Chris, Maybe you can clarify. Why would you want to start with birds from more than one line? For instance, if I were to get started in Heritage Barred Rocks and Good Shepherd has a line, why wouldn't I just buy from their line and set up a spiral system with their birds and go from there? Or lets say there is a line of Buckeyes I like and I bought birds from two separate flocks of the same line to set up my breeding pens? Why would I need to get more than one line if there is already a good line out there with a good spiral program that I could just pick up and run with? Full disclosure: That was how I got started - a variety of birds from two separate breeders of the same line. I also plan on bringing in some more birds from the same line into my flock next year. Why is this not as good an idea as mixing lines? In this article: http://bloslspoutlryfarm.tripod.com/id68.html on why people fail with RIRs, Bob says: The Desire to Cross Strains: When I first wanted Rhode Island Reds in the early 1960s as a boy I saw a Rhode Island Red Cockerel that was Grand Champion of the show and a Pullet that was Reserve of breed who where owned by two different breeders. Neither one of these master breeders got their start from the same breeder and where as far apart from being related as possibly could be. Talking to another Hall of Fame Rhode Island Red Breeder Cliff Terry from Nebraska who Judged this National Meet I told Mr. Terry if you crossed that male and that female you would have champions next year. He put his hand on my shoulder and said Son it sounds logical ,but genetically you will have a nightmare of faults and defects. When you cross two different strain you are disturbing the genes pools perfected by the master breeders for maybe twenty or more years. You are money ahead to just get you a good male such as a brother of that male on Champion row, two hens that are his aunts or his mother and start your birds from just one breeder. Mr. Terry stated more people have got into Rhode Island Reds and have left than you can shake a stick at. The main reason they leave is crossing strains because they think they are going to hit the jackpot and get a winner. I told this story to Hall of Fame Bantam Breeder, R Paul Webb, a few years later when I visited his home in Oklahoma City Oklahoma. He said Cliff was right. I have made crosses to develop my Red Bantams, but it's a process of three to four generations before you introduce them into your line. If anyone crosses my strain of bantams with say some bantams from another strain they will be in for a rude awaking. It would take you 5 years to get back to where you started after you pull out all the defects in color and type.