Mixing breeds in my flock

jdublu

In the Brooder
Mar 15, 2017
12
9
29
Hi! Just joined, and getting ready for my first backyard chickens. I'll be placing my first chick order soon and have been doing a ton of research on what breeds to get. I know I want a mixed flock, and can only start with 6. I've narrowed it down to these 5 breeds: buff Orpington, Rhode Island Red, barred rock, Sussex, and ameraucana. Should I get one of each and double up on one breed, or 2 each of 3 breeds? I need them to be docile since I have 4 boys under the age of 6, and they will be my helpers....and we eat a lot of eggs so I want producers. What are your opinions? Thanks in advance!
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,610
26,708
907
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
I'd opt for 2 each of 3 breeds, or 3 each of 2 breeds. I'm not fond of RIR. IMO, they tend to be a bit on the aggressive side. Where are you located. Climate can affect breed selection. Large combs do well in warm climates, while smaller combs do better in colder climates. My personal preference is to avoid feathered feet no matter what the climate, as those feathers are magnets for ice, snow, and mud, as well as chicken poo, which can then be tracked into the nest.

Ameraucana's (EE) are a must have, though, unless you buy from a breeder, what is called Ameraucana by the hatchery or feed store they are really Easter Eggers. Lovely birds, and they provide some nice color for the egg basket.

Check out Henderson's Chicken Breeds Chart.
 
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lutherpug

Crowing
6 Years
Jan 5, 2014
602
635
252
Kansas City Area
I'd opt for 2 each of 3 breeds, or 3 each of 2 breeds. I'm not fond of RIR. IMO, they tend to be a bit on the aggressive side. Where are you located. Climate can affect breed selection. Large combs do well in warm climates, while smaller combs do better in colder climates. My personal preference is to avoid feathered feet no matter what the climate, as those feathers are magnets for ice, snow, and mud, as well as chicken poo, which can then be tracked into the nest.

Ameraucana's (EE) are a must have, though, unless you buy from a breeder, what is called Ameraucana by the hatchery or feed store they are really Easter Eggers. Lovely birds, and they provide some nice color for the egg basket.

Check out Henderson's Chicken Breeds Chart.
Agree about the RIR. I have one and she is at the root of every flock dynamic issue we've had. I love my Australorp, Dominique, Lavender Orpington, and EE though. If I had room for a Buff Orpington and a Speckled Sussex they'd be my next acquisitions. Good luck!
 

song of joy

Crowing
7 Years
Apr 22, 2012
1,191
653
251
Central Pennsylvania
I've had flock dynamics issues with more than half of the hatchery barred rocks I've gotten. They haven't been people-aggressive, but some have been very grumpy on the roost with flock mates, so much so that a few had to be culled. They were all good layers though.

I've only had a couple of RIR hens. One was a little bit people-aggressive, but I corrected that behavior via training. Unfortunately, my RIR experienced what appeared to be egg yolk peritonitis (internal laying) and had to be put down. This can happen with high production breeds.

I love variety, so if it were me, I'd opt for 1 of each breed. It's a great way to get to know the breeds, although keep in mind that each hen has its own personality so don't pass judgment on an entire breed based on the character of one or two individuals.

You may want to consider dominiques. They're good layers and usually have a very nice temperament. I'd also highly recommend black australorps. Easter eggers are just plain fun with their fluffy beards and colored eggs.
 
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lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,610
26,708
907
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
I hesitate to give much to others in terms of breed recommendations. But, since several of you have already done so... I'm gonna join the recommendation party. Dominiques. Awesome breed, incredible temperament, beautiful soft feathers, gorgeous birds... eye candy for the lawn. Wonderful foragers. Only breed I've had go broody in the last 4 years. People friendly, not aggressive to flock mates. make a wonderful match with EE as far as size and temperament go. There. I'm done now! Love Doms and EE.
 

lutherpug

Crowing
6 Years
Jan 5, 2014
602
635
252
Kansas City Area
I hesitate to give much to others in terms of breed recommendations. But, since several of you have already done so... I'm gonna join the recommendation party. Dominiques. Awesome breed, incredible temperament, beautiful soft feathers, gorgeous birds... eye candy for the lawn. Wonderful foragers. Only breed I've had go broody in the last 4 years. People friendly, not aggressive to flock mates. make a wonderful match with EE as far as size and temperament go. There. I'm done now! Love Doms and EE.
I absolutely adore my Dominique too! She is at the top of the pecking order in my flock but she is very friendly, good to the other birds, and just generally hilarious. Curious and confident but good natured. My only complaint, and it is very minor, is her eggs are on the smaller side but other than that she is just great.

I'm glad to see several of us touting this bird, I don't think they're super common.
 

tmarsh83

Songster
Oct 16, 2015
554
235
156
NEIN
Breed recommendations are tricky, because individuals aren't the group. If you want them to be docile, you'll need to put a lot of time and effort into conditioning the birds when they are young. If you don't do that you may well have trouble regardless.

X2 on climate being a consideration.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,610
26,708
907
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Quote: Agreed. If you are wanting large eggs, than the Dom may not be your first choice. However, all of the many advantages of them outweigh this little detail. I'm adding some Doms back into my flock this year. I think I went 1 or 2 years without them, and that was 1 or 2 years too long. An other plus: paired with just about any roo other than a white one or a barred one, those Dom hens will make some lovely little Black Sex Link Chicks. Paired with my EE roo, I get BSL's that lay lovely olive colored eggs, and those eggs are larger than their Dom mother's eggs were! And they have a stylish little walnut comb.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
3,879
581
Southern Oregon


From these breeds...

buff Orpington, Rhode Island Red, barred rock, Sussex, and ameraucana.

Myself, I would nix the Red, but that's my personal preference. I'd go with one each of the Orpington, Rock and Sussex, and three EE. I think kiddos and Easter eggers are just a match made in heaven. Different colored hens, different colored eggs, usually decently calm and friendly birds.

Other good breeds with kiddos are Australorps, Faverolles (they're not as productive, though) and Wyandottes.
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
10 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,145
12,203
707
Southeast Louisiana
As you can see we all have different opinions. Mine goes along more with Donrae and I suggest a really mixed flock. EE’s are a mix so no two should look alike, you should easily be able to tell them apart. There is no guarantee what color of egg EE’s will lay either so having a few gives you a much better chance of getting blue or green eggs.

With the numbers you are getting breed behavior doesn’t mean very much. Breeds do have tendencies, but the person breeding them has to breed for those tendencies to reinforce them. I just don’t see that much difference between a lot of breeds behaviorally, especially chickens from hatcheries. Each chicken is an individual so while breeds may have tendencies you have to have a statistically relevant number for those averages to mean a lot. You won’t. Still, breed is your best guide.

I don’t have any pure bred chickens in my flock right now. Some look similar to others but a lot don’t. That’s part of my goal, to have a really different-looking flock. I have not observed any behavioral problems because some chickens look different from each other. Sometimes I do see issues based on individual personalities. I have had purebreds in my flock at points in the past. In my opinion, I’ve had just as many behavioral problems between chickens of the same breed as between chickens that look different. It’s quite obvious other people have a different opinion. Many of them are people I highly respect for their knowledge and observation skills. We’ve just seen different things, had different experiences.

In my opinion you will be happy whichever way you go but my personal preference would be to really mix it up.

And welcome.to the forum. :frow If you stick around (and I hope you do) you'll see that we often have different opinions. Our experiences and knowledge bases are different.
 
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