Pros and Cons of having a mixed flock?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Ladybug2001, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. Ladybug2001

    Ladybug2001 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey everyone!

    I was looking into getting Wyandottes, Sussex, or Plymouth Rocks.

    What are the pros and cons of having a mixed flock versus all the same breed?
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I love a mixed flock, and would not do it any other way. Gives a nice colorful egg basket, makes it easier to tell the birds apart, makes the flock more visually appealing. I do recommend getting 2 or 3 of each breed that you do get, b/c birds of a feather tend to flock together. Got kids? consider EE for their colorful eggs. But, be sure to pick your birds based on reputation for temperament, and I suggest that you leave the birds with "wild hair do's" out of the mix, cause they can sometimes get picked on. Also, some birds do not accept confinement as well as others. Check out Henderson's Chicken Breeds Chart.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    A flock of different breeds works very well, and is more interesting, IMO. The birds are likely to molt at different times, and spread out their egg laying, which is a big help. It will be easier to tell them apart! Over the years I've ordered birds of many different breeds, all compatible with my climate (Michigan), and found that some were much better here than others. Order what looks interesting, and enjoy! I've had and really liked all of your choices, too. Mary
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    LG is right! If you don't have some EEs, and French Marans or Welsummers, add a few for that egg basket. Mary
     
  5. Ladybug2001

    Ladybug2001 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will check out Henderson's Chicken Breeds Chart that you mentioned.

    The breeds I mentioned were selected based on somewhat looks, egg laying ability, bearing confinement, tendency to be docile, and broodiness.

    I want to start out with around 10. So I was thinking of doing 3 each and settling for 9 total.
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    I agree with everything said previously. If you ever have one that you need to keep an eye on for some reason, it makes it easier to tell which is which. I ordered only two of a breed, and due to a shortage only got one that time, so order 2 or more. My chicks have usually come from the nearest hatchery that had the breeds I wanted, and that can beneficial in that the chicks won't spend too long in transit which can be harmful. I would get 10 if you want 9, just in case of losing one. Meyer Hatchery where mine comes from has a good description of breeds, temperaments, average number of eggs, and egg color on their website here: https://www.meyerhatchery.com/get_subcat.a5w?cat=1020 Good luck!
     
  7. Ladybug2001

    Ladybug2001 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is probably the best hatchery I have seen. Though then minimum order until the end of March is 15 chicks.
     
  8. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm also a mixed flock fan, for many of the reasons already given by others. When I started my flock, I wasn't really sure which breeds would be the best fit, so getting two of several different breeds allowed me to get to know the breeds better (egg color, temperament, weather hardiness, etc.) - there really aren't any breeds I wouldn't get again, but I think I have a much better understanding of some of the unique characteristics of each breed. And mixing them is a lot of fun...you never know what you're going to get!

    BTW, I have SLW and GLW, and had Barred and Plymouth Rocks until predators got them. Good dual-purpose breeds, all.
     
  9. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi. [​IMG]

    I also wouldn't have it any other way and usually suggest it to new chicken folk. It's nice to have a variety of eye candy on pasture and my neighbors always comment about it being lovely. [​IMG]

    If you have all the same breed it can make it harder to tell when someone is having health or laying issues.

    I feel like a kid when I collect my colorful basket! [​IMG] And highly recommend it. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I will always have a couple EE. And I do like the Marans eggs, but they are the farthest from docile I've had. If you have heavy predator load they would probably be fantastic. Those girls and boys put up a heck of a fight when you are trying to treat for something and they seen to be the most aggressive towards other birds out of my flock of 50+ with MANY breeds. No matter what the typical of any breed is, I have found that every single bird is an individual and will act as and lay when they darn well please. [​IMG]

    Also, Henderson's chart is pretty good but my experience doesn't agree with everything they state... which like I said all are individual... We also all have different climates and set ups that might effect that. Since I have it on hand all the time for a quick reference, here is the link... I saw another chart also. Though they don't include every breed like Swedish Flower or maybe some other rare breeds.

    https://livestockconservancy.org/images/uploads/docs/pickachicken.pdf

    http://www.sagehenfarmlodi.com/chooks/chooks.html

    So many choices, best wishes! [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    To me the pros and cons totally depend on your goals. Why do you want chickens? Your goals will tell you that it really doesn’t matter or it’s important to you.

    Breed is a manmade thing. Chickens don’t see each other as belonging to a breed, they just see chickens. From what I’ve seen it’s not the color that causes chickens to hang together as much as either them being raised together (those often form lifelong bonds) or similar personalities. Some chickens are bolder or more curious than others, some more sedate and laid back. Certain breeds do have behavioral tendencies and we tend to get chicks of one breed and raise them as a group, so yes you will often see birds of the same color hanging together, but I’ve seen some sub-groups in the flock that don’t look at all like each other.

    I don’t know where you are getting your chicks, but the breeds you mentioned all come in varying colors and patterns, though your choice of Sussex may be pretty limited since you are in the USA. Many hatcheries charge extra the more you mix different breeds or colors of the same breed. If I could do it without the costs getting outrageous my personal preference would be to get a different color/pattern for each chicken. But that’s just my personal opinion. My flock is a barnyard mix, I don’t have any pure breeds in them now. A few kind if look like each other but a lot don’t. I’ve never seen that as a problem.

    These breed selectors might help but I agree with ES4L, while breeds may have tendencies, each chicken is an individual with its own personality. For tendencies to mean anything you have to have enough for that number to be statistically relevant. Three of a breed is not enough for it to mean much. But the tendencies give you a guideline. I don’t know of anything better for you to use.

    Breed Selectors
    http://www.mypetchicken.com/chicken-breeds/which-breed-is-right-for-me.aspx
    http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/chick_selector.html
     

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