adding to my flock/ Cold weather affects

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by huntergirl25, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. huntergirl25

    huntergirl25 In the Brooder

    Dec 9, 2013
    hi I am wanting to add to my flock and I was wondering what other breeds get along with rhode island reds. I am worried about getting more due to my last experience when I brung home my mille fleurs they fought till they drew blood! I want to make sure the breeds are computable before I look for more. and also I am not sure weather I should let my chickens out in the winter he recent change of me keeping them inside has possibly stoped them from laying are RIR ok to be outside in the snow and winter as long as they have access to shelter?

  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    One reason why your Millie Fleurs (Millie Fleur D'uccles, I assume) probably got picked on was that they were bantams. Large fowl and bantams don't get along very well, usually. Getting a chicken about the same size as your Rhode Island Reds will reduce the fighting that ocurrs. No matter what, there will be some fighting though. Wyandottes, Orpingtons, Plymouth Rocks, and Sussex would all be good ideas.

    Don't keep your birds entirely confined in the winter. Too much confinement can lead to frostbite and other problems. If they have shelter to get out of the wind and cold, they'll be fine if allowed to go outside. If they don't feel like going out, they just won't.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You raise some interesting questions in such a short post. A lot of the time it is not whether certain breeds or chickens are compatible anywhere nearly as much as if the conditions you keep them in or other circumstances allow them to get along.

    Space is a huge issue. The tighter they are packed the more likely you are to have problems. The more room they have the less likely you are to have a problem. One way chickens have learned to live together peacefully in a flock is that if there is a conflict, the weaker usually runs away from the stronger or just avoids the stronger to start with. It’s really important that they have room to run away and avoid, even if there is a little chasing involved.

    Maturity level has a lot to do with it if there is a maturity difference. A mature chicken will outrank an immature chicken. That gives the more mature chicken the right, maybe even a duty, to peck it and let it know where it ranks in the social structure of the flock. It’s bad chicken etiquette for an inferior to invade the personal space of a superior. That’s a big part of why immature birds often form their own flock and stay separate from the older chickens. Some people like to talk about size, but I find that is not nearly as critical as maturity level. It’s not that unusual for a bantam to outrank a full-sized hen. Even after saying that though, the more size difference the more likelihood of damage if there is a dispute, especially if the smaller ones are also fairly young.

    Sometimes chickens recognize new chickens as not belonging to their flock. They are invaders and need to be driven off. This does not happen all the time but it happens often enough that it is a concern. This is where housing them side by side where they can see each other but not physically attack each other can really help. Usually a week is enough.

    I have no problems integrating 8 week old chicks with my flock, but mine are raised across a fence from each other and I have lots of space. Some people have disasters trying to integrate much older chickens. There is no magic age where this always goes smoothly or is always a disaster. It really varies with your flock. It’s possible you don’t have enough room to add any birds of any size, age, or breed.

    I always leave my pop door open and let the chickens decide what they want to do. It was 4 degrees above zero Fahrenheit when I took this picture a few years ago. You can see what they decided.


    Chickens often don’t like snow at all when they first see it. My current flock saw snow for the first time this past weekend. They still don’t like it. Often my flocks will take a couple of days to get used to it them will go for walk-abouts and foraging trips in snow. This group was outside during the day when the snow fell. It didn’t bother them, probably because they were outside when it fell.


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