I'm a first-time chicken owner and am planning on picking up some chickens this weekend. My wife and I want a variety of about 7 chickens. I like the idea of having up to 4 difference breeds, but the only problem is most places in our area that sell laying hens usually only have about two breeds to choose from. My predicament is this:
There are two separate farms with two separate selections (all hens are 8 months old, though). If I acquire all the new hens in the same 48 hour period, will there be major pecking order issues when I combine the two or will it be more seamless?
For those of you willing to lend advice on breed here are my options:
Farm 1: RIRs, Golden Sexlinks, and Dominiques.
Farm 2: Australorp mixes, and Leghorns.
Ideally, I'd love to have one of each and maybe double up on some of the more hardy and productive breeds. Their primary function is for egg laying and fertilizer production. I know this may come as a shock to some of the hard-core chicken lovers, but I could care less about how cuddly the chickens are. We have our pups for that. The more protective they are, the better. That'll help establish some push-back if our dogs get too curious (red heelers tend to be very instinct driven).
Our back yard is about 1/5 acre and has 6' fences on all sides. They will be allowed to free range.
I know there will be plenty of people making serious mention about quarantine and I can do that pretty easily. I'm more concerned about the more docile birds getting picked apart.
Thanks in advance!