If you are reading this blog it's because you are like us...You LOVE chickens! We do too! But there are some other awesome poultry pals you can keep which we find almost as enthralling. The best thing about a mixed flock is that they usually don't compete for the exact same food resources, so you can keep more birds with a little variety.
Ducks - YES!
Ducks are AWESOME! They are hilarious to watch and many have very distinct personalities. While not incredibly intelligent, they aren't mean spirited either. They tolerate most climates pretty well, aside from the desert southwest. They like rain and humidity and they love to have a good romp in the snow.
If you've got touchy neighbors, ducks usually make much less commotion early in the morning and all night long than some other fowl friends we'll cover.
Ducks are more expensive than chickens to maintain. They'll cost almost twice as much to feed, and they require adequate water. Ducks need to be able to swim and bathe all the time. In a backyard setting you can just keep a kiddie pool or two filled with fresh water daily for them. They do lay a considerable number of eggs though, so they really do try to earn their keep.
Turkeys - YES!
If you are meat farming, you need a turkey or two. They are relatively efficient for their size because they forage a lot. Turkeys come in many varieties, and some of them are known to be quite intelligent and personable. It is this author's experience that turkeys raised singly by a family can be quite a loving pet, while those raised unhandled in large groups tend to get rude and aggressive, especially towards little children.
They are suitable for most climates, and tolerate just about any kind of weather. So if you're into raising poultry, not little people, give them a try!
Peafowl (peacocks) - Maybe?
Peacocks are amazing if you have the space. A lot of space. Did we mention they need space? The males especially need at least 100 square feet per bird to really stretch out during mating season. If you're farming for sustenance you'll be spending good money after bad with peacocks. As one old farmer once told this author "They're more of a lookin' bird than an eatin' bird."
Pheasants - If you've got what it takes.
Pheasants are gorgeous. They're also solid layers during spring and summer, laying as many as 10 eggs per day! But they come with some real challenges too, like the fact that your chickens may not like the pheasant addition. It's true. Pheasants are very aggressive and competitive, and may attack smaller birds, if they feel they are a threat. However, offering alot of space to prevent overcrowding, and raising pheasant and chicken chicks together from the beginning, with caution, might ease initial threat perceptions.
Though not native species to many areas, pheasants can handle most US climates other than the driest deserts. But they need a lot of space or they will start pecking at others.
They also spook much easier than other birds. So if you live in a noisy neighborhood or have big barking dogs, you might find that pheasants stress out too easily.
Here at Popworms, we love all kinds of poultry just as much as our customers do. Take a look at our website for more great poultry resources, and enjoy your flock! Use coupon code LIVE to receive 30% off Popworms! Live. Offer good through October 31, 2019.