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mixed flock??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by juliejohnson805, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. juliejohnson805

    juliejohnson805 Out Of The Brooder

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    What do you see as the pros and cons of having a mixed breed flock? I'm new to this and with my first purchase ended up with roos. I have kept 2 of them and have been told that I need around 20 hens to keep everyone happy. They free range every evening and weekend. I'm in this mainly for the eggs for my family and to sell with my organic veggie business. We do really enjoy interacting with them and like to hand feed/pet all that will allow it. This is what I have: 2 EE roos, 1 EE, 2 Jersey Giant, 1 English Orphington, 3 Marans, 3 Barnevelders, 3 Domineckers, 3 Barred Rock, 3 Buff Orphingtons, 3 Red Star, and 3 Amercaunas (these might end up being EE not sure yet). I have ordered some of these from a hatchery and some from local breeder. I'm thinking I have went a little overboard......[​IMG]
     
  2. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not 100% sure what you are trying to ask.

    I like having a mix of birds to look at, but as I start to think about maybe breeding a sustainable flock in the future, I don't like the idea of nothing but barnyard mixes, I wouldn't mind getting a heritage breed or two to help preserve.

    It's really all personal preference. There isn't a "wrong" type of flock, unless, you want eggs and end up with all roos. LOL
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The hen-rooster ratio has nothing to do with keeping the flock happy, keeping roosters form fighting, preventing over-mating or barebacked hens, or any of the other problems you often hear about. The 10 to 1 ratio you often read about is purely the ratio many hatcheries finds keeps the eggs fertile in their specific conditions, which is the pen breeding system. Many people keep one rooster with over 20 hens and the eggs are fertile. Many breeders keep one rooster with one or two hens during the breeding season and don’t have the problems. A lot of people keep two or more roosters with a lot smaller ratio than that 10 to 1 and don’t have problems. Some with ratios greater than 10 to 1 do have problems. There are so many variables involved I can’t even start to guess what number of roosters would work best for you. In general, the more room they have the easier it is and the fewer roosters you have the easier it is.

    I always suggest you keep as few roosters as possible and still meet your goals. That’s not because you are guaranteed problems with more roosters, just that problems are more likely the more you have. If you want to use that magic ratio as an excuse to get more hens, go for it. It will make a nice flock, but it’s just an excuse not a real reason.

    The pros and cons of a mixed breed versus pure breed flock come down to your goals. If you are going to show them, you need a pure breed flock, as far as breeding. If you are going to sell hatching eggs or chicks pure breeds sell better, though your EE’s might do pretty well there too and they are not pure breed. If you have chickens for eggs, meat, pets, bug control, or just about every other reason, to me it just doesn’t matter.
     
  4. ChickGuyTJ

    ChickGuyTJ New Egg

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    I personally am happy with my mixed breed flock. I love having a variety of chickens and egg colors. You can get into trouble if you have chickens that tend to be more aggressive with breeds that tend to not stand up for themselves. For instance, you may end up with a buff orpington that gets picked on by a barred rock, but not necessarily.
     
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I too have a mixed breed flock. In fact, when I nearly had an entire do over, due to a predator... I went back to a mix breed flock. There is a lot of variety in a mix breed flock. So, it is hard to increase either egg laying or butcher weight when you have this type of flock.

    If you would like to keep this flock ongoing, you will wind up with lower and lower averages of egg laying and weight/feed conversion. However, you are talking years of keeping and breeding birds. An easy way to improve this is buy a higher quality full blood rooster, that has the qualities that you need to address. Most back yard flocks, don't undergo this kind of scrutiny or data keeping, few of us are that desperate that getting 7 eggs a day makes a difference over 5 eggs. We just get eggs, sometimes more, sometimes less, generally enough.

    If you are going with a long term breeding for production, then a mixed flock probably is not what you want. If you don't know what you want, a mix breed can expose you to several breeds and help you decide. Many times, I was sure, "this was the breed" but, really, I like different looking birds.

    Mrs K
     
  6. juliejohnson805

    juliejohnson805 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the advice. I am excited about seeing how the different breeds interact with each other and us. When I have to replace a rooster I will definately go with a high quality one that is from a layer breed. I guess my main thought was if I have EE roos now and they breed with these different breeds then I will end up with a Heinz 57 flock so to speak. I guess I could solve that by not hatching any of my own eggs for the first couple of years.

    Question: How often will I have to replace a rooster? Logic says that I need to cull and add new hens yearly.....is that right?
     
  7. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you aren't keeping pure breeds in separate breeding pens to continue the breed, or using breeds that result in sex-linked offspring, you will end up with a flock of mixed breeds no matter what your rooster is.

    Most people seem to replace roosters every two or three years. Sometimes they will keep a rooster longer, but start to introduce the younger challenger as well, if they have enough hens (AND ROOM) to do so.

    With hens, again, it depends on your goals. If you are just keeping layers for your own food and entertainment, and not breeding to standard or trying to improve a breed, you may have some hens for several years. If you just want to focus on maximum egg production you might cull the hens as they go into molt their second fall, but there are birds that produce well beyond that 16-20 months mark, so you may be leaving some production on the table if you slash and burn the flock every year. But if you have the eggs/chicks/pullets to replace, and only want to feed birds through the winter that are going to lay more reliably, then that is certainly an option.

    "have to" and "need" and "must" aren't really words that apply to raising chickens (or any other livestock for that matter) when it comes to management practices. They have a relatively narrow set of needs that MUST be met. But when it comes to when, and how, and the daily ins and outs of managing your flock or herd, there are more options than you can ever attempt to try. It's just about finding the system that works for you.
     
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