Small flock planning and opinions wanted.


7 Years
Jun 8, 2014
East TN
Hello everyone,
I've just been thinking about and trying to plan what breeds of chickens I would like to have in my small block. Thinking 10-12 hens and 1 or 2 roos Max.

What I have: 4 barred rock pullets, and 2 buff orpington pullets.

Breeds I am considering.
1.) Other colors of orpingtons such as lavender or jubilee. (Probably the hardest to get for me)
2.) The black Australorp. (had these before and loved them)
3.) The Rhode island red.
4.) More of the two I have.
5.) Only more barred rocks.
6.) Random barnyard mixes local
7.) Your ideas!

Right now I'm leaning towards adding one additional breed to my flock but at the same time I could see raising just one breed in the future.

For a little more info I live in Eastern Tennessee in the Appalachian mountains. Summers can occasionally hit a hundred degrees though it is very rare and may happen just a couple of times a year. For our winter months we usually only have three or four really cold months with a lot of fluctuating temperatures leading to and leaving out of those months. The lowest temperatures can occasionally drop below zero but that is just about as rare as the hundred degree days in the summer.

Additionally I do want to keep clean legs and larger dual purpose breed chickens.

Thanks a lot everyone in advance 👍
Ok I think I have decided on the roo being a barred rock as I particularly like the idea of the barring being passed on to the chicks.
So now it's just a question of the remaining hens now.
I have read that Rhode island reds can sometimes be aggressive towards other hens. Do you all think that would be an issue?

I'm down to these thee options.
4 australorps
2 australorps and 2 Rhode island reds
3 three more buff orpingtons and one more barred rock hen to even up there numbers.
I have two different suggestions, depending on whether you're willing to eat any chickens.

If you are not willing to eat chickens, I suggest you get one pullet each of as many breeds as the number of new hens you want (probably all the options you listed as possibilities). Within a year or two, you will know which breeds you like better, and then you can decide which ones you want to get more of as they get old and need replacing.

If you are willing to eat chickens, I suggest that you choose just as many breeds, but order 2-3 pullets of each. Then, when they're about 2-3 months old, start butchering the extras. You could keep one of each breed, but there will probably be at least one breed you keep two of, and another breed you butcher all of, as you learn which ones you like.

Anytime I have ordered a variety of chicken breeds, I have found some that I liked better than I expected to, and some that I liked less well. That's why I suggest just trying a bunch, rather than trying to choose the "perfect" breeds by internet research.

For the rooster, I strongly suggest ordering more than one cockerel and deciding from the very beginning that you will eat some of them. The first time one attacks you, eat him for dinner. Repeat as needed. :)

Knowing that some birds will get eaten helps me end up with a less-troublesome flock. I just start by eating the one that bites me, the one that flies over the fence, the one that bullies the others, the one that's always a victim, and so forth. (And next year I raise some new pullets, and eat the hen that lays softshell eggs, and the one that hides her eggs, and the one that did not lay during the winter, and...)
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Whenever I add new birds I always try to stay with breeds with similar temperaments. Australorps would blend well with what you already have. They really are terrific chickens and every flock should have a few! Orps are also really nice. I have Buckeyes which also have docile temperaments and I would highly recommend them.

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