Building My First Flock-- Need Help With Breed Compatibility and Startup :)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GabeBlue, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. GabeBlue

    GabeBlue Just Hatched

    Mar 28, 2017
    Hi everyone,

    I just recently, (5 minutes ago), created my account for BYC after being a long-time browser. In the next few months, I will be beginning a senior project in which I will raise a small backyard flock to show its particular benefits in nutrition, sustainability, and waste reduction. However, I would also like to touch on the legality of pet chickens and how the animals are in a suburban and loving environment. In case you're worried, the flock will be kept as layers and pets after the project ends!

    To do this project and demonstrate the variability that backyard chickens offer, I would like to let my small flock have a wide variety of patterns and egg colors. I am thinking of doing a 4-6 hen flock but would like some input on the current species I am looking at from experienced hobbyists/hatchers/etc.

    The current setup I'm looking at is
    1x Orpington
    1x Plymouth Rock
    1-2x Rhode Island Red
    1-2x Silkie

    Is this feasible? I would like to know how their different sizes, egg types, and feather types would line up if kept together. I am aware that there can be some problems with more ornamental hens like silkies which is why I would love some first-hand advice! I have found a lot of mixed information in my searches which is why I believe responses more directly aimed at my proposed flock will help me more. Just a side note, the chicks will all be purchased together and raised from that age up. I do not plan on introducing any other hens in the future.

    Also, another quick question-- I often notice that flocks will get pairs of the same breed of chicken when stocking a mixed flock. Is there any specific reason for this besides aesthetics?

    Thank you so much, everyone, for your help. I still have a long road of research ahead of me, but I am confident that this project will thrive and educate my peers as long as I stay focused and driven. Hope you all have a nice day! :)

  2. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 28, 2008
    I'd forget the silkies and RIR. Hatchery RIR can be mean. Hatchery silkies are often poor quality and at times don't do well in mixed flocks.

    If you want a variety of egg colors you have brown with the Orp and Rock. For a colored egg I'd get an EE, and if you want to try a white egg layer I'd suggest a Buttercup. The ones we've had have been calm for a white egg layer and different looking with their combs.
  3. GabeBlue

    GabeBlue Just Hatched

    Mar 28, 2017
    Good to know, thanks! Although I did mention variety would be nice, would you recommend doing a single-breed flock over a mixed?
  4. GabeBlue

    GabeBlue Just Hatched

    Mar 28, 2017
    Update-- How would this look:

    2x barred rock
    1x golden buff
    1x buff Orpington

    I realize these are all brown layers, however, I think the diversity of color among them would make up for it! Thanks :)
  5. adstowe

    adstowe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2016
    It's really a matter of preference. I've done all easter eggers, all buff orpingtons and now I do a mixed flock. I like the mixed flock better, but it's just my opinion. Right now I have 2 buff orpingtons, 2 easter eggers, a barred rock, a cinnamon queen and a little mix breed roo. They all seem to do pretty well together.
  6. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 2, 2014
    Canton, Ohio
    I will throw in a Speckled Sussex - cream/pink eggs, & a Welsumers - terra-cotta speckled eggs both very friendly will get along with your list.
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I think I would recommend some type of cinnamon reds, or a production red. I have always liked their personalities, and they are laying machines. The orpintons will be fair layers, good personalities and often times will go broody. I too would have a EE and no silkies.

    What is your coop/run set up going to look like? Often times people misjudge what can fit in there. If you show us your plans, we can help with ideas and advice, that could save you costly mistakes.

    It is a fun hobby and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

    MRs K
    1 person likes this.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Curious as to the duration of this project....are you a senior now, or a junior?

    I'd get a what ever mix of breeds that you can get all at once from the same source.

    The 2 of a breed question is often in case one chick dies.
  9. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014
    FYI, there is very little difference in the color of eggs from my hatchery Buff Orps and those from my hatchery Barred Rocks.
  10. GabeBlue

    GabeBlue Just Hatched

    Mar 28, 2017
    (I am on mobile right now so sorry for weird formatting)

    @Mrs.K, I have not yet planned out my coop specifically, but will post possible designs when those are completed :)

    I am a junior now, and the project will run from April to somewhere next winter/early spring.

    @TalkaLittle, that is good to know and I am excited to see the differences!

    I did end up going with the 2x Barred Rocks, 1x buff orpington, and 1x golden buff. I am only 1 1/2 hours from Meyer hatchery so I feel comfortable with how few I ordered, and if needbe I can drive up and pick up a couple myself to compensate for possible losses. I am continuing my research as we speak and am getting very excited for this project! Can't wait for my chicks to arrive next weekend!
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017

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