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Has anyone else noticed breed prejudice in chickens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by iajewel, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. iajewel

    iajewel Songster

    Oct 22, 2008
    Corning IA
    All my life we only had one breed of chicken. This year I got 3 breeds.. and I have made some intresting observations. The first birds were Barred Rocks, they were the only breed for a few months and free ranged. This was 3 hens and 1 roo. Then came one buff cochin bantum hen, and 10 partridge cochin chicks.. A few months later arrived 3 Golden Polish hens and 1 roo.. This started very early last spring and the last birds arrived late July.

    Every night all the birds were penned up togather as I won't seprate and breed untill Feb. Every day when I let them free range, all the polish were togather in one part of the yard, while all the barred rock were togather somewhere else, the same with the bantums. Even now after beein penned for weeks with out turn out.. when I let the birds out.. they segrogate. I find this behavior very intresting and wonder if anyone else has noticed this in thier mixd flocks of pure bred birds.

    I also wonder if there is a true prejudice in the birds if I can't still free range and expect pure bred off-spring?

    I know in horses there is prejudice with some stallions.. bulls also do this so to see it in chickens isn't shocking.. however I have never heard anyone talk about it before.
  2. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    I have noticed that mine DO group together by breed and color... but mostly because they are brood mates. However, when I got my La Fleche they did hang with the Ameraucanas that I had that were about the same size and color. My main roo's two favorite gals are currently the two that are red like him. But overall it is really about who they are used to being with... even if it was only for a day or two before joining the main group.
  3. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Ever hear the phrase "Birds of a feather flock together"?

    They do tend to do so even with a mixed flock.
  4. Shucks! Rooster Red beat me to it.

    I've noticed the same thing. Once in a while they co-mingle but most of the time they stick close to their own breed.
  5. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

    May 11, 2008
    Howell Michigan
    The old adage "birds of a feather" is certainly the rule for roosting at night and socializing during the day. However, you can't free range mixed breeds and expect pure bred chickens. When it comes to sex roosters don't discriminate.
  6. ella

    ella Songster

    I had an EE rooster that hated my Black Jersey Giant hens. He never bred them and would not let them eat at the feeder when he was there. He did eventually mellow out but never did like them.

    But for the most part I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that each group was seperate for a while. They develop their own mini flocks within the big flock. they may be together now, but they still identify with the ones they were raised with -those first relationships they formed.

    My original 26 pullets were 5 different breeds and they mingled without any breed discrimination. Right now I have 13 different pure breeds and a bunch of mutts and while some do hang out more together, it doesn't have to do with breed. For instance my tiny Lakenvelder is in love with my giant BSL rooster. [​IMG] And my Silver Phoenix hangs out with one of the Brahmas.

    Mixing breeds with different temperments could result in segregation though. Mellow Cochins probably aren't going to be running around top speed with crazy Leghorns.

    Interesting creatures. [​IMG]
  7. msgenie516

    msgenie516 The Happy Hen

    May 16, 2008
    Nesconset, LI, NY

    I could be wrong but it seems to me that the chickens that were raised together "hang out" together, no matter what their breed. In one of my coops I have 10 chickens (all hens) and 4 are RIR's that were originally raised by the same person, 3 Frizzles that were raised by another person, and 2 Cochin mixes and one tiny unidentified bantam that we hatched ourselves.

    The 4 RIR's stay together, the 3 Frizzles stay together, and even though the 2 Cochin mixes and the tiny bantam are different breeds, those 3 stay together. So that makes me think it depends more on if they were raised together, but the breed may also be a contributing factor.

    But this really is inconclusive, as in another coop I have 15 hens, which consist of 7 Silkies, 3 Leghorns, one small unidentified bantam, 2 Frizzles, 1 Polish, and a possible "Easter Egger" (she lays green eggs but I don't know if she is truly an "Easter Egger"), and I see them all scattered about, not really staying in any one group.

    By no means am I an expert, but I just thought I would share my experiences with these puzzling birds! Genie
  8. slyfoxpeeps

    slyfoxpeeps Songster

    Oct 11, 2007
    Lewisburg, WV
    Over the last year I have hatched alot of chicks of different breeds at the same time, what I've noticed is that once they go out side they will migrate to their own kind. I have always wondered HOW they could know that?? In the brooders they were the same size same age....
  9. miss_jayne

    miss_jayne Lady_Jayne

    Jun 26, 2008
    Columbiaville, MI
    i think they flock to their own colors so they can be 'hidden' better. it's like a group of zebras....the lion cannot tell them apart when they are close together, so it makes them less likely to be supper.

    the chickies are protecting themselves from predators.

    just my idea....
  10. M@M@2four

    [email protected]@2four Songster

    Mar 12, 2008
    So, I have a funny little story to add to this...I did think this for a long time, but then realized that when they brood together, that's usually how they hang out in the yard. I had a set of duck eggs(Black East Indies) from Melanie from Flufnstuff and a set of Marans hatching at the same time. Four Marans hatched and only one duck egg hatched. At first, I had the duck in a separate brooder from the chicks, but as you all know, a lone duck does not shut up!!! [​IMG] For sanity sake, I put the duck in with the chicks...you can all probably guess where this is going. Now in the yard, I have 4 adult Marans and an adult duck click! lol I have about 15-20 ducks that free range and this one little duck that brooded with those Marans is in complete denial! My other ducks walk up to him and he looks at them like they're nuts! He wants nothing to do with them. It's sorta funny to watch those big ole marans strutting around and this little duck waddling right behind them!!! lol

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