How many chickens do you need to maintain the genetic integrity of a flock of chickens?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Mike1988, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. Mike1988

    Mike1988 New Egg

    Nov 27, 2013
    Hello my name is Michael and I am new to and have been having difficulty with my research into how many chickens I need if I want to try to make a self sustaining flock of chickens. I am interested in this for I would like to get into conserving some of the heritage breeds such as the Buckeye Chicken, Delaware, Barred Plymouth Rock, and Sussex. Have not settled on the breed I plan on going with and I have a few years before I can start since I am finishing up my last year and a half of school but want to research this thoroughly before I begin. I love the personality of some of these birds and want to work on making the meet qualities from some of these dual purpose heritage breed strains even better. Thanks for the help in advance and I look forward to getting to know some of you.
  2. ChicknsRock

    ChicknsRock Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 4, 2013
    [​IMG] Barred Plymouth Rocks are awesome chickens!
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    It is good to think ahead and do some planning. If you talk to someone who breeds heritage birds and seeks to keep their breeding at top form, they'll likely recommend focusing on just one breed. The reasons are many, but the most important aspect of breeding to the Standard is that it simply takes a lot of chicks put on the ground each year in order to keep improving your flock. There is no such thing as "standing still" when preserving these venerable breeds. If your flock is standing still, you're actually backing up. You must continue to improve with each breeding cycle.

    To do that, most long time breeders will tell you it takes between 75-100 chicks from very selective breeding matches. Thus, doing right by one breed takes a lot of space, time and commitment. Very few folks can genuinely dedicate the resources required to do right by 3 or 4 breeds. That would take an enormous commitment. Hope some of these insights give you things to ponder.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
    2 people like this.
  4. Mike1988

    Mike1988 New Egg

    Nov 27, 2013
    Thanks, I'll see if I can talk to some of the heritage breeders on the site and I am looking at possibly raising over 200 birds so the 100 birds required sounds rather encouraging. Thanks for the welcome roostersandhens.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
  6. petrel

    petrel Chats with Chickens

    Welcome and Good Luck!
  7. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome to BYC! Good luck with your projects. There are a number of organizations that track what they consider heritage breeds, ie.
    1 person likes this.
  8. liz9910

    liz9910 Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2012
    Northern California
    Welcome to BYC! Fred's Hens gave you excellent advice, good luck to you!
  9. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Welcome to BYC, and good luck.

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