I had two broody Buff Orpingtons hatch out a handful of Buff Orpington babies in August. We also ordered 25 mixed heavy breed male day-olds from a hatchery, to raise for meat. Most of the hen-hatched babies were only a day or two old when the hatchery babies arrived, so we successfully snuck all the hatchery chicks underneath the two broody moms. They kept them warm, fed them, looked after them, clucked at them, showed them how to eat, etc. for around eight hours. Suddenly, I noticed Mama A pecking at the non-buff colored babies in her care! I thought it was just me seeing things, or perhaps it was just one chick she didn't like. Three dark chicks later, I realized I had a problem... So. I did some switching around, and gave the dark color babies to Mama B, and all the Buffs/Whites/Golds to Mama A. Mama A did well with this switch, adopted all the chicks in her care, and never pecked at another baby. She had 16 chicks and is still doing a great job today, over six weeks later, with her mostly-buff brood. Mama B did great for about an hour, when I (unbelievably) noticed her beginning to peck at the dark babies, too! Again, I watched for a while to make sure I wasn't seeing things, and she was, indeed, chasing around and pecking at the darker babies. So I sighed, let her keep her two original buff babies, and placed all the remaining babies in a brooder. They've been doing fine and are getting big. Question 1: Is this normal? Do all hens attack different colored babies? Or is this because my hens had only hatched buffs before, and the new (dark) babies were unfamiliar? Why did they do well for most of the day (eight hours!) without pecking at the babies - are they just slow? Question 2: Can I have a roo of a different breed, or will they attack their own mixed-breed babies next year? We are thinking of picking a roo from our meat birds to replace our current roo, just to mix up the bloodlines a bit and go for some hybrid vigor. We have some nice dual purpose varieties to choose from. But I'm afraid the same mamas will go broody next year and hatch out dark babies that they will just try to kill. I kind of hate hand-rearing chicks, so I really want the hens to do it. Thanks for any help, if you've made it this far. I'm really puzzled by this whole ordeal.