Mixing Breeds

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Lookin4GoodLife, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. Lookin4GoodLife

    Lookin4GoodLife Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2013
    Not sure where to ask this, so thought I'd try here.

    When I start my new flock at my farm, I was thinking of having a few different breeds in there to vary the color of my eggs. I will not be separating every breed, however, so the problem arises of the breeds mixing as they will be free ranging most of the time. I'm entirely ok with that, but my question is this..... after a generation or two, will all the colors of my eggs just become one muddy mess or will some funky mutt still produce a shiny blue, dark brown, or whatever egg? I read that the dark brown egg gene of Cuckoo Marans is recessive, so if they mix, that gene will disappear.

    I'm mostly concerned with keeping a closed flock and the health of the birds regardless of the colors of the eggs, but I would like to be able to insert a couple contrasting eggs in my customer's cartons so they never know what they're getting. I was thinking of a few Black Australorps and a few RIR's for brown eggs, some White Leghorns for whites and to hopefully breed in the positive characteristics of those birds, some Marans for the dark brown eggs, some Cream Legbars for blue eggs, and an EE or whatever I can find to try to get some greens in there. I was going to order all pullets, and order maybe 2 or 3 Black Australorp roosters to "do the deed". Oh yeah, I was going to throw in 3 Buff Orpingtons for their broodiness to hatch eggs for me on occasion.

    Short of a predator getting in and wiping *everything* out, or some avian disease, I was hoping to raise offspring as birds get older, have weaker characteristics and have to be culled, or whatever and not have to introduce new birds in there. I've currently got 6 Golden Sex Links at my house, I'll have some of the birds in a chicken coop on my farm with a large fenced free range area and the remainder in a Geoff Lawton "chicken tractor on steroids" moving around fertilizing my fields. So they'll be spread into 3 different "groups" for bio security as long as I do my part in cleaning myself between groups. Just playing with some ideas. I'll be raising a few ducks, turkeys and geese as well, but I'll try to figure out where to keep them after I figure out what to do with my chicken situation. :) Right now, I'm just trying to plan my farm, what various types of housing I'll need and where to build such housing on the farm as I find good spots and clear out trees and underbrush.
  2. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop

    Mixing Chicken Breeds for Egg Color
    by Jessica Lane
    a simpler illustrated discussion.
    A Review of Egg Color in Chickens
    Tim Adkerson
    a very through scientific discussion.

    You do not need to run roosters with the hens in order to have the hens lay eggs. Coop your roosters separate from your hens in a bachelor pen. There are definite formulas for mating the birds to get particular colors of eggs so that should make it easy for you.
    1. A brown egg layer breed mated to a blue egg layer breed give offspring which lay green eggs.
    2. Marans and Welsummers lay dark brown eggs.
    3. Araucanas lay blue eggs.
    4. Easter Eggers lay green eggs.

    Just keep the roosters separate from the hens until breeding season. Then put the rooster of choice with the hens of choice ( for instance a Marans rooster with an Araucana hens to get the mating you need to produce green egg laying chickens. If you let the roosters run willy-nilly thru the flock, yes, your egg colors will get muddy and impure.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I would utilize the roosters to have something besides regular brown eggs. A Marans or CCL rooster, so any pullet offspring would have colored eggs, to some extent.

    Just a word on Australorp roosters---black is a very dominant color. If you have black roosters, you're going to have a ton of black chicks. If you're looking for more visual variety in feather color, you may want another color.

    If you just randomly hatch eggs, then yes, after a few generations you'd likely wind up with a lot of green/brown eggs. There would still be a lot of variety in shades, especially of the green, so not necessarily a bad thing.

    The nice thing is, chickens are one of the easiest animals to control their reproduction. Mating does not equal pregnancy, like with mammals. You, the human, get to choose which eggs to incubate. You can do select matings with specific birds if you want, to get a particular offspring. Or, you can randomly pull that day's eggs when you get a broody hen--I've done that and had some beautiful birds result.

    I understand wanting to keep a closed flock. But, eventually you'll probably want to bring in new stock, at least a new rooster. That would be a good chance to clarify your egg color again, with a blue or dark brown egger rooster. In my experience, a rooster is good and fertile for 4 years or so. They probably last longer than that, but around here my attention span is short and I change my projects, so out with the old and in with the new [​IMG]
  4. Lookin4GoodLife

    Lookin4GoodLife Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2013
    Thank y'all for responding. I don't really care what color the chickens are, just want a splash of color in the egg boxes. I understand what y'all are saying, I'd just hate to coop the roosters up separate. Plus, I'd like the roosters out there protecting their girls. I may just have to have separate areas for each color range of eggs I want. That's why I'm trying to work this out in the "planning stage" before I start building coops and fencing off areas. :) I don't have to have a totally closed flock, but I just want to be really careful to keep my flock healthy. I will have a quarantine area away from the main flock, and I will have brooding areas separate, but right next to my main area so the chicks are separated, but so the other chickens can see them and get used to them through the wire. I'm also interested in that spiral breeding, but realize I'll have to keep birds in separate areas for that. I'm not the "tree hugger" type, but do hate it when I see the chicken trucks running through my town packed to the rim with all those poor chickens slammed in there. Then when you can just tell how happy the 6 hens I currently have are when I let them out of their run in the evenings to free range in my small back yard..... Anyway....

    I'm not planning a huge flock, by any means. Probably just a couple dozen in my main area with all the different breeds and then a couple dozen Black Australorps in my chicken tractor out in my field area to fertilize. When I design my coop and runs, I'll come up with something that's configurable like Legos or something so I can change it around easily if my needs change. Not sure any of them will be truly "free range" but the area will be large enough, they won't know any different. :) I guess that'd be "cage free". I'm not really hung up on labels either, and my customers won't care. If they do, I'd recommend they get their eggs elsewhere. I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. LOL Thanks again.

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