New To Chickens : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hi All,

I am looking into getting a mixture of laying hens. I have chossen the heavier breeds because of the winters here in Maine.

I am ordering 6 - Black Australops, 6 Buff Orpingtons, 6 New Hampshire Reds, 6 - Silver Lace Wyandottes + 2 Easter Egg Chickens(Can't remember the name?)

Will I have any behavior or competition issues with this mix of breeds? I have seen all these breeds mentioned as mild tempered birds and good for cold weather.

Thanks, Todd in Maine

-- Todd in Maine (, March 14, 2002


Our 2 black australops have done well this winter. They are not "pushy" like some of the banty mixes, but they are larger so no one bothers them much. They really ARE kind of laid back, but that won't keep them in once the banties decide to fly the fence!!!!!!! I've GOT to get that fence changed once the ground dries up! Hehehehe! They laid well last summer but that may be because they were pullets; some birds start out well but taper off to soon.

-- Terri (, March 14, 2002.

Todd, you shouldn't have any problems with them. I keep large breeds (Australops, Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, etc.) in with my bantams. If you have enough room in the coop, they will do fine. I free range during the day and close them up at night. You are going to have so much fun just watching them! Best wishes!

-- cowgirlone in