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New chicks to existing flock

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am looking to add some new chicks to my existing flock. Right now I have two buff rock orpingtons, a white one (don't know breed) and two Rhode Island reds. which breeds would be best to add to my flock?
post #2 of 13
Really any breed would be fine to add to your flock. But if you want some different colored eggs I would get an americauna or cream legbar. Their are other birds out there that lay blue eggs but those ones are my favorite.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Are they breeds that fight or are really territorial? My those island reds are that way. What's the best way to start introducing the babies to my flock?
post #4 of 13

For interesting egg colors,  Easter Eggers,  Ameracaunas, Legbars, Welsummers, and Black Copper Marans.  All nice birds.  Production Reds and sex-links tent to be more aggressive than many, and I wouldn't recommend very mild birds like Favorelles,  who are likely to suffer in their company.  Variety is good!  My chicks are out in an separate pen next to the older birds for a few weeks, and then let out to free range together, and gradually they learn to get along.  Mary

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Good to know. I will definitely keep this all in mind when I add the new chicks to my flock early next year. Which breeds are hardy for winter and are good egg layers? The last two years we have had some cold winters here
post #6 of 13
I would add some Sussex hens, though I'm very biased. And if you ever desire you can breed the Rhodes with the Sussex.
post #7 of 13

I love my Speckled Sussex hens, and also the Chanteclers.  Mary

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advise. It is really helpful. I will definitely consider all of these when I go to pick out my chicks.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

details about these breeds? Are they good or no?

post #10 of 13

Going back to your original question about how to go about introducing your new chicks to the flock once you've made your choice of breeds, here's my recommendation.


Throw out what you've always heard about raising baby chicks and start with a simple, natural way to go about it instead. This is the way I decided to do it this past spring and summer, and it was such a spectacular success, I will never go back to brooding chicks in a box ever again. This way of brooding installs the babies in the flock right from the very beginning, eliminating the need to introduce them later on when they're half grown or older.


And that's basically what this new way is, the very opposite of box-brooding. You set up a safe pen either in the coop or out in the run, as long as the run is sheltered from the elements. The baby chicks are part of the flock from day one, and they grow up alongside the adults, and by the time they're just three weeks old, they are all set to begin mingling with them. By age five weeks, the chicks are ready to move into the coop and roost with the adults.


The reason most people brood indoors in a "box" is because they believe it's easier to control the heat needs of baby chicks. Contrary to this belief, it's much easier to control the heat requirements of the chicks when you use the heating pad system. This enables the chicks themselves to control their own heat needs and you never have to worry whether they're too hot or too cool.


See the thread on this forum entitled "Mama Heating Pad in the Brooder". It details how to set up the system. But basically all it involves is a heating pad attached to a wire frame, field fence or 1" x 3" mesh, so that the baby chicks shelter under it as they would a broody hen, warming themselves as needed, and the rest of the time, they run about and learn to be chickens in the flock in which they are growing up. By the way, for those who mistakenly believe that you need to be able to control the temperature of the chicks entire environment, it's actually possible to brood chicks under this system in any temperature, even below freezing.


In fact, one of the touchiest issues connected with brooding chicks indoors is introducing them to a much colder environment when they're ready to graduate to coop living from their brooder. Under this new system, the chicks harden to the cold from their very first day in your possession.


Under this system, chicks are feathered out and roosting with the adults by the time most indoor-brooded chicks are just being introduced to the flock. Integration is a snap when the chicks have been part of the flock by proximity from the very beginning.


It's really this simple. Go visit the thread and also read Blooie's article on "Yes, you really can brood chicks outdoors". I was so sold on this system, I raised a second batch of chicks four months after the first one, and it went even better than the first, if that's possible.

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