Will My Mixed Flock Get Along?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by nordicacres, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. nordicacres

    nordicacres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We were originally hoping to get a flock of Icelandic chickens, but they proved too difficult to find. Instead we chose to try a bunch of different breeds to see what we like, send the extra roosters to freezer camp (or any that don't get along), and maybe next year concentrate on just a few breeds instead. Thoughts on my flock? We were going for cold hardy and variety of egg colors (and dual purpose to a certain extent). Thoughts or advice for me? I'm hoping that since they will be all the same age and raised together they will get along.

    4 Barred Rock (pullets)
    2 Silver Laced Wyandottes (pullets)
    3 Blue Laced Red Wyandottes (straight run)
    5 Buff Orpingtons (straight run)
    6 Welsummer (straight run)
    8 Easter Egger (pullets)
    1 Black Australorp (pullet - all they had left or I would have gotten at least 2)
    2 Blue Cochin (pullets)

    2 FREE exotic chicks from MMM.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    I have always kept a mixed flock. I don't see any reason why those breeds will not do well together.

    You might want to make plans for separating your roosters fairly early, they are less likely to fight if kept in a bachelor group away from the hens.
     
  3. nordicacres

    nordicacres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good advice, TY! At what age will they start to fight with each other? I was hoping to butcher before that point.
     
  4. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    All of those breeds are generally docile, and some like Orpingtons, Australorps, and Cochins are especially calm and gentle (generally), so as long as they are the same age and size, they should get along fine as long as they are not overcrowded. Given the number of pullets that you will have, I wouldn't keep more than two roosters. The recommended ratio of roosters to hens is 1 rooster for every 10 hens. As they mature, too many roosters will become very hard physically on your hens; over-breeding them, biting and plucking the feathers from their necks and backs, battering them, and potentially, seriously injuring them. The only reason you really need a rooster is to fertilize eggs for hatching, and 1 rooster can easily handle 10-15 hens in this regard. Good luck with your flock.
     
  5. nordicacres

    nordicacres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    TY! We were only planning on keeping one rooster :) Is there an advantage to two? They will be in the same coop (100 sq ft) and a run which will be approximately 200 sq ft. However, most of the time they will free range in a fenced pasture (1-2 acres).
     
  6. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    One rooster is fine. When the boys become teenagers, start pestering the pullets and sparring with each other, it is time to separate them. The breeds you have selected will take longer than that to grow to eating size.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Myself, I'm not sure why you're ordering so many straight run birds. I'm seeing 9+ cockerels there. Yes, they are butcherable, but all those breeds will take around 6 months to hit optimal butcher weight. Cockerels can start pestering pullets as young as 3 months, especially if there are no older birds to keep things in check. At minimum, you'll want to separate them around 4 months or things can get rough on the immature pullets. You can butcher around 4 months, but you're not going to get much of a carcass.

    I'd say go with all pullets. You're likely to get an Oops rooster anyway, and you can count on both those rare exotic chicks being cockerels. If one breed really catches your heart, you can look into a male of that breed next spring. Late spring is a great time to pick up someone else's Oops rooster for free. Plus, your hens will be mature birds at that point and will teach the younger cockerels some good flock manners.

    That said, it sounds like a beautiful flock. I've had all but the blue laced Wyandotte in a mixed flock and everyone got along well. With the Wellies and EE, you'll have a pretty, colorful egg basket [​IMG]
     
  8. nordicacres

    nordicacres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I only ordered the straight runs because that is the only way the hatchery sold them (except possibly the Orps, but I've heard they are good meat birds) :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
  9. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    No, one rooster is fine. I currently have 25 hens in my flock and no roosters, and I get loads of eggs without the aggression, fighting, biting and feather plucking, feeding of non-production mouths, crowing in the middle of the night, drop off in egg production, and over-breeding and battering that comes with having roosters (especially too many). My hens are stress free and enjoying life without a rooster around. Of course my eggs are not fertilized, so when I want to add more birds to my flock, I have to order them from a hatchery (which I do every 2-3 years to keep my flock at a high laying rate).
     
  10. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Several of the breeds on the list are fine dual-purpose birds. Many people feel that meat from these birds is much tastier than that from strictly meat birds. I have done the same thing myself in the past. It takes them longer to reach eatable size, but often the wait is worth it.
     

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