaca with any unusual illnesses or general unwellness, be sure to contact your veterinarian for the best treatment plan.
However, contracting Salmonella can be prevented somewhat by maintaining a clean coop, clean alpaca shed, clean pasture, or clean yard.
The Benefits Of Keeping Chickens With Alpaca
There are many benefits to keeping chickens and alpacas in the same yard. Alpacas are very social herbivores and can even form a bond with your flock. However, you will need to take several steps to design your barn or yard to meet each specific animal’s needs.
Alpacas have very instinctual and powerful guarding instincts and will protect anything they view as their herd. In a farmstead, alpacas usually identify your goats, sheep, and chickens as part of their family and protect them whenever needed.
Alpacas are very fast and can quickly chase down and stomp a predator to death. Small predators will fear the alpacas in your yard and stay away, leaving your chickens and other smaller livestock safer.
Chickens have been known to eat some bugs off of your alpacas and will also eat parasites for them. Chickens scratch at anything, including your alpacas’ feces. When a chicken scratches open the alpaca feces, it allows them to dry out and eliminates the moist environment it takes for more parasites to grow.
Chickens scratching at the feces will also spread it out and make it seep into the ground faster. Alpaca poop is an excellent fertilizer and can help your grass on your pastures grow back quicker so that there is more for the alpacas to eat and graze on.
Chickens and alpacas can also share some of the same foods so it will be easier for you to have a central feeding area without worrying about the consequences of an animal eating something they shouldn’t.
Can Alpacas and Chickens Share A Pasture?
Yes, it’s they can share a pasture. As long as there is enough room for them to roam around and feast, they will be fine. Alpacas do best when they feed on protein-rich hays, while chickens forage for insects, bugs, etc.
Requirements You for Chickens and Alpacas You Should Know Aboout
|Living Space||2-3 square feet per chicken||5-8 alpacas on an acre of land|
|Water||A full-grown chicken will drink about a pint a day||Require at least 5 liters per day|
|Food||A 60-pound bale of hay can feed about 20 alpacas per day||One chicken will eat about 1.5 pounds of feed per week|
|Cleanliness||Besides pooping everywhere, chickens are relatively clean animals||Alpacas are clean animals|
|Temperament||Some breeds will be calmer than others||Laidback|
|Excrement habits||Chickens poop everywhere||Alpacas poop and pee in the same spots|
Chickens can, and will happily, live with alpacas. Alpacas that are paired with chickens usually have fewer bugs and parasites. Alpacas will also form a bond with your chickens and view them as a part of their herd and protect them from smaller predators.
A few risks are associated with keeping these animals together, such as crushed chicken feet, chickens accidentally being stomped on, and chickens spreading Salmonella to your alpacas. You can prevent the spread of salmonellas by keeping your yard, pastures, chicken coop, and alpaca shed as clean as possible.
Chickens and alpacas can free roam together as much as they want, but they will need separate sleeping areas. They can share some foods, so keeping a central food area could be a possibility.