4 Benefits of a Mixed Flock of Backyard Chickens

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4 Benefits of a Mixed Flock of Backyard Chickens

4 Benefits of a Mixed Flock of Backyard Chickens

Never one to act on impulse, I perused one book cover to cover, and countless articles and internet posts on raising chickens, before I ever got them. I recall the wise words of one enlightened author who disparaged the silly “rainbow” flocks of frivolous suburban wannabe farmers.Β  Because, of course, anyone who cares about food security, as we all should, would breed their own birds, contributing to the preservation of heritage breeds.

I care about food security, but I don’t think I need to breed chickens to prove it. Nonetheless, I carefully considered the possible advantages of a single breed for a small backyard flock. But I didn’t see any. At all. I might let a hen raise a few chicks every few years, but that wouldn’t impact the integrity of the breeds one way or another. Those “mutts” would live and die in my backyard. A single breed flock didn’t seem to be of any particular benefit, at least in our case.

Sure, my rainbow orders of 1 of this and 2 of that probably drive hatchery employees crazy, but hatcheries set their price and I pay it.

And now? So glad I caved in to frivolous desire, because I see great advantage to a mixed backyard flock.

4 Benefits of a Mixed Flock of Backyard Chickens

Here’s my motley crew of hens. They’re all unique individuals and lay beautiful eggs.

4 benefits of a mixed flock of backyard chickens

1. You can quickly and easily tell your birds apart

Individuals within a breed do vary somewhat in appearance, but the differences can be slight. But if you have only 1 or 2 of each breed, you can quickly and easily tell them apart. That is helpful for several reasons:

  • You can easily follow the behavior of an ailing bird.
  • You can better appreciate their fascinating social interactions and varied vocalizations, if you can observe who is doing and saying what.
  • You come to appreciate the fact that chickens are all individuals with distinct personalities and preferences. This has tremendous implications for the welfare of “livestock”. People need to understand that farm animals are not food producing machines, incapable of experiencing pain and suffering. So if you have a “rainbow flock”, invite your friends and neighbors to get to know each member. Maybe they’ll funnel their dollars away from CAFO’s, and support humane farms.
4 Benefits of a Mixed Flock of Backyard Chickens

A pile of eggs from my flock. I can usually tell who laid each egg.

2. You can tell which hen laid which egg

Each breed lays eggs of a characteristic size and color. Color ranges from white to light brown to dark brown to olive to bluish.Β  So, if you choose breeds that lay eggs of different sizes and colors, it’s possible to determine which hen laid which egg. And that is quite useful, if you want to know which hens are laying well, and which are not. It also makes it easy to determine who is laying the abnormal eggs, which can indicate illness.

I have a mix of bantams, full sized birds, brown egg layers, blue-green egg layers, and white layers. So it’s pretty easy to narrow it down when I want to know who is laying what.

Note that there is some individual variation within a breed, so you might be able to recognize the eggs of a given hen, even if you have a few others of her breed. The eggs will vary a little by color and shape. Some hens frequently lay speckled eggs, others don’t. Some hens lay long, narrow eggs, and others lay rounder eggs. However, you must see a hen actually lay an egg in order to know exactly what hers look like.

4 Benefits of a Mixed Flock of Backyard Chickens

The 2 chunky bantam brahmas in front are good winter layers of brown eggs, but slender, white egg laying breeds, lay better in spring.

3. You get steadier year-round egg production

Different breeds lay better in different seasons. The brown egg laying heavier breeds, such as Wyandottes and Brahmas, lay better in winter. But the slender, white egg laying breeds, like Hamburgs, have a steeper surge of egg production in spring.Β  I kind of like having the eggs spread out over winter and spring.

In fairness to the single breed philosophy, I should add that for excellent year round egg production, you could raise “production breeds”, such as leghorns, black stars, or red stars. However, extremely high egg production in these breeds is maintained at the expense of bone strength (Hoking et al. 2003). You can provide supplemental calcium, but the hen’s genetic make-up has a greater impact than nutrition, on her vulnerability to osteoporosis (Fleming, et al. 2006). In fact, the Animal Welfare Approved certification program prohibits highly bred chickens.

4. You can keep just a couple of broody prone birds

Broodiness, or the tendency to set on eggs, is necessary if you want the hen to hatch some eggs and raise the chicks. Hens don’t lay eggs while broody, so you don’t want a whole flock of broody hens if you want steady egg production. But you might want a couple of broody prone hens, just in case you want to let one hatch some eggs. For the rest of the flock, choose breeds that don’t tend to go broody.

