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Geese or ducks for this situation? Electronet?

 
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Helloooo! I have sheep and I'm wondering again about getting a couple birds to rotate going along with my sheep. I have wool sheep so I'm a bit averse to chickens because I don't want them roosting and pooping on the sheep. And I know I won't keep up with wing clipping so I'm thinking maybe a couple geese or ducks. Like Runners or Pekins that won't really fly. I don't think domestic geese really fly because they are heavy? Please correct me if I'm wrong on that.
Ok questions and what I'm working with...
*I have sheep. Ideally I'd like to have a chickshaw style mobile coop and be able to move the birds along with the sheep. My paddocks are permanent fenced with the regular big square fence. Some is 4inch top to bottom and some is smaller at the bottom. Would geese/ducks stay in that fairly well?
*This is the electronet I'm possibly investing in soon for the sheep. Would this netting also keep in geese/ducks?
*I'm thinking the birds will want to investigate the sheds or barn that are the sheep shelters. Is that likely to become an issue that they want to hang out in the buildings rather then a mobile coop?
*I'm really loving the chickshaw design but I'm pretty hesitant about wintering birds in one here in Ohio. I feel like it would not be enough protection. We don't often get real deep snow but if we have that kind of winter then it could get snowed in entirely. I'd love to know if people that use them in northern and harsh winter climates have issues with the birds in mobile coops. I just now thought about putting a couple square bales around the base of it, but it would be annoying to have to move them when I move the coop. It's all hillside here.
*We have A CRAP TON of raccoons in this area. We have caught 15 and disposed of them in a single week. I'm actually considering taking up a trapping line. I was hoping to not *have* to invest in bird electronet and separate charger and all. I have had raccoons eat entire rabbits in grow out cages leaving *no sign* except one pelvis and one leg bone from 3 grown out meat rabbits!
*My goal for the birds is a little different grazing pressure than the sheep. The area's I'm utilizing are being basically reclaimed from overgrown brush. Areas that were cow pasture 40 years ago or goat pasture 10 years ago. Currently fighting an onslaught of ironweed, goldenrod, giant ragweed, multifora rose, horse nettle, stinging nettle, and a short list of yet unidentified plants that the sheep do not eat at all. Thinking a few birds might zero in on these undesirable plants as little seedlings and nip them out.
The sheep can be annoying at tramping down a lot of nice grass, which they then won't eat and shouldn't because of worms. But it's still lots of good grass that isn't really stomped enough to be useful for the soil. Combined with the bigger fence I was thinking a couple geese.
*I could pretty easily pick up a few cull birds at the local auction to test out how they would fit into my system I'm building. However I'm hesitant to buy a bad tempered attack bird or birds that are grown and won't want to be trained to a mobile coop. And since I haven't built it yet I have so far not gone ahead with much more research.

I think that covers all my thoughts right now. Let me know if any other info would be useful. Open to suggestions of other birds or animals that might fit my needs better! Thanks!
 
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kadence blevins wrote:Helloooo! I have sheep and I'm wondering again about getting a couple birds to rotate going along with my sheep. I have wool sheep so I'm a bit averse to chickens because I don't want them roosting and pooping on the sheep. And I know I won't keep up with wing clipping so I'm thinking maybe a couple geese or ducks. Like Runners or Pekins that won't really fly. I don't think domestic geese really fly because they are heavy? Please correct me if I'm wrong on that.


As long as you get something medium-weight or higher, they shouldn't be able to fly higher than 3 feet (when freaked out about something), and that's only when they're young or undernourished. So, runners, anconas, white layers, golden 300, khaki campbel, pekin, etc won't go flying. Muscovies supposedly fly. I've never kept muscovies.


*I have sheep. Ideally I'd like to have a chickshaw style mobile coop and be able to move the birds along with the sheep. My paddocks are permanent fenced with the regular big square fence. Some is 4inch top to bottom and some is smaller at the bottom. Would geese/ducks stay in that fairly well?



Are the squares 4x4 inch, or 4x2? I know mine stay in the 4x2.  I'm thinking 4x4 would probably small enough to keep them in as long as it's ridged. As long as you don't have ducklings, they should stay in that well. If there's a hole in the fencing somewhere, they'll probably find it if given enough time. But, as long as the fencing is broken/has a hole, they'll stay in it.

*This is the electronet I'm possibly investing in soon for the sheep. Would this netting also keep in geese/ducks?



I honestly don't know. I've never heard of someone using electonet on fencing for ducks--I don't know if the voltage would be too high for them, if it's high enough to detur sheep.  If it's turned off, I'm pretty sure they could easily squeeze through it.

