Single breed vs mixed flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chick2flick, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. chick2flick

    chick2flick Out Of The Brooder

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    So far in 4 years of keeping chickens we've had mixed flocks so I can experiment to find just the right fit for our needs. We want a steady supply of meat, eggs and new replacements. My question is would it be better to run with a single breed for our purposes or stick with mixes?
    So far in our experience we've had much larger roosters than hens that resulted in bruising during mating, not from aggressiveness of the roo just too big. All the chickens have been from larger dual purpose breeds, it's just that the roosters have outgrown the hens considerably.
    Any ideas or suggestions to the differences, pros/cons, etc or what breed may be a good choice to stick with?

    FYI-our first flock was red sex links with a bantam rock roo good for lots of eggs but nothing else. Next came Plymouth rock and Black Australorp hens. The PR was a mean old witch and the BA was an egg eater-even with plenty of space, protein and calcium, Then came a few 'unknowns' that were much smaller size, gave eggs and even hatched us out some babies.
    We've also had a Coronation Sussex rooster with white jersey giant, Delaware, maran and dorking. All hens went broody in a communal box within a week and then killed chicks as they hatched. We managed to rescue one chick and hatch out one more ourselves.
    Now we have those two babies (6ish months old now) and will keep these as pets along with 2 old mean Buff Orps, 1 RIR, 1 Partridge Chantceller, 1 EE and 1 Lavender Orpington rooster.
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I like color diversity so went with blue chickens; splash, black and blue are colors of the flock. In this way we could keep to one breed. But if your not showing or breeding then it really doesn't matter. You only need the chickens that suit your needs and that can be many different breeds if a dual purpose flock is your intent.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I see you had a Deleware, I have a roo and 3 hens, the roo looks like pretty good eating. I like the hens in that there is meat on their bones. But with the predator problem that we have, I wonder about the white birds...... waiting for eggs soon.

    I also have a Dominique roo. I think he will be my flock master next spring, getting a few more dominque hens to go with him, but am also thinking of crossing him on those Deleware hens. Get the camoflauge of the dominique, and the meat of the delaware. We will see..... I play.

    I would love to do the splash, blue and black breeds, but so many birds, so little time.

    Mrs K
     
  4. Hillschicks

    Hillschicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We had a mixed flock and decided to add another.. We tried to decide if we should do a single breed for our second flock.. I almost settled on dark brahma because their awesome, but when it came time to order them i wanted too many kinds so now we have twice as many mixed flock.. Now that we have lots of types of chickens we are just doing a rooster cycle

    Ultimately i couldnt come up with any reason to have a single breed other than to breed for show and i dont care to do that.. We pasture (no run, just let them out into the world everyday) and we like lots of colors and types of chickens running around the yard
     
  5. SouthernCalBeachChick

    SouthernCalBeachChick Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a mixed, but 'complimentary' flock: 3 Americaunas (blue eggs), 4 olive eggers (Americauna x Black Copper Marans), 4 Crested Cream Legbars (blue eggs) & a Crested Cream Legbar roo. I'm planning to add 4 Blue Marans (chocolate brown eggs) & either a Blue or Splash Marans roo soon.
     
  6. chick2flick

    chick2flick Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the replies and I agree with diversity and no I have no intent on showing, just trying to find the right fit for us. I've loved every breed we've had so far for different reasons.
    I'm already planning what I want to add next spring and will probably be expanding to include a few turkeys, atleast that's my hope.
    Here is a pic of the bunch taken today. The one BO is in a serious molt and is really looking pathetic.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    and here is the rooster, Fuggly and Sunshine the EE

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I don’t understand the “bruising” you are talking about. It’s standard that the roosters are quite a bit bigger than the hens of the same breed. When they mate the hen squats onto the ground. That transfers his weight through her entire body to the ground so it doesn’t go through her legs. The roosters being a few pounds heavier than the hens should not be a problem at all. I’m missing something there.

    Each chicken has its own personality. Some are more aggressive and brutal than others. That’s not really breed related, it just depends on the individual hen. That egg eater was just really rotten luck.

    Like Hillschick I don’t see any reason to stick with one specific breed if you are not going to show, but that is just person preference. There is nothing wrong with going that route. From your stated goal about any dual purpose breed or combination of breeds should work for you.

    I think a big key to getting what you want is to start by knowing what you want. How can you get what you want if you don’t know what you are looking for? Sounds like you know what you want. Then you need to cull pretty ruthlessly to get there. Don’t allow any chicken you don’t like to breed and pass those genes on. I’m talking about behaviors as much as physical characteristics. If you find one you like, make sure that one has chicks. There are going to be bumps along the road but you can get there.
     
  8. chick2flick

    chick2flick Out Of The Brooder

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    That's what I had thought about the roosters being much bigger and not a problem with the hens, but that whole flock was butchered because I didn't want the adults killing off the babies. We didn't actually do the butchering ourselves but had made a deal for a friend to do the deed in exchange for them to keep 2 of the hens for their own dinner. And that is what they had said, the hens backs were all bruised and we all had guessed it was from the rooster being so big. Or it could have been that he had been rough with them. There isn't any other explanation. [​IMG] Though we will probably be doing our own butchering in the future. Here is a pic of that bunch, on their way to the soup pot.
    [​IMG]

    Yes, I know the traits I'm looking for, but in all the different breeds I've had so far, none have had all the traits I want. They have each had one or two, but not all. And I guess that's okay, it just means I get more chickens and keep experimenting [​IMG]

    ETA: They were NOT of the same breed tho as you can see in the pic. The roo was much larger than even the biggest hen and you almost can't even see the maran or dorking.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I don’t have a good explanation for the bruising either. I skin practically all I butcher and haven’t seen that type of bruising. It’s possible it might have something to do with the rooster but might it have something to do with the butchering method?
     
  10. chick2flick

    chick2flick Out Of The Brooder

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    That we don't know since we weren't there at butcher time, though I do trust their judgement, yet I realize their ideas may be different than ours. We just figure it was a lesson learned and we'll probably be doing our own butchering in the future. I'm sure the first few times we wont have much worth eating, just a bloody feather massacre.[​IMG] But we'll learn
     

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