Raising chicks of different breeds together

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by cbascom, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. cbascom

    cbascom Out Of The Brooder

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    I ordered some chicks that will be here in 3 weeks and so i am setting up an area for their brooder. IT's my first time with chicks, so it's all a learning experience.
    I will be getting 5 Cornish X; 15 assorted heavy breed cockerels; and 7 easter egger pullets. The hatchery is going to mark the pullets with marker so I will know which ones they are.
    It will be between 20-35 degrees during the night and 45-65 during the day when they arrive. They will be in a shed with a 250 watt infrared heat lamp. The shed is dual purpose, so the chicks will be contained I think by a cardboard "draft shield" at first, then by whatever seems necessary as they grow.
    Question: (you knew this ramble must be going somewhere). Can they all live together until they are ready to go outside, or should I separate the girls? I am worried about bullying, cannibalism, and unknowingly butchering my pullets! I'm not sure at what point i will be able to tell breeds and sexes. Although the assorted heavies are supposed to be male, it seems possible there could accidentally be a female.
    Sorry for the ramble, thank you in advance!
     
  2. NinjaRooster

    NinjaRooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unless I'm missing something in reading your question (my apologies if I am [​IMG]), then you shouldn't have any problems putting them together. At least not for a while anyway.

    I'm assuming you will be butchering the Heavy Breed Cockerels, right? (or at least most of them).
     
  3. cbascom

    cbascom Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for your response...Yes, I will be butchering the cornish x and the heavies. I'm glad to hear you don't forsee any problems raising them together. At what age should I expect to be able to tell them apart? I know the cornish will be white, and I don't think anyone else will be, at any rate, they should be distinctive looking. But the heavies will have a variety of appearances as will my EE pullets. I'm looking forward to the fun of trying to figure out what breeds are there, but fear that I will mix up my girls. When will their gender be apparent? Thank you for your help!
     
  4. NinjaRooster

    NinjaRooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I'm not really sure when you'll be able to tell them apart. However, it shouldn't be too hard. In my opinion, Easter Eggers are rather distinct looking.
    Gender should be apparent when... Erm, well, I really can't say for sure; but after a few weeks-ish you will notice that some of them are "different." (Bigger, meaner, ect. But that may not always be the case!) You could keep a spot of marker on the pullets to ensure that you can tell them apart until they age enough.

    Good luck with the birds!
     
  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    It shouldn't be difficult to tell them apart. Your meaties will grow super fast, be white and look raggedy (their bodies seem to grow faster than their feathers). By 6-8 weeks old they'll be monsters.

    Did they say what breed your heavy roosters are? That'll go a long way in identifying them.

    And yes, EEs have a pretty distinctive look, usually wild type patterned (kind of partridgy). But for those off colored birds you'll be looking for beards, muffs and slate or green colored legs. Easy peasy.

    Worst case scenario you can mark the pullets legs with zip ties or bread ties. Just check them often to make sure they aren't getting tight.

    Best of luck with your new chicks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  6. cbascom

    cbascom Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the help!
     
  7. hope4rainbow

    hope4rainbow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ee mostly have muffs so that helps a lot!! :D
     
  8. Sarevan

    Sarevan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They have chalk like markers that are used on sheep, cattle.pigs that should work on chicks and chickens too. We used food dye to put a drop on the ones we wanted to keep track of though couldn' t see it very well on dark feathers.
     
  9. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm new to chicken raising. We had them when I was a kid, but that was so long ago it doesn't count. We also raised pigeons. Racers, rollers, fantails and others. My dad would band the squabs when they were first born. They wore that band for life. Do they make bands for chickens? Perhaps in different colors that can be used to be able to tell them apart? I don't know, but it's an idea.
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    You're not going to butcher those males until around 16 weeks, right? At that point, it will be quite obvious who is male and who is female.

    Differences in breed and gender don't matter so much to chicks until they hit sexual maturity. Biggest issue with raising that many birds is going to be space, but it sounds like you've got that covered.

    They should be able to go outside around 6 weeks old, that's when most chicks are fully feathered and ready to be off the light.

    you can leave the males and females together basically until the males start getting hormonal. I'm not sure exactly when you're planning to butcher, but when the boys start crowing is a fair sign they're going to be mating, and you'll need to pull them apart then. I think you'd be good until around 4 months unless you have some early maturing boys.

    if you're ever unsure on the breed or gender of a bird, take a profile pic and start a thread in the "what breed or gender?" section. We have lots of experience there and love to help folks figure out what they have!
     

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