Building a new flock

am-nor

Chirping
May 12, 2015
29
3
72
Norway
I will be starting a new flock. I need chick that can stand Chicago cold weather. I would like a flock the grand kids can pet and enjoy. Leaning towards Orpington. Thinking of having 4 hens and 1 rooster. Should I have all the same breed or can I mix the flock? What other breeds go well with opringtons? Mostly I'm in it for eggs not meat. They will be able to free range sometimes. Come with suggestions please.
 

N F C

Moderator
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Dec 12, 2013
91,588
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Welcome to BYC!

You have a lot of options when it comes to selecting chickens. Orpingtons are nice and yes, you can mix breeds if you want. Chickens handle the cold better than the heat so as long as you avoid birds with large combs and wattles that are subject to frostbite (like Leghorns) you will be fine.

There is an article in the Learning Center that could be helpful to you when considering various breeds. Here's a link to it:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/...cken-guide-to-picking-backyard-chicken-breeds

Since you are primarily interested in eggs, you may want to re-think getting a rooster. Unless you want fertile eggs to hatch eggs, you don't need one and may want to get another hen instead. Roosters aren't always the friendliest and that's something to think about with grandkids wanting to be involved with the chickens.

Good luck to you
 

sunflour

Flock Master
8 Years
Jan 10, 2013
14,974
7,744
772
Macon,GA
welcome-byc.gif
glad you have joined us.

NorthFlChick has given you a link to help you select breeds. And I agree with her advice to decide whether you really want or need a rooster. You don't need one to get fresh eggs to eat. Many friendly young roos turn mean as they grow up. But they do offer some flock protection in ranging. If you do decide you want one, most advise to have a ratio of 1 roo per 8 or more hens.

IMO it is a personal decision on whether you want only one breed or mixed. I have BO's and BR's and they get along well together. I was worried that the BO's would be picked on so balanced mine with 3 of each. And surprisingly one of the buffs was #2 in the pecking order. My advice would be to select friendly nonaggressive breeds for a fun experience for all.

Good luck with your planning.
 

am-nor

Chirping
May 12, 2015
29
3
72
Norway
I have been told that having a rooster makes for less bikkering in the flock. He keeps his ladies in line :)
 

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Aug 26, 2009
137,517
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Out to pasture
Having a rooster causes a lot of stress in a flock, they may stop arguments but they can be very rough and demanding on breeding the hens. A rooster can handle 10 hens any thing less and they get overbred and damaged, especially if he has a favorite hen or two. They also get very protective of their flock, and that can mean attacking humans especially children because they are closer to the ground. There are wonderful roosters out there but, the odds of getting one is not that great.
 

Michael OShay

Crowing
5 Years
May 14, 2014
25,581
2,436
438
Montana
Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. Orpingtons are a wonderful choice for children as they are friendly and gentle (my granddaughter, pictured in my avatar, has made lap pets of our Orpingtons). You can either go with a single breed or with a mixed breed flock (the grandchildren might like a variety). Other breeds that have a well deserved reputation for being calm and gentle (potential lap pets), and are very cold hardy are Australorps, Brahmas, Cochins, and Sussex. If egg production is a priority, Australorps are the best layers on this list. I agree with drumstick diva; I would pass on the rooster, especially with only four hens. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck in getting your flock.
 

am-nor

Chirping
May 12, 2015
29
3
72
Norway
How does it sound with a combo of Orpington, Australorps and Welsummers?
Is this the making for a calm flock? Maybe two hens of each. Have decided against the rooster. Please come with input
1f600.png
 

N F C

Moderator
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Dec 12, 2013
91,588
375,643
2,102
Wyoming
How does it sound with a combo of Orpington, Australorps and Welsummers?
Is this the making for a calm flock? Maybe two hens of each. Have decided against the rooster. Please come with input
1f600.png

That mix sounds good to me @am-nor !

There's a breed focus thread going on right now on the Welsummers, have you seen it? https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/980204/chicken-breed-focus-welsummer

I don't think you would go wrong with that mix and your egg basket would be nice.
 

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