Which breeds v to add to flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Soylent Chick, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. Soylent Chick

    Soylent Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 6, 2015
    Hi everyone!

    My flock is currently 2 black Australorps and 2 production reds that are all about 1 year old now. I really enjoy watching them and sharing their eggs. I have room for two more birds and these are the hatchery stock breeds I can choose from:

    • Black Australorp
    • Jersey Giant
    • Red Sex Link
    • Production Red

    I was thinking of trying the RSL but I've read conflicting experiences with them. Some people say they are not cold hardy, some say they are. (I live in USDA zone 6 so it's not terribly cold but it did linger in the teens this winter.) Some say they burn themselves out early and have short lives while others had long lived birds. I'm guessing the variations come from the different combinations that can make RSL and the parentage of these are unknown.

    I love the look of BA but have found them to be timid but great for winter laying without supplemental lighting.

    I've read that JG can get big (though questionable with hatchery lines) but their egg production isn't as steady as BA or PR.

    Of the listed birds, which would fit best into my little flock? Are there other factors to consider that I've missed?
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Any sex links I've had are just as hardy as other breeds as far as cold. If it's lots of eggs up front that you are after than go with them, Jersey giants aren't big egg layers, australorps will lay less per week than sex links but will probably lay longer in their lives.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    OHLD has hit on the what...I'll address the how.
    You have room for 2 more, but do you have some extra room to integrate new birds....
    .......best to be separated by wire at first.

    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    It's about territory and resources(space/food/water). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders. If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    Best example ever of chick respite and doors by azygous

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:

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