There are many choices in both categories. I have a bantam cochin and 3 bantam Easter eggers all of which tend to go broody. But the remaining hens in my flock of 15 virtually never go broody, providing steady egg production.

4 Benefits of a Mixed Flock of Backyard Chickens

This bantam cochin goes broody every summer. She doesn’t lay many eggs, but she can hatch them.

Sources

  1. Fleming, R. H., et al. 2006. Relationships between genetic, environmental, and nutritional factors influencing osteoporosis in laying hens. British Poultry Science. 47(6): 742-55.
  2. Hocking, P. M. et al. 2003. Genetic Variation for egg production, egg quality, and bone strength in selected and traditional breeds of laying fowl. British Poultry Science. 44(3): 365-373.

Do you prefer a mixed or single breed flock? Why?

Shared On: Homestead Barn Hop, Thank Goodness it’s Monday, Natural Living Monday


Comments

4 Benefits of a Mixed Flock of Backyard Chickens — 77 Comments

  1. I agree 100% Janet. I love my mixed breed backyard flock! I also LOVE your posts! Thanks for the time and energy you put into your blog and sharing your wisdom and delightful recipes.

  2. There are a lot of advantages to a mixed breed flock. In all the years that I have kept chickens, even longer the time my grandmother and grandfather kept chickens, it has always been a mixed breed flock.

    • Hahahahaha, you read my mind! My town in CT finally passed an ordinance allowing chickens, with the typical rules. I feel that I stimulated the economy by buying my mixed flock of pullets! Just think of all of the hatcheries that benefited from my recent mania!

      We have one each:

      Buff Orpington “Omelet”
      Columbian Wyandotte “Gloria”
      Silver Laced Wyandotte “Scramble”
      Gold Laced Wyandotte “Lacey”
      Rhode Island Red “Cinnamon”
      Partridge Plymouth Rock “Nutmeg”
      Jersey Giant: “Snookie”
      Light Brahmin: “DeeDee”
      Dominique: “Eva”
      Red Sex Link: “Estelle”
      Olive Egger Crossbreed: “Olive”
      Gold Ameraucana: “Goldeh”

      I figure that if one of the flock turns out to be broody, I will be able to buy fertilized eggs for her to hatch, in the future!

      • Macy, I love your collection…and their names! It’s a lot of fun when they all look different; so easy to tell them apart. With that many hens, I’d say there’s a good chance you’ve got a broody prone girl in there. Good luck!

      • Macy, I too love your names. These are the names of our chickens-

        Ozzie
        Winter
        Empress
        Daisy
        Sunny
        Batman
        Black Beauty
        Sahari
        Gazelle
        Rocky
        Alpha
        Tiger
        The Harrison Bros.
        The Harrison Sis.
        Daryl
        Goldie
        Autumn
        Pengy

        And thank you, Janet, for you wise council. πŸ™‚

      • Hi Macy,we also have a mixed flock with names. Our buff orpington is Buffy, Americauna is Mary, Rhode Island red is Patricia (named by our granddaughter),exotic is Cleopatra, black sex link is Felicia, black jersey giant is Michelle. Our lace Wyandotte also was named Lacey. Lacey turned out to be a rooster. He is so naughty to the hens I changed his name to Stu. (Threatening him with the Stew pot.) We also have 2 more Americanas and 3 light Brahma’s. Our son named the Brahma’s, original , grilled and extra crispy.

      • Not sure about the name Omelete. Lol I’m just choosing and building my flock wish list. I have been battling bumble foot and hope all are cured before the new residences arrive.

  3. Great article – thanks for the info! Since you mentioned that you let some of your flock hatch some chicks, does that mean you have a rooster as well? I thought you had to have a rooster in order to hatch chicks but I didn’t see any mention of one in the article. I guess my real question is, if you have a rooster, how do you allow him to only fertilize certain eggs at certain times?

    • As to your question – If you want the rooster to fertilize only the eggs of certain hens, you have to house him where he has access to them, and only them. I didn’t do that. When I’ve had roos, I’ve let them live with the entire flock, so most eggs laid by most hens are likely to be fertile.

  4. I agree! My first flock was three barred rocks and although they were good layers, I ran into several of these issues. This year we diversified our flock, and I am looking forward to the benefits. I’m in an urban setting and roosters are not an option, so breed integrity is not a concern nor does having multiple breeds of hens mean I’m not concerned about that — if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have gotten so many different and a couple unusual ones. I believe that whole argument is just silliness. Thanks for a great article.

