Different Breeds Together In Same Chicken Pen?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by smoknz28, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. smoknz28

    smoknz28 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2012
    Central Virginia, USA
    Hello all.... I have previously had chickens of three different breeds mixed together in one pen without issues. I had one rooster as well.

    A couple months ago, my flock got attached by foxes during the daylight....which has never occurred before. We all know that foxes come out at night to hunt, but they must have been very hungry to get my chickens in the daylight hours. I didn't lose all of them however.

    I have a few Silkie hens and a couple other chickens that I don't know the breed of.

    I'm looking at adding some more chickens of various breeds into the flock to include a Top Hat. A local resident is looking at giving us her chickens as she can no longer have them and I'd like to give them a good home.

    I have a large chicken pen/coop that we built and is large enough for at least 30 chickens.

    We usually let our chickens free roam during the daylight hours and then just as the sun is going down...they head back into the pen and we lock the door on them.

    Are there concerns in mixing breeds? With the flock that is left, I don't have a rooster, but the one Top Hat we will add is a rooster and will be the only rooster with the flock. We are looking at adding another 12 chickens with our Silkies.

    Forgive me for my ignorance with chicken breeds.... I've attached some photos of the chickens we are looking at adding. If you all can point out the breeds of them...I would surely appreciate it. I know one of them is a Top Hat and he's the rooster.

    We use our chickens as pets and for their eggs. We do not use our chickens for meat. We are considering breeding them. We have in the past, for the first time, hatched some of our Silkies ourselves. As rookies...we did well hatching 15 of them. We know that if we want to breed a certain type of chicken...we'd have to have the rooster of that particular breed. With the Top Hat in the mix....I would think as long as we don't try hatching the eggs, we'll be fine. He will be our only Top Hat, unless I can convince her to sell or give me one of the Top Hat hens.

    Is there anything we should be advised on before we integrate the various breeds in the same pen/coop? We know that there will be a pecking order established up front. Is it advised against intermixing breeds?

    Thank you all.

    Here's the 11 hens we are looking at adding:


    Here's the Top Hat rooster we are looking at adding. He's the one in front with the brown and black closest to the camera:

  2. Hanna8

    Hanna8 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 26, 2012
    Nope, mixing breeds is no problem. If you ever want to breed without getting mixes, you will have to separate the birds you are breeding for a while. Other than that, no issue.

    What you are referring to as a Top Hat is usually called a polish. I can't say with any certainty what the hens are, but the brown and black ones are probably easter eggers.
  3. what did I do

    what did I do Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2012
    We have all kinds of chickens even 2 bantams. We do not have a problem. The other chickens do keep a spot of feathers picked out of our Polish Rooster. It's too bad they don't keep the feathers away from his eyes. We are dieing to see what kind of crosses we can come up with out of our mix of chickens. BTW, our mixes lay just fine.
  4. smoknz28

    smoknz28 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2012
    Central Virginia, USA

    Good to know, I wasn't expecting there to be a problem, but I wanted to bounce this off veteran chicken owners/breeders. I'll keep working on figuring out what breeds the hens are.


    Nice. So, the rooster than is called a Polish. It's a new type of chicken to me. ;)
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    You can see I'm a fan of mixed breed flocks....and no problems with them.

    If you do want to hatch chicks, that Polish rooster will give you cute babies with about half the crest he has---makes for distinct chicks that some folks just love! A chick with one Polish parent still has enough feathers on the head to be unique, but not so much it can interfere with vision, etc. No problem mixing breeds, as long as you're happy with the results!
    Chickygirl63 and smoknz28 like this.
  6. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    *Usually* chickens of similiar size & appearence get along without incident. Being your oddball one is a rooster I doubt if the hens will give him any problem, especially if he's full grown & mature, which he looks to be.
  7. rojororeo

