Are multi-breed flocks more likely to be cannibals?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TheBanditQueen, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. TheBanditQueen

    TheBanditQueen Songster

    Jun 1, 2013
    If you have a flock of assorted breeds of chickens, are they more likely to pick on each other, fight, or become cannibals than if you just have one breed? Assuming you just have one rooster so rooster-fighting won't be an issue. If they have lots of space, is it less likely? If they are raised together from chickhood, does that make a difference? Are there some breeds that are more/less disposed to that than others?

    We have 10 acres and when we get chickens, they will have access to all of it during the day and will need to be closed up at night because of the coons and owls. I would like to compare several different breeds to find out which one(s) does best in our situation: climate/land type/management/etc. But I have heard that if you keep different breeds together, they will fight.

    Anybody have experience/advice/tips to offer? Thanks :)
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    I have very limited experience. But, I've found that in my small flock, the 3 EE hang out together, the RIR and BSL who are hatch mates hang out together, and the 3 Doms that I got at the same time as the EE hung out together (unfortunately they were all roos... bad sexing day at the hatchery!) I'd recommend that you get at least 2 of each variety you're choosing to get. check out Henderson's chicken breed chart. I'd also recommend that you have at least 1 s.f./chick in the brooder, and follow the s.f. recommendations for your coop (and your run if you have one). Those recommendations are a minimum. If you're in a cold winter area where they won't be outside on snow free ground every day, you should have more room in your coop. Cannibalism should not be a problem in a well managed flock. However, if one of your birds does get a wound... they will then cannibalize the wounded bird.
  3. TheBanditQueen

    TheBanditQueen Songster

    Jun 1, 2013

    We are in West TX, so the winters will allow for a lot of outdoor time, which is good.

    Multiples of a variety...that is a good idea!!

    I was around my mother-in-law's small flock a little bit, but not enough to see if they fought. There was a really nice rooster that may have been an Australorp, a Mille Fleur bantam rooster (they fought), a Barred Rock hen, 2 Araucanas, a Mille Fleur banty hen, and a couple others. Maybe there were so few of them and so varied that they didn't have any motivation to fight? I wonder.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I've never heard of mixing breeds leading to fighting. I'd say most of the folks on byc have mixed flocks and they do great.

    Space is the big issue for behaviors. If you anticipate your birds needing to be confined for any length of time, please plan accordingly and build a large enough run/coop to confine your birds for several days. Your birds could need to be confined for several reasons---predator risk, weather, to teach them where to roost, to teach them were to lay, you go on vacation, etc. Birds that are overcrowded tend to start picking on each other, and that can lead to all sorts of bad things.

    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  5. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    Some breeds are naturally more aggressive than others. RIR have a reputation of being bullies while BO are pushovers. you do need to think of the mix while you put it together. Pullets that are raised together tend to havr less conflict.

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