mixing breeds of poultry

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

We want to purchase some different breeds of hens and wondered if there is any problem mixing breeds? Do the hens have to be about the same size to prevent fighting or is this not even a problem. Also at what age can you put chicks with hens or with a rooster? Thanks for your help!

-- susan banks (susan.banks@sait.ab.ca), January 28, 2002


I have never had a problem mixing any chickens as long as you "introduce" them first. I staple a barrier of chicken wire in the coop and put the new birds in a section of the coop behind the wire with thier own feed and water for 2 days. This way everyone can get to know each other before it is "everyone for themselves"!

Remember that chickens have a definate "pecking order" and your new birds just have to learn who the bosses are and where thier place is in the birdly order of the chicken coop. It will seem like they are being attacked, but they will be fine -- they are all just working it out. Never lost a bird yet!

As for the new chicks. Introduce them the same way but leave them there for week. Everyone gets to know each other and when the barrier comes down -- again the big birds will let the little ones know how things are going to be -- but they will be fine.

Remember though, you don't want to put those babies in the coop until they are all feathered out - especially in cold weather. Don't put them out before they are at least 6-8 weeks old.

-- Karen (mountains_mama@hotmail.com), January 28, 2002.

Susan--we have all different kinds of bantams--- since they are not seperated----of coarse they are mixed-have never had a problem with them-& the bantams are all different breeds so they are different sizes- When we introduce "new ones", to the "regular Girls"---we do it at night---when they wake in the morning all seems to be fine--- We make for sure the chicks are well past feathered well before we introduce them to each other--also we keep them shut up for a few days when we put new ones with the others--as we let ours free range all year. We have neighbors who don't take good care of their chickens & they let their dog chase & kill them----we have gotten up in the morning to find that the neighbors hens have flown over the fence early in the morning to get in with our chickens--as they are protected & fed well!! We know they aren't ours as all of ours have feathers down their legs & on their feet--these poor little hens look naked with tiny skinny little legs & no feathers-- so sometimes we have chickens that come to us---that are different sizes & breeds--they have never fought --but of coarse they all free range in a large area & roost together in the barn & lay together there also. I hope that helps--answer some of your questions.

-- Sonda in Ks. (sgbruce@birch.net), January 28, 2002.

Roosters should be raised with the old flock to prevent fighting with the 'boss' rooster,if you wait till grown,the fight is on,one will win,other won't. pre-breed chickens are for the pure blood of the breed,but at home,what ever comes is welcome.

-- Dusty Road (ourpinkroses@yahoo.com), January 28, 2002.

I have Standards and Bantams. All the roosters (a bunch) and hens free range together during the day and roost together in the pens at night. When a hen hatches a clutch, they stay in their own pen until the little ones are completly feathered. They can see the rest of the flock thru the wire pens and vice versa. When I open the gate of the hen and her brood, they go out and mingle with the flock. I've never had a problem.

-- ~Rogo (rogo2222@hotmail.com), January 28, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