    rojororeo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2013
    We have a mixed flock. With 2 Polish/Top Hat- one is a rooster, one a hen; I have 15 birds total. With about 9-10 breeds in that mix (a couple are ?? might be mixed diff. looking repeats, lol)
    I will say having only the 2 Polish, and them being so physically different, they definitely stand out to the other chickens. The bald little heads were started before I got them (rooster at 4ish months, hen at 10ish months of age). And it has been a loosing battle since. Everyone else is super interested in plucking their tasty little blood filled feathers off their heads, and there isn't much I can do about it. I have the hen's crest (what the fluffy feather bit is called) up in a pony tail or 2, but they pull those out, or she scratches them loose, and then feathers get plucked again! The rooster is flat out bald, no matter what I do. I do plan to separate both Polish for several weeks come spring when it is warm, until they have full head plumage, in hopes that the plucking stops. They are so docile that they don't stop it.
    Just meant as a sort of warning, that if the Polish don't come to you with good crests, it might create an issue, but one that isn't fixable. Just super annoying... I have no personal exp. with roosters at all, but I love our Polish rooster, he lets me do the head care I need, never has tried to go after me when I mess with his hens... none of my chickens really like to be handled too much though...
    PS: He is beautiful, the one you are looking at!
  8. smoknz28

    smoknz28 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2012
    Central Virginia, USA
    Wow...well, talk about a fun enjoyable day today.

    So, we stopped by the person who was giving the chickens away....and they are adorable! We picked up 12 chickens total adding 24 total to our flock. Two of the chickens are the Polish Top Hat breed. One of which is a known rooster, but she wasn't sure on the second one...whether it is a hen. I'll shoot some pictures in the day time and share them with you all for help.

    We also added two turkeys to our flock. One male and one female. Already got names... Hershey and Godiva. She had named them previously and so we are carrying on with their given names. She's raised them since they were babies. She had a total of 30 turkeys who are free running.

    When we brought the chickens and turkeys home...I moved the new chickens in the chicken pen with our existing chickens to monitor them... It took about 30 minutes before the first pecking order was set. One of my older hens went after one of the new hens....she lost the battle and retreated. The second fight took place with an even older hen we've had...she took on the same chicken and she stood her ground very well. She then decided to take on a couple more and she finally retreated. I just let them have at it and monitored in case one of them drew blood. Slight blood was drawn on their crowns...but that was it. They all chilled out after the second fight. I hope that's the end of the pecking order...but something tells me there is more to come.

    For the turkeys...we moved them in with our Pygmy goats in a fenced in area. The wire fence is about 5-feet tall with plenty of room for them to move around. I added hay to a igloo style dog house for them and laid the female in it...she didn't care for it and moved outside. I let them be, but it didn't take long as the sun went down for the male to jump on top of the goats house and the female flew out on top of the chickens pen.

    My daughter and I moved them into the chicken pen....we got too worried about them possibly being eaten. After all, it's new surroundings for them. So, we figure we'll move them into the chicken pen at night until they get use to the area and where it's safe. I'm hoping they will learn to stay in with the goats...but I don't think so seeing how they can get out of the goats area. I've never owned turkeys before...so I have a little reading up to do. We weren't expecting to add turkeys to our home...but when she offered, I felt we would be fine in learning and taking care of them. If any of you have guidance with them, please share.

    As we moved the turkeys in with the chickens...they all got along. I placed the turkeys at the top inside of the pen and she quickly found a nice spot with hay and laid down. He laid next to her and they seem fine for the night.

    As for the chickens...we checked on them tonight and they are all cuddled up with one another....our old flock and our new additions...so, maybe they've got the pecking order figured out. ;)

    Again, I'll shoot some pictures in the morning and will post here with you all.

    Thanks for your help.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  9. rojororeo

    rojororeo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2013
    Good to hear all are great! I wish mine would stop pecking head feathers off, but I think it has become a learned and favored behavior! :(
  10. Mommy 2 Wee Ones

    Mommy 2 Wee Ones Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2011
    North Texas
    I also had a mixed flock, 17 total, then added 4 additional a month later. Everyone worked it out, and all was fine. It was when we got the ducks that it became an issue, since the ducks were chasing the hens to try to mate. So they had to be separated. I have 3 chicks that we hatched last spring, Daddy was a black Silkie, 1 Momma was a NH Red, the other two, their Momma was a Buff Orph.
    One is a girl, and two are boys. I need to get more hens, because one of the boys is starting to do the "dance", and I do not want him "dancing" with his half sister. She is the only one who is laying eggs right now. Our little Banty who is old enough to, is not laying right now.
    This is our roo, who we just found out he was a roo last week, when he started to crow.


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