Mixed Flock Ideas for a beginner?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Thiriel, Jun 6, 2016.

  1. Thiriel

    Thiriel Just Hatched

    Hello,

    I'm planning on starting my own (small) flock of chickens within the next few years, but I figured I'd get started on learning how to take care of the little dears and was looking for some opinions before I take the dive.

    I'm looking for a dual purpose bird and I've already decided to go with at least a few Buff Orpington for a few hens and my rooster when I am ready to start breeding my own flock, but I also wanted to add a slash of colour, while making sure not to get something that would either disturb my neighbours, or bully my BO, as I read that they are rather docile and prone to being bullied, which is something that both my boyfriend (who is currently tolerant to the idea of chickens) and I are worried about.

    I was thinking about either a Dominique or a Silver-Laced Wyandotte (I like silver :p), though I am open to other suggestions, but they do need to meet requirements, if only for health/safety/sanity reasons.

    I live in New Brunswick and while our winters might not be that harsh, there are still periods of time when the snow can fall a few feet within a few days and the wind can get nasty, so I need something cold-hardy (no naked-necks for me, sorry fans!), and my boyfriend and I don't really need a ton of eggs, though we would both appreciate them and a bird who has some meat to him/her.

    I want something with a little personality, curious, but not dominate.

    Thank you for any help!
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    My favorite common breeds include Wyandottes, Sussex, Easter Eggers, Black and Red Sex Links, Plymouth Rocks, Orpingtons, Cochins, and Brahmas. Any of these would make great additions to a backyard flock. The Sex Links are the best layers, and both Blacks and Reds can be quite beautiful. Golden, Silver, and Blue Laced Red Wyandottes as well as Speckled Sussex are all eye-candy. Easter Eggers are a mixed bag of plumage colors that will likely lay you beautiful blue or green eggs. Orpingtons you have already read up on, but they are beautiful birds with great personalities. Cochins and Brahmas are below average layers, but make great pets and come in many lovely colors (see especially Dark Brahmas).
     
  3. Thiriel

    Thiriel Just Hatched

    I was just wondering though, is SLW and Dominiques would get along well with the BO's? Does anyone have any experience with that combination, or should I just stick to one breed for now?
     
  4. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    No! Definitely get a mixture of breeds. BOs aren't really all that much more likely to be picked on than any other breed, unless they're flockmates are something particularly aggressive. And the only breed I know of which has that much aggression in today's common Rhode Island Reds (more correctly, Production Reds). Silver Laced Wyandottes and Dominiques both have average temperaments. Doms can be a tad dominant but not really "aggressive." There will always be a pecking order and it often will vary based on individual, not necessarily breed.
     
  5. elevatedruby

    elevatedruby Out Of The Brooder

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    if you are wanting to watch to see if the pesonality of mine are suitable. they arent what you wanted but maybe it can give you an idea of what your other breed might be. i have barred rocks and rhode island reds that i will make some black stars/sexlinks. i dont know for sure how i plan on getting the roundheads used because not sure on sexing. i might take pictures of them so i can get help, but they supposedly cant be sexed till 4 weeks.
     
  6. Thiriel

    Thiriel Just Hatched

    Thanks everyone, I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't getting something that was over my head, I was only thinking of getting one or two of each breed. I know they are individuals, but I also know that certain personalities are more likely to appear in different breeds than others.

    I think though, that I should be fine with BO, SLW and either Domiques or Delawares, that shouldn't be too much to handle, right?
     
  7. elevatedruby

    elevatedruby Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 4, 2016
    Gatesville, texas
    not too time demanding since small amount of each. i got 25 at a time and they grew to coop size in three weeks with plenty of room i believe was a 5x8 pen i made in my laundry room. as long as you keep it cleen. my white walls have taken some punishment but bleach and water will fix that right back up. is there a specific worry that keeps popping up remember there is no such thing as a dumb question
     
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Breed selection is a pretty personal choice. I got some that I like, some that I detested. Yet the breeds I hated were often the ones everyone else liked, so go figger? I can't stand Golden Laced Wyandottes - I had 5 of them and couldn't give them away fast enough. Bullies with feathers and a gang mentality! If one GLW was picking on one of the other breeds out there, the other four would race over and get their licks in on the poor victim too. Some folks agree, some disagree.

    I would give you two pieces of advice, if I might, aside from actually picking breeds. First, do not be afraid or embarrassed to say, "Gee, I thought I'd really like this but I just don't." Think it, say it, then get rid of them. You are so right about individual variations within breeds or varieties. I couldn't wait to get Buff Brahmas...had to have some. Yes, they are pretty. Yes, they lay well. And yes, they handle our cold Wyoming winters beautifully. But I do NOT like feathered legs. I thought I would...they look so cool! But they track everything into the nest. So I have to put on my big girl panties, admit I made a mistake, and move on. Personally I love a mixed flock, and mine is most definitely that! Aside from the GLW debacle, I have had no issues with them getting along.

    Second, plan and build your coop first! Chicks aren't chicks for long - they think their job is to outgrow everything you put them in almost before you turn your back. When I got my first chicks, I suddenly ended up with 22 chicks in an undersized brooder in an undersized office in an undersized house. Dust, dander, noise.....cleaning over and over again. Got them the last week in February. In Wyoming. Yeah, brilliant! I finally evicted them on April 1 into an unfinished coop with temps in the teens and snow. The little boogers thrived. I still have many of them. But from that batch on, I have brooded my chicks outdoors ever since. Have fun with it! You will find your best friend will be your own common sense!

    All that said, a lot of us say we want "dual purpose" chickens. Then, when the time comes, for whatever reason we just don't get out there and convert them from egg layers to meat. Many people find that's not as easy to do as it to say. I'm lucky - I can cull when I need to and have no qualms about it. But I do tend to put it off. [​IMG] Well, they're cute, doggone it.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
    2 people like this.
  9. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop


    ^ This is some great advice right here
     
  10. Thiriel

    Thiriel Just Hatched

    Thank Blooie, I'll certainly keep that in mind! I liked the look of the Light Brahamas to, but then saw the feathered legs and went No. I may not know exactly what I want, but I know what I do no want, but thats wen I found the Delawares and went, this'll do!

    As for the coop, I have a few ideas about that as well, I can't find what I want online, at least in a reasonable price, but getting ideas.

    I know I want something large enough I can fit in, at least until I get my stable built, then I can put them in a modified stall at night.

    Was thinking of finding an old shed or baby barn to convert, and my boyfriend proposed making our own with pallets and working from there.

    As I said, this is at least a year or three down the road, I just want to get my...er..chicks in a row before I actually commit.

    And as for culling, I might have a slightly hard time with it, but that's what the boyfriend will be for; I convinced him to get chickens through his stomach!

    Is there a difference in SLW and GWL, besides colour?
     

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