A New Question (to the best of my researching ability) Mixing Breeds in a Flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by makemineirish, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. makemineirish

    makemineirish Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 1, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I am planning on chickens and only in the sketch phase of the coop design process. Just because I am not planning on acquiring chickens until spring does not mean that I am not window-shopping the breeds.

    Can I have a happy flock if I acquire one each of different chicken breeds?

    I understand that it is not advisable to have an "odd man out", but if EVERYONE is different, will they be happy?
    .....or do they really need "birds of a feather" for psychological well-being?

    I may very well prefer to pick a single breed, but wanted to check my options.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You can easily mix breeds.

    There are a few differences that you might want to know about, however:

    Silkies don't generally like to roost. They like to sleep on the floor usually and so you would want two to snuggle together. They are susceptible to pecks on the head causing wry neck and so shouldn't be bullied.

    Some breeds are bullies from my experience and shouldn't be in with some more docile breeds. One example I can think of is that Rhode Island Reds have a reputation for being more aggressive, and d'Uccles are very timid. I have had a RIR cross (Golden Neck) before (10 of them) who wouldn't let my Easter Eggers eat.

    Don't have tiny bantam hens in with very large roosters or they can have internal damage when they are bred.
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    2 people like this.
  4. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 10, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    I chose one each of: Australorp, Rhode Island Red, Silver Campine and Barnevelder. It's more important that they are very similar in age, rather than breed. These four get along really well, I got them 8 weeks old and they are now 17 weeks old. There is hardly any pecking or squabbling and generally they stay close and like to hunker down together when napping. All four sit in a row on the branch I have in their outdoor run. I did get them all from the same place, and maybe it helped that 3 of the 4 had even been in the same coop together, although with lots of others as well.

    One reason I wanted different breeds is I chose ones which have different egg colours. More for my own interest to know who has laid, I guess. And they sure do look pretty together (if that's another factor). I also researched the different breeds (starting with Henderson's chart) so they didn't have wildly different attributes as a breed. I wanted ones which were ok with confinement, because one day a week I am away and they stay in. I wouldn't put a breed that can't stand confinement in with others who are more relaxed, as they may just make trouble with the others.

    Lots of factors to consider, so good luck.
  5. makemineirish

    makemineirish Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 1, 2012
    Austin, TX
    ChickensAreSweet - The specific breed information and link to the chart are great.

    Spikes Chooks - I always appreciate anecdotal evidence from personal experience.

    Thanks for the quick replies. I am still working on the coop design and vacillating on the breed choices. I THINK that I would prefer to keep a single breed of chicken, but am intrigued by several. I have until spring to figure it out.
  6. Pullet Surprise

    Pullet Surprise Chillin' With My Peeps

    I thought I wanted a single breed flock, but got a real mixed group instead and SO very glad I did!!!
  7. I enjoy seeing all different breeds and colors of chickens so mixed flock unless you want to breed them
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I think that you will enjoy a mixed flock; pick breeds that appeal to you for looks and production, and think about temperment. Some are good in a more confined setting, and some are much more nervous and need lots more space. If you have neighbors close, avoid very active fliers. Avoid aggressive game breeds for a mixed brred flock also. Some birds will roost, and some can't fly at all-- think Silkies and frizzles. Lots of choices, so try a few breeds to start and develop your own favorites. Enjoy! Mary
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I started out with a mixed "flock" of 8 chicks of 7 different breeds (all "dual purpose" originally) because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to tell them apart if they were all the same breed. I KNEW I would name them..... I mean, that was a given. If I got all one breed, Rhode Island Reds, for example) I imagined greeting them each morning, "Good morning, Rhoda! How are YOU, Rhoda!?! Oh, what a pretty Rhoda you are! And good morning to you too, Rhoda..." etc.

    It turns out I CAN tell the difference between hens of the same breed, but by then I had already added quite a few breeds to the flock before I had any duplicates. [​IMG]

    Periodically, I think a flock of Black Australorps and Buff Orpingtons would be a lovely sight ranging freely in the yard.... kind of a Halloween-y effect. However, with 50+ chickens of many breeds, bantams and large fowl included, I'd have to re-home too many beloved chickens to start over with just black and orange ones. [​IMG]

    I religiously check Henderson's Handy Dandy Chicken Chart before I consider adding a new breed to my flock, though.... (And there happens to be only one RIR in my flock - yes, her name IS Rhoda!)
  10. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

    Jul 29, 2012
    Oregon City, OR
    My Coop
    I have 2 each Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, Production RIRs, EE's, 1 Golden Sex-link, 1 Splash Orpington cockerel. I tell my pairs apart because I have a leg band one's right legs and the other's left leg. I am getting 8-10 more chicks in the spring.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by