Ordering more chicks - which breeds should I get?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by rzimmerer, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. rzimmerer

    rzimmerer Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 16, 2012
    I wasn't sure quite where to put this question but I figured managing your flock was the closest related to my question. I am going to be adding 50 laying hens to my flock next spring and I was just going to get a good layer breed. While perusing the hatchery website I saw that they offer a "mix bag" of layer hens. The hachery chooses the breeds of layer hens and you get what they give you. I am tempted to do this because it would be a great way to have a lot of different birds and a colorful and diverse flock. My question is, has anyone done this before? Is it advisable? Also, these new birds are going to be (hopefully) integrated into my flock of 35 plymouth rock birds once they are grown. I am also a production oriented operation, so would my desire for a colorful flock possibly hurt my yields in ways other than those intrinsic to the breeds themselves?
    Any thoughts, words of wisdom, and stories of experience would be much appreciated!
  2. maidenwolfx80

    maidenwolfx80 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2012
    I like a colorful flock as well, but want that fantastic laying. I chose breeds after researching and asking others. I didnt want a grab bag because they tend to put only 2-3 different breeds. I wanted more than that in variety. Dont know if this helps at all
  3. rzimmerer

    rzimmerer Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 16, 2012
    Yeah, thats helpful for sure! Just curious what other people's experiences are.
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    I've never ordered a mixed breeds batch from a hatchery, so I can't share an experience, but what I can say is that I found Australorps and Leghorns are fabulous layers. So I'd consider those if I want lots of eggs. My girls just kept going, through winter, hot summers, short days... you name it.

    Find out from the hatchery which breeds they will be selling you and have a look at the Breeds section and here for more info on them:

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  5. Frizzle13

    Frizzle13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2012
    I would pic out my fav looking breeds and then read up about their characteristics and pic a few breeds with similar characteristics.
  6. flood

    flood Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 24, 2012
    I hope others will post here. I know there are several people who purchased mixed boxes from Cackle. There is a whole thread about it but no real experiences there about raising them or if it is a good idea. Sounded like it was mostly for fun and people just sold what they didn't want. I'm interested in knowing about this too.
  7. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I'm figuring that with 50 layers, you are selling a bunch of your eggs. That said, I have a small mixed flock of Barred Plymouth Rocks, White Plymouth Rocks, Easter Eggers, Welsummers and Freedom Rangers. The BPRs and WPRs and Freedom Rangers lay eggs that fit in the brown category, although some are lighter and some are more pinkish than others. The Easter Eggers are quite productive and lay those pretty bluish eggs and the Welsummers lay dark brown eggs with chocolate spots. When I put a dozen eggs together to sell, I arrange them artisticly and include eggs of all variaties. They are absolutly beautiful and folks say things like "gasp" or "wow" or "aaawwww" when they see them. While I don't have enough to sell in large quantities, my two regular buyers pay $6 a dozen. So, you might want to consider the prettines factor in making your mixed flock decision too. While the Welsummers have not been as productive as the other hens, adding one or two Wellsummer eggs to a mixed dozen seem to drive their value up for some buyers.
  8. mtnviewfarms

    mtnviewfarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    You sound like me! I totally agree with Hummingbird about the 'wow' factor of variously colored large eggs. I sell mine at local farmers mkts and
    last year only had Barred Rock Large Brown Eggs and got $4 per dozen and this fall I ordered the Meyer Hatcherty 'All Pullet Rainbow Assortment' which contains 25 per assortment and I ordered two so had 50 two day olds ( also had all vaccinated for Mareks for nominal fee at Meyer ) that arrived on November 28th. They come from Ohio and it was a cold snap then and I lost several of them. I had ordered another 50 of them a month earlier and
    the postal service delayed them for an extra day so subsequently all but 3 of the 50 were DOA which was so sad - they would have been adorable.

    Anyway - learned a lot and next year I will order my chicks from Meyer for mid September before it gets too cold for them to be shipped as far as GA

    I am very 'pro' Meyer Hatchery and got my first flock of 50 Barred Rock chicks from them three years ago and - well you know how 'chicken math' is -
    there are never enough! Meyer replaced my order for the chicks that died due to postal service delay - they even added 6 extra at no charge.

    The breeds I got were EXACTLY what I want as, like you, I want high egg production but also desire the aesthetics of varied breeds and their distinctive
    behaviours, ways of moving, carrying themselves, personalities, etc. that you can't get by only having one breed - IMHO.

    I got Black Australorps ( my favorite all around breed for beauty, feather coloration, personality, calmness, regal way of carrying themselves and posture, HUGE gorgeous eggs that range in color from dark creamy to pinkish tinted and they continue to lay even w/o light in winter coop ); Buff Orpingtons
    (wanted to try but never have had before ), EE's - some that look like true Ameraucanas with the puffy faces and beards and thick green legs as well
    as regular EEs that are all so different in coloration - all unique, Barred Rocks ( these are the 'backbone' of my layer flock as 'dependable' is their
    middle name - they crank out nearly an egg per day in all weather and conditions ), a couple of Welsummers ( I have laying pullets of this breed in my
    current main flock and the large dark kind of coppery cast terra cotta colored eggs - some with even darker speckles - really makes a sale carton of
    eggs 'pop' to the buyer - Wellies are not as prolific layers as my BRs or Aussies but the 'wow' factor in that egg carton really 'does it' for me and my
    egg customers ), White (non-production) Leghorns ( have wanted to try them as I go for all colors of eggs in my cartons and I want their large white to
    ivory colored ones ) - all are only a few days shy of a month old now - I have four 'mystery' pullet babies who kind of look like
    cream colored BOs with darker tan wings - I haven't a clue what they are but all are supposed to be 'breeds' not hybrids.

    My plan was to raise these pullets and have them available for sale early Spring as POLs as I live near Atlanta and Chattanooga in North GA and the
    desire for POLs in my area far outweighs the availability - at least it did last year - I had so many calls from people wanting POLs beginning in March through October I could have 'named my price' if I had them available but I only was selling chicks I hatched out from my flock's fertile eggs.

    My biggest dilema now is that the quality and beauty of most of these chicks makes me want to keep them and add them to my flock when my need an intention was to raise them to sell - decisions - decisions!
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  9. Nancygardens

    Nancygardens Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 24, 2012
    SE Washington State USA

    I too am trying to decide what breeds for the addtl. hens as replacement stock.
    I'm thinking RIR Rhode Island reds, and more clean legged Morans b/c I like the darker brown eggs like we used to get when I was a kid.
    I love the colored leghorns also would like some that lay white eggs.

    Have barred rocks, E.E., black australorp, lt. brama, [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]sigh oh the choices.
    I've been studying the up on the breeds!

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Good luck with your choices every one. [/FONT]Thinking I could add 6-12 and get three or four of the ones I pick instead of trying to figure out what they are from the mix.

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