Neighboring Chickens

(Southern Michigan)


Neighboring Chickens: We are putting a chicken coop up but our neighbor next door tells us that if we put a coop up neither his or our chickens will lay and his chickens will dominate because they were there first.

The shed will be to the back of his coop and run. We live in the country and though they are within seeing and hearing distance of each other wouldn't be sharing any run or fence line.
Friendly Neighbors

Two of my close neighbors have chickens, some penned, some free range. Each flock is independent and I see no reason that neighboring chickens would have any influence on laying.

One neighbor, with free rangers, is just across the road. Neither mine nor their hens and roosters ever cross the road. They have no interest.

I can’t think of any experiences or stories anything like what your next door neighbor has described.

My next door neighbor has had some free ranging game roosters that had no hens, so they came to see about taking over my free ranging flock.

Between me and my rooster this didn’t happen. He wrestled one and discouraged the take over. Another moved in peacefully and spent the winter with my flock.

When spring came the visitor decided to take my flock by force. I caught him and caged him, another visitor came, then another. I caught all the stray roosters for my neighbor, who was planning to put them in the freezer anyway.

My flock free ranges and visits my neighbors yard often. Their penned chickens laid all winter and mine sporadically until a month ago with more spring like weather.

I know several people with multiple penned flocks on one property, with new roosters and hens coming in now and then. They’ve had no such problems. I doubt chickens understand or care about property lines, but are certainly aware of nearby flocks.

It’s good that the pens wouldn’t share a fence line for the sake of disease and parasites. I believe you are perfectly safe and not in any way harming your neighbor’s flock by starting up your own.

As long as the chickens stay on their own properties, there should be no dominance issues. The roosters will happily call out to each other in the mornings claiming their own territory. This is natural.

I hope you continue with your plan and can help re-educate your neighbor. Hens lay eggs in response to day light hours. As long as they are the right age, healthy, have a nice environment, enough room for all (4 sq. ft. per chicken in the coop and 10 sq. ft. per chicken in the pen), a balanced diet and plenty of good water, all should be just fine.

It’s important that your coop be able to lock up tight so nothing bigger than a mouse can get in at night. With an established chicken flock right next door there may already be predators coming by at night looking for a free meal. Have fun!

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