  5. I agree, Janet! My flock of forty-one hens and two roosters is made up of eight different REAL breeds, and three hens who are the biological offspring of who-knows-who, but hatched by a broody Buff Orpington named PocketWatch who stole the eggs from other nests. These three are beautiful and unusual looking and I am eager to see what colors their eggs will be when they start laying around November 1st. I just discovered your blog (through Pinterest)and I love it. Thank you for all the great info.

  6. I am only in the planning stages of a flock and so far this has been my plan. One reason, I think, is that I just love the different colors and characteristics of different breeds. Variety is the spice of life, I always say. Chicken crazy already! I can’t wait for my little flock of hens. Good thing I am not getting a rooster. I just wouldn’t be able to steal the babies (eggs) away! Great read and something I was hoping to feel validated on. πŸ™‚ Thank you for your views. πŸ™‚

  7. Great article, gives me some more information that I haven’t received before. My village recently passed an ordinance allowing us to have hens only and no more than 6. I really want great eggs and eventually their meat. The ordinance prohibits slaughtering which is just fine with me as I figured that I’d take them when the time came to a local live poultry place. Production Reds were recommended by a farmer, if I wanted good layers and meat. I can’t or won’t cook and eat a pet, so any good suggestions on that score?

  8. Hi. At the moment I am still dreaming of our own one acre farm but I can’t help resist researching building my own coop and breeds of chickens. I’m a little ocd and originally thought of having only one breed for my flock but you make some good points and I think a mixed flock would be better (a lot easier as well than having to choose only one breed) I live in Australia and so far have been drawn towards Wynadottes, Rhode Island Reds and of course the Aussie Austrolorps. My question is when having mixed breeds do you encounter more problems regarding bullying etc.

    • Excellent question, Therese. Breed is a factor in bullying, but only in the extreme cases, imo. I wouldn’t mix an aggressive game breed with a timid bantam, or with a breed with obstructed vision (silkies and polish have feathers obstructing their vision, and tend to be bullied, perhaps because other birds see their behavior as impaired).

      Other than those extremes, I don’t think breed is much of a factor, as temperament varies a lot within a breed anyway. It’s more important that chickens have plenty of space and complexity of habitat, so they can run and forage, and timid birds can find time and space to eat and drink without harassment by aggressive birds.

      The dual purpose breeds you mentioned should be just fine together. None of them have a reputation for extremely aggressive or extremely timid behavior. Most dual purpose breeds are middle of the road, but within any breed you might find the occasional bird who is on one extreme or the other. That’s the luck of the draw.

      I keep a mix of bantams and larger birds, but all are dual purpose except for one brown leghorn. The only real case of bullying I ever had, involved a large wyandotte who, despite her size, was extremely timid. Even the bantams picked on her, and my birds have a lot of space. You can’t always prevent it, but if your set up is good, bullying will be rare. See my post on creating a chicken habitat: http://ouroneacrefarm.com/creating-chicken-habitat-advice-red-jungle-fowl/

      Good luck!

    • We have a mixed flock. We originally had 3 Delawares, 2 Rhode Island Reds, 2 Ameraucanas, and 1 Barred rock. (1 Ameraucana has since gone away because he’s a roo, which is a no no in our suburb) We got them at 1 or 2 days old. One of the more aggressive Delawares really picked on the other breeds at first. This lasted probably 3 or 4 days. Since she was a white bird, and picked on the colored birds only, we named her Adolf. She’s since calmed down, and treats everyone equally poorly regardless of color, but her name has stuck.

  9. I love being able to tell my birds apart and the variety of eggs. I think you are more involved in your flock if you know each chicken by sight and learn their personality. Having said that, be sure you don’t have a breed of rooster that is too big and heavy for smaller hens. It is too hard on them. Their feathers get broken and his claws sometimes puncture and injure. If you have room you can separate them, or if you have all hens it may be ok. My white leghorn was injured by my Barred Plymouth rock rooster. My small Americana used to get picked on by the Rhode Island red but once she had chicks she became more feisty.

    • I agree with you, Pat, on that rooster issue. I don’t have a rooster at the moment, but when I do, I prefer a bantam rooster, because he’s less likely to cause harm to any hen. A small rooster doesn’t totally protect from that, though. There are plenty of hens who have been punctured by roos of their own breed, but you’re right, in general a smaller rooster is easier on them.

