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Chicken Breeds item created by lizard of oz, Dec 4, 2012
Pros - Hardy, fun mix of colors, great layers, mix and match to get what you want!
Cons - none!
This year we hatched a few eggs under a broody hen, and 1 of 12 hatched. Since her surrogate mama's name was Parakeet, we named her "daughter" Finch.
Finch was a buff orp/EE cross. She was the first of the other adopted chicks we got to start laying, and was a perfect combo of mom and dad. She was the best layer in the flock. She was such a beautiful chicken, and despite being hen raised, she was quite easy to tame. She was a very gentle chicken, and was bullied easily, but made up for that by roosting in the highest place possible, which of course, was the one place she wasn't supposed to. Unfortunately, we had to send her to heaven because she started to lose control of her neck; we think due to mareks. I will definitely be hatching more of my own mutts next year
Pros - Unique colors and personalities, often hardier, surprising at times.
Cons - Inconsistent results
While it is fun to see what you will get with backyard mixes or mutts, it is always a gamble. Often my favorites out of a flock are mixed breeds. It can be like Easter every day when gathering eggs, or learning personalities. One of the worries, would be that you may not get consistency when breeding. If you get something you really like, it may be very difficult to reproduce, as is the same for something you don't like and difficulty eliminating it. Barnyard mixes are always fun for me to raise.
Pros - Hardy, Generally good layers, Generally good for meat.
Cons - Cannot be shown, Less resale value.
I have several mutt birds, and they are all good layers, very friendly, and beautiful.
Pros - Unique, Can get some cool egg colors, Some are really friendly
Cons - No breed standard, Van't be shown, Hard to sell (especially roosters)
Some of my flock is mixed breeds. Depends what they are crossed, reflects on their personality. I have one pullet mutt, who likes to flog and growl. And then I have another mutt pullet, who knows several tricks and is quite friendly! Some crosses can be made to get olive colored eggs too. But, I love the colors on them. They are unique to that one chicken.
Pros - All kinds of colors and interesting combs/crest/beards.
Cons - Can be flighty.
This is my beautiful mixed breed chick! She is one pretty baby.
And then this is my new mixed breed girl! Probably has some Brahma in her.
Her name is Ana.
Pros - Different, one of a kind, sometimes cuddly!
Cons - Can be shown in poultry shows.
I have hatched my first chickens this year and they were all mixes from my flock.
My favorite ones parents were (were meaning they both died the same day from a fox) Golden Laced polish Hen (mom). and a Black Copper Marans Rooster (dad)
The result is this, A BEAUTIFUL Mixed Hen!
Blue feet (mama) fluffy feet (daddy) Feathers (daddy and mommy but mostly mommy)
Beard (mommy) crest (mommy) comb (daddy) Tail (mommy) body shape (mommy)
Pros - dual purpose, can be great layers of extra large pretty eggs
Cons - Can be difficult or almost impossible to find good homes for nice mixed breed roosters
When I was a child there were two kinds of chickens. Those that laid the white eggs found in stores and what we called brown egg layers. These are the chickens I remember growing up, never realizing most "farm chickens" were mixed breeds, but they were great chickens.
When I entered my teens I did get a small flock of Rhode Island Reds as a 4-H project, and although I bred them I thought of them as "brown eggs layers."
Then as an adult, my husband got as our first flock of chickens about twenty birds containing two roosters from a farmer who was cutting back on his numbers. We had this group for many years until they died out, namely because we didn't hatch any eggs.
Later when we got more we got Rhode Island Red and later still I wanted something more unique, now that I realized that there were more than a few breeds of chickens, and researched breeds and settled on one. Later another breed piqued my curiosity and I got some of those.
We added a rooster as flock protector, but he wasn't the breed of any of my chickens.
I accidently started raising mixed breeds. There were a few breeds I wanted to try hatching but it was suggested I try my own eggs before I paid for any or had them shipped. So I did. With my own eggs I had a 100% fertility rate and hatched 29 of 30, one egg pipping but got moved before it could zip.
I've discovered some real positives among the mixed breeds. The breeder can breed for what she wants and what will benefit her program, not for a SOP.The mixes I have now lay large, rosy toned brown eggs and the hens are all laying by 4 to 4 and a half months old, and they rarely take a day off. The do go broody so next spring I am thinking of letting a hen do some hatching.
I have a few young hens I've waiting for them to start laying, I think I might get khaki colored eggs and I'm also planning on hatching some of my rose toned eggs fathered by a rooster carrying the blue egg gene. Will be interesting to see what that gives me. Could I hope for pinkish lavender?
These birds are also very hardy.
The only drawback is it is hard to find good homes for really nice mixed breed roosters, although some have seen advantages to them and taken them as flock roosters. They are good flock guardians, friendly, and it seems that many of their daughters, even when they were bred to a hen who started laying around the 6 month mark will produce daughters laying by 4.5 months so POL seems to be something the fathers can influence.
Although I keep and breed purebreds, there are enough good attributes to the mixed breeds that I enjoy having them in my flock.
Most of the people producing eggs in our area either have mixed flocks or have mixes in with their purebreds.
Pros - Mine are hardy, great layers, prone to broodiness and great mothers, the right combos gives you sex links
Cons - results are sometimes less predictable
I like eggs, I like unique, I like variety and I like broody mamas. I get all of that with my mixed breed hens. I have purebred girls too and I love my whole flock but these girls are two of the most valuable birds on our place because of their broodiness. They are nearly daily layers when not broody..even through the winter. If I want to add a certain breed I know I can buy hatching eggs, give them to these girls and they will hatch and raise a brood for me. I can keep/sell or eat what they provide for me and my family.
All broody hens get mixed local eggs the first go around and it is fun to see what hatches from those. Don't shy away from mixed eggs. You will have a unique hatch of lovely chicks who will prove to be a lovely, entertaining and useful addition to your flock.
I have beautiful little sex linked little ones right now. The girls will be good layers the boys will be tasty.
Pros - Lay well, some very pretty, varried appearance
Cons - Sometimes aggressive, hard to sell
I have four two year old mix breeds. Two white hens, Winter and Snowflake, a black and red hen with a crest, Raven, and a white hen with a crest, Harmony. Originally I also had two other chickens: Beauford the half-blind white crested cockerel and Mocha the brown-speckled white pullet.
The first four hens are still doing very well and laying very well with their only real break being their late molt. Beauford was a fine chicken other than his blindness until he turned against Harmony. The family didn't have the heart to kill him, so we gave him away. Mocha on the other hand had died from egg binding when I was away from home. She was a very beautiful and friendly chicken, and it was sad when she passed.
Pros - Lays big green eggs, great forager, good looking birds
Cons - None that I can think of
We mixed a White Leghorn with an Easter Egger, outcome is what we call the Legger. They are a friendly breed that lays large green eggs and forages very well.
They have an all white feathered body with some dots here and there, a very pretty breed. Nice thing about mutts is you never know what you're gonna get. All adventorous breeders should have a Legger!