*I'm thinking the birds will want to investigate the sheds or barn that are the sheep shelters. Is that likely to become an issue that they want to hang out in the buildings rather then a mobile coop?



Mine don't usually like being in a structure unless (1) it's night, or (2) they're freaked out about something  attacking them. I've never seen them go inside my barn or sheds. They will huddle under cars sometimes. They also love to hang out on patios and poop on them...

*I'm really loving the chickshaw design but I'm pretty hesitant about wintering birds in one here in Ohio. I feel like it would not be enough protection. We don't often get real deep snow but if we have that kind of winter then it could get snowed in entirely. I'd love to know if people that use them in northern and harsh winter climates have issues with the birds in mobile coops. I just now thought about putting a couple square bales around the base of it, but it would be annoying to have to move them when I move the coop. It's all hillside here.



If it's snowy, you probably won't be moving them around, anyway. Mine sometimes try to forage when it snows, but this last year we had snow on the ground for a month, and it didn't melt for that whole month, and they just came out of their coop and hung out in one area or in their coop. They were not interested in going anywhere.

I would definitely put a floor inside the chickshaw for ducks during the winter. If I remember, the chickshaw has no floor, so they chickens just poop straight to the ground below them. That metal will get COLD in the winter. I'd put a floor in it with bedding to help insulate. Mine have stayed warm with freezing temps, but they've always had deep litter.


*We have A CRAP TON of raccoons in this area. We have caught 15 and disposed of them in a single week. I'm actually considering taking up a trapping line. I was hoping to not *have* to invest in bird electronet and separate charger and all. I have had raccoons eat entire rabbits in grow out cages leaving *no sign* except one pelvis and one leg bone from 3 grown out meat rabbits!



Definitely get a floor on that chickshaw or whatever housing you get them. Make sure there's no gaps--use hardware cloth! Ducks are like bunnies--they really have no defenses.

Do raccoons come during the day? I don't have them around here--or if I do, they've never gotten one of my ducks because I always put them away at night. Now bobcats and eagles, well that's a different story!

*My goal for the birds is a little different grazing pressure than the sheep. The area's I'm utilizing are being basically reclaimed from overgrown brush. Areas that were cow pasture 40 years ago or goat pasture 10 years ago. Currently fighting an onslaught of ironweed, goldenrod, giant ragweed, multifora rose, horse nettle, stinging nettle, and a short list of yet unidentified plants that the sheep do not eat at all. Thinking a few birds might zero in on these undesirable plants as little seedlings and nip them out.



I'm not thinking ducks will do that for you. They eat slugs and bugs and nip young growth. They can't rip or shred like chickens (maybe muscovies can?), and so don't really damage plants. They don't touch my salmonberry or blackberries or any of the thicker weeds. They don't bother with any brassicas like wild mustard, as it's too stiff. They eat some seed pods.  

Granted, I've never kept mine in super confined quarters, so they've always had the opportunity to eat other stuff. But, even when they were accidentally underfed, they still didn't destroy plants around them that much. And, when given food scraps, they don't turn them into compost like chickens do unless you chop everything tougher than lettuce into bite-sized pieces.

The sheep can be annoying at tramping down a lot of nice grass, which they then won't eat and shouldn't because of worms. But it's still lots of good grass that isn't really stomped enough to be useful for the soil. Combined with the bigger fence I was thinking a couple geese.



I just got my first pair of geese a few days ago, so I can't really speak to their eating habits. I have been told that they mostly like tender grasses, and so far that's what I've been seeing them eat.
 
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It sounds like geese might be best for you.  I would throw a few chickens out there, too, just because (they are good bug-eaters); use one of the big heavy breeds and they shouldn't fly out.  But if you have 4" X 4" holes in the fence, I don't think that will hold ducks.  And if you have that much trouble with raccoons, I STRONGLY suggest getting a livestock guardian dog as quickly as possible!  No matter how many 'coons you kill, you are running a movable buffet for them, and new ones will come in to fill the vacuum!  

Geese generally don't want anything to do with houses, but with predator problems it would be a good idea to train them to come in at night (feed them at night where you want to keep them).  They are pretty much strictly grass-eaters, so if you are after something to eat weeds or brush, you may need to also add a couple of goats into the mix (recommend meat goats).
 
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Nicloe wrote: Muscovies supposedly fly. I've never kept muscovies.  



We used to have a wild flock that wandered our neighborhood. Usually they walked everywhere. But they could fly up to 8 feet off the ground. Clumsy looking, but successful.
 
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