      Also agree that you are more involved with your flock if you know them as individuals. I think that helps you empathize more with them, which motivates you to take better care of them.

      • Hi guys. I am a first year chicken owner and love my flock of 17 birds. I brought them home in two separate batches from Murdochs in April this year as babies. Picked the first 9 for their cute factor. Last 8 were Rhode Island Reds. I have two Porcelain Bantams and it’s looking like one is a rooster. I was distressed thinking of this little rooster breeding my other girls but I guess I shouldn’t worry about it. I was going to get myself Rhode Island Red Rooster if it turns out I don’t have one and I don’t think I do. I also have one Buff Laced Polish that I thought was a rooster but not sure now. I have a couple of breeds that I don’t know what they are cause the grandkids lost my sheet with the breeds listed on them. Oh well.

  10. I totally agree with every item in the article. I began raising my rainbow flock in June. I now have 6 different breeds and 3 new ones coming in March. In the morning when I go out to feed them, each calls me with a different sound and I can recognize who is chatting with me before I get to the yard. Of course I baaawk back lol.

  11. We’re moving to a great property and I can’t wait to get started! I live in the deep south so which breeds would do best for me? I definitely want a mixed flock!

    • Hi Kay, in the deep south, you’ll want heat tolerant breeds, so you’re best bet would be those with slender bodies and single combs (helps them cool off). Campines and Andalusians come to mind. There are really many breeds to pick from, and part of it depends on what else you want from the birds: lots of eggs? beauty? mellow personality? Standard size breeds? Bantams? Google Henderson’s Chicken Chart – I am sure you will find his summary of breeds helpful.

      If it gets really hot in summer, make sure they have a shady spot, and access to cool water.

      • If your climate has a hot summer you really can’t go past the wonderful Australorp, bred in Australia to suit our hot dry summers.
        They lay lovely big brown eggs and are known for having one of the longest laying seasons each year.
        They are a big black hen with a nice placid nature and I have four of them in my flock of 14.
        A lovely breed for a smaller rooster is the Silver Spotted Hamburg and the hens are so pretty and very good layers though their eggs are a lot smaller.

    • I have 15 birds: 5 bantam buff brahmas, 3 bantam easter eggers, 1 bantam mottled cochin, 2 barred rocks, 1 rose comb brown leghorn, and 3 standard easter eggers. We have cold winters here, so I won’t get anymore barred rocks or cochins (single combs can get frostbite). Hope that helps!

      • The guys at the store told me all their chicks sent to them were cold hardy. This is colorado. Liars. I have buff Laced Polish.

  12. I just came across this post via a pinterest pin and had to comment! I commend your frivolous ways! Why not have a mixed flock? It’s just as enjoyable, if not more so, than a single breed.

    I’ve been keeping a mixed flock from the beginning. Started with 3 hens 11 years ago and haven’t looked back since. Sure a lot of the ‘old timers’ think it’s weird, but I don’t care and pretty much for all the reasons you listed. The fact that I happen to be a bit indecisive doesn’t help with choosing just one breed either. haha

    We have about 30 birds, each of them has a name and more or less knows it. There are I think 5 or 6 different breeds and several barnyard mutts hatched here. And quite frankly, if you wanna talk food security, the mutts are far superior to the pure birds when it comes to laying, foraging, and size. Especially when the genetics get into the 2nd and 3rd generation. Last August we had out first 3rd generation bantam crosses hatch and I they eat so little prepared feed I’m not sure I really need to put it out for them. They are friendly, super layers, and the most dedicated foragers here- and they love doing it! πŸ™‚

    Anyways, thanks for the great article!

  13. Hi Christina – that is so interesting about the mutts!! I have read warnings not to breed mutts because they will quickly revert to jungle fowl like birds who lay few eggs. Genetically, that makes sense, and it’s fascinating to learn that your experience has been the opposite! Even by the 3rd generation. Truly fascinating – thanks so much for sharing that information, and keep enjoying your mixed flock!

  14. Dear Janet,
    I wish to thank you for your well researched posts and nice pictures.
    Your posts are quite informative and inspiring. I fell in love with raising chickens when I was just fourteen and at forty-five my curiosity about the subject knows no bounds.
    Keep it up, please.

  15. Your Cochin is beautiful! We have 13 chicks, 7 RIRs, 6 other breeds including a mystery chick, I can’t wait until they start laying! I’m so glad we aren’t the only ones who thinks mixed flocks are best!

