Mixed Flock of Gentle Breeds.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by aalissa, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. aalissa

    aalissa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It seems for me that I am drawn to all the gentler breeds. Arcaunas, Ameraucanas Favorelles etc.
    I was wondering if you have an entire flock of gentle birds that are normally picked on by the aggressive birds... does this not happen after the establishment of pecking order?
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    No matter how gentle the breed, there will be one at the top of the pecking order, and those under her vying for the spot. Gentle mix: Favorelles, EE or Ameraucana, Dominique!
     
  3. Pecking order will be established no matter what breeds you have, but yes, having primarily good-tempered breeds leads to a lower likelihood of problems. Remember, although some breeds generally are good-tempered, temperament can vary a lot between individual birds.
     
  4. aalissa

    aalissa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you both.
    I realize there will be a pecking order and those vying to obtain that position. It just appears I am drawn to those breeds for the dual purposes I am planning. I am a newbie and although I was raised on a working farm I have been away from that life style for a very long time and my grandparents were not as concerned with the birds well fare as I was nor am. I just felt there had to be a better way. Of course I understand more now than I did then however, I still will do it differently.As I am retired early (Nurse) I will be home all day so the chicken will be able to free range. and I'll eat the naughty ones.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Any established flock should have little to no pecking or drama on a routine day to day basis, no matter the breed. Animals for the most part chose to live in harmony and calmness, not drama. Excited or nervous animals are usually (not always, but often) a sign that management changes are needed.
     
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  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Space is more indicative of a flock getting along than breeds. Overcrowded space will make even gentle breeds behave with ugly mannerisms.

    As Donrae says, an established flock works this out, and it is pretty much the status quo, unless there is a change. A change that a lot of people miss is the change in size of the birds can cause overcrowding. What was more than enough space for chicks or even 8 week old birds may not be enough space for mature birds of an equal number. Another thing that will upset an established flock is the maturity of a young rooster, which can cause either too many roosters, competition with the established rooster, or competition with his flock mates.

    I have had a mixed flock for years, and as long as I have the numbers for the space right, I don't have aggression in the flock.

    Mrs K
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    What they said. To me there are four main reasons people complain about their chicken’s behavior on this forum. The worst and at the top of my list is lack of space. The more you crowd them the more behavioral problems you are likely to have.

    Second is that people look at a bunch of juveniles and think these should act like mature chickens. They are not adults. A group of immature, unrestrained, untrained, unsupervised teenagers are not going to act like adults.

    Third on my list is that the people looking at them don’t know how chickens are supposed to behave. What many of us see as normal chicken behavior others see as an emergency, a disaster. They are being mean to each other, they are hurting each other. Chickens mating, pecking order issues, and flock dominance issues are not necessarily for the faint of heart if you don’t know what you are looking at. The one image I don’t think I’ll ever get out of my mind is “That rooster was raping my hens so I blew him away with my shotgun”.

    Fourth on my major list is that you happened to get a brute. Whether they are born that way or are made that way is a debate I’m staying out of, but some chickens just don’t belong in a flock.

    There are other things but these are my main four. As long as you can get through the adolescent phase without freaking out and give them enough space a mature flock should be really calm, whether they have a rooster or not.
     
  8. aalissa

    aalissa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Space is more indicative of a flock getting along than breeds. Overcrowded space will make even gentle breeds behave with ugly mannerisms.

    As Donrae says, an established flock works this out, and it is pretty much the status quo, unless there is a change. A change that a lot of people miss is the change in size of the birds can cause overcrowding. What was more than enough space for chicks or even 8 week old birds may not be enough space for mature birds of an equal number. Another thing that will upset an established flock is the maturity of a young rooster, which can cause either too many roosters, competition with the established rooster, or competition with his flock mates.

    I have had a mixed flock for years, and as long as I have the numbers for the space right, I don't have aggression in the flock.

    Mrs K
    [/quoteY plan is to have double the space needed per bird as I know that I will need extra space between the time the roosters are hatched and the time they will need to be butchered and in that te I will see which rooster/ roosters will be left for breeding. I have been around chickens a lot of my life however, on my grandparents farm it was much different and their number one goal was profit. They had birds that were for eggs and they weren't to be handled or coddled in anyway. They weren't cruel persa however, the chickens were neglected. Feed watered and that's about it.
    I understand pecking order, rooster behavior and the like... I was just curious about the blend of calm birds. My grandparents had one kind of bird and they never wavered from that breed. And they weren't any of the breeds I like. So I guess curiosity and the opinions of people that have or have had those breeds.
    Thank you for your input all information and advice is greatly appreciated.
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I realize I did not answer your question directly. I thought the others did a fairly good job of that. I’m not a strong believer in breeds. I understand that some breeds have general tendencies but I’m much more of a believer in strains within breeds. Most people that are breeding breeds are breeding for appearance or production. There are extremely few people breeding for behavior. With chickens if you don’t breed to reinforce certain traits you lose those traits.

    If the person selecting the breeding birds takes certain behaviors into consideration then you can get a strain within the breed that generally has those behaviors. Within a few generations you get a flock that either does or does not go broody often, forages well, takes confinement well, or whatever behaviors you are selecting for. If you remove from your breeding flock any chicken that shows brutish, thuggish behavior in a few generations you have a flock that doesn’t have much of that behavior. That can be a rooster or a hen, either one. This applies to game chickens with a reputation for fighting as much as any other breed. Some games are raised to fight but some have been raised to be members of a flock and peacefully coexist.

    I think where you get your birds has a lot to do with how they will behave. Unfortunately most (probably all) hatcheries and most breeders don’t take this into consideration much if at all. Even then, each chicken is an individual. You have to have enough of those chickens for the averages to mean much. Most of us don’t.

    Any flock of chickens will establish a pecking order, it doesn’t matter what breed or mix of breeds, strain or mix of strains. Each flock will establish a flock master, a hen if there are no mature roosters around. How much room you provide when those are established and after they are established will have a lot more to do with how much violence you see than breed.

    There is certainly some luck involved in which individuals of any breed or strain you get and I wish you luck in that. Even with the gentlest breeds and strains you will see some violence when they are establishing flock dynamics, but if they have sufficient space and you can get through the adolescent phase, you have a real good chance of having a gentle mature flock.
     
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  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Both Mrs. K, and Ridgerunner (as usual) hit the nail right on the head. Have fun picking out your flock. Have you looked at Henderson's chicken breeds chart?
     

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