  16. I came across your article from pinterest. I have always had a mixed group of birds and I also have ducks. I keep roosters for the protection of the flock and if they happen to have babies that is okay too. I have over 30 chickens and over 20 ducks. I enjoy them and they are my pets.

  17. The Orpington come in other colors besides buff as well as the Australorp. Just remember they are a docile, gentle bird on the bottom of the pecking order. Though they are large birds, they will not defend themselves when bullied. With some research, you will find it is not recommended they be in a mixed flock.

    • In my opinion, Kathy, it really depends on the individuals in the flock and the amount and quality of habitat available to them. For a backyard flock, mine have a lot of space (15-20 birds on about 1/3 acre) with decent plant diversity, so I can mix large, aggressive birds with docile bantams without problems. But if birds are kept in tight confinement with little to keep them busy, you are likely to see some form of bullying or cannibalism even in a single breed flock.

      Most backyard flocks are somewhere in between tight confinement and a situation as spacious as mine. In that case, people will have to use their judgment. I would never make a general recommendation to keep Orpingtons only in single breed flocks. Several of my friends have a few of them in mixed flocks and have not had issues.

    • Ive got to disagree about the Orpington being too docile for a mixed flock. I have a mixed flock of 18, 3 of them Buff Orpingtons. They all hold their own, and one is the lead hen of my flock. She even puts my rooster in his place when need be. Great article by the way Janet. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. I have a mixed flock of hens 5 barred rocks, 4 lavender orpingtons and one rhode island red with 2 lavender orpington roosters. Although one of my barred rocks is definitely “in charge” I think that having a variety of different breeds helps that the pecking order stays fairly calm. My question however is what would my babies look like if I hatch eggs from my barred rock mixed with my lav orp rooster….or my rir mixed with the rooster??

    • Hi Jen, I really don’t know what would result from those crosses, as I’m not a breeder. If I were you, I’d try the backyard chickens forum. They have some discussion boards on breeding. Anyway, it sounds like a beautiful flock!

  20. One added benefit is that it’s much easier to count a mixed flock to ensure everyone is present and accounted for. I only have 7 hens, but I never count to 7. I count 3 white, 2 red, 1 brown, and 1 black. I can’t imagine trying to keep track of everyone if they were all the same, especially if there were more of them.

  21. We just got chickens in August. We have a mixed flock of:
    2 Cinnamon Queens — Cleo & Clementine
    1 Easter Egger — Jeannette
    1 Golden Laced Wyandotte — Harriet
    1 Speckled Sussex — Sadie Mae (My favorite!)
    I love having different breeds. They look so pretty with all the different colors and spots. I like knowing who’s who at just a glance. I want more chickens and they would all be different as well. Now if only I could talk DH into it!

    • I agree, Beth, a mixed flock is much prettier! Sounds like you have some beautiful choices. I have a couple of golden laced wyandotte pullets and blue laced red wyandotte pullets, and they are gorgeous. Can’t wait till they start laying, as my older birds are now molting. Good luck working on that DH!

  22. HI, I am building a new coop that will be done in about a week, and I am so excited to get some chicks! It’s been 10 years since I had chickens, and I always liked Buff Orpingtons and Auracanas. I live in temperate coastal California, and I don’t know anything about these breeds, which will be available at our feed store this week: California Greys, Wellsummers, Morans.
    They also have Rhode Island Reds but the ones I had in the past were MEAN and we couldn’t go outside without a tennis racquet to protect our faces from attack lol. I’m hoping for good layers, but not too broody.
    Anybody help with info about California Greys, Wellsummers, Morans?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Kristie, I think just about any breed will thrive in your mild climate. I agree that Rhode Island Reds can be aggressive. I’ve never raised them but a friend of mine has, and his were quite a bit more aggressive than his other dual purpose breeds. I don’t know anything about California greys, but Wellsummers and Marans tend to be pretty even tempered, as far as I know. Good luck and have fun with them!

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  24. My BC Marams are a little more aggressive than other birds I have had.Ihad some Penedesencas and would get more if I could find any. I had three Penny hens and a very aggressive rooster who wouldn’t let anyone ine to coop area. The coyotes figures a way into the coop fromabove, and the Pennys and Orpies were all killed, so I start over with 4 surviving Easter Eggers. To that I have added one Frizzles Cockin, and three BBC Maran hens, and 6 more EEs of assorted beautiful colors. Ihave done my own incubating, but I am not happy with the rooster issue. I can have2o nmy parcel, but that doesn’tprotect me from angry neighbors with pitchforks(LOL))I may try to keeo one of the BCM roos, who has great copper ruff and irresdecent green highlights on his black tail feathers.So far,he is fairly docile as roos go. In August, I have a 1blue, i lavender and 2buff orpies coming, and that’s my flock for the year.

  25. I’m a first time chicken owner and would like some advice. I live in Minnesota, obviously we have very cold long winters. Can you recommend good breeds that continue to lay in the winter, or just ones that can survive the cold well? I’d also appreciate beginner tips from anyone who can give me them! I’m thinking about 6 hens to start, no rooster.
    Thanks!

  26. I enjoyed your article and felt the following comments helpful as well. I rescued two RI reds + one hen which looks sort of like a buff Orpington only the ends of her tail feathers are black & her comb is bigger. And she can be aggressive. She was Alpha hen we I got them; I named her Goldie but nicknamed her “Mother”!! LOL! I named one RI Red Myrtle & boy does she talk!! “The sky is falling !” The other RI Red I named Tillie. I live in Oklahoma & once they started laying (post-winter) myrtle has become the alpha hen. Goldie & Tillie sort of purr when they talk. Then sucker that I am while in the local feed store got two Ameraucana’s! They have been with us 8 weeks. I amen them Harri / Carrie! Harri is short for Harriette Since I am reading RI’s can be aggressive I tried adding Goldie to their enclosure & she immediately let Harri know she was boss & Harri ran for cover so I took Goldie out.
    QUESTIONS Does anyone have a clue what breed Goldie might be based on description?
    Any advice on how long I need to isolate Harri & Carri ?
    Tillie isn’t laying and she seems very bullied by Myrtle & Goldie? Her comb is pale & weak Any suggestions on how to boost her? She has been my favorite since day one & I hate to see her so timid.

    • Hi Stella, I am not sure what breed Goldie is, but I would guess a “production red”. That is a RIR which has been bred for egg production and not for color and markings. Production reds tend to be lighter in color than RIR’s bred for show.

      As for isolating your new birds: I gradually introduce new birds to the flock, and don’t allow them to live together 24/7 until the new ones are at or close to adult size. By then they seem to manage quite well, amongst the incumbent hens.

      Hard to say what’s going on with Tillie. Is she molting? Is she ill? I’d need more information

      Hope that helps a little!

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  28. I too am not a ‘purist’.
    I’m about to introduce a blue splash Wyandotte rooster into the mixed flock of 13 girls that we have at our primary(elementary) school here in Adelaide, South Australia.
    Our 13 girls are are comprised of
    1 gold laced Wyandotte
    1 silver laced Wyandotte
    1 barred Plymouth Rock
    2 silver Sussex
    2 Rose Island reds
    1 Australorp
    1 Wellsummer (I think?)
    1 spleckled Sussex
    3 hyline Browns
    I’m hoping to teach our kids a bit about genetics and inherited characteristics, as well as hopefully breed a few really cool looking chooks. Should be some fun for all involved!πŸ˜‹

  29. While I agree that a mixed flock is more pleasing to the eye, I’ve seen the results after many generations of natural breeding within a mixed flock. And those results aren’t pretty on any level. While each generation is unique, eventually they all look the same. And have the same poor performance in terms of meat, eggs, health and vigor. If you only raise hens or roosters then mixing breeds is of no consequence. But breeding mixes on the other hand, usually results in disaster.

  30. Loved the article on mixed flock. I felt kinda foolish getting the chicks, one of this, two of these but glad because learning more and seeing what characteristics are important to us. Have to comment on names. My 12 year old son named our chicks, all actor names, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansen, ect with the most attractive and favorite being Denzel Washingfon. We also had a rabbit, James Franco. I pointed out they were all girls. Oh well. I’ve never been a ‘farm girl’, but I love having chickens.

  31. Great article! I’ve been wondering the same thing, so this answered my questions. I currently have a few polish and silkies. I have been contemplating adding to my flock with a larger breed. Sounds like you didn’t run into too much trouble with yours. Thanks again for the post!

  32. Hello, we are just starting out and I’m interested in a mixed flock as well. I have a couple questions for you: firstly, how do you get hatcheries to only sell you a few of a breed? We are finding that most places have a 10 of a breed minimum (to avoid an extra fee). Also, with a mixed flock, if you are going to have a rooster, how do you decide which breed? Obviously any chicks would be mixed breed but how would you decide which breed is best to mix them with?

  33. We want to have a mixed flock & we live in Boise, Idaho. What breeds would be best for our harsh winters & 100 degree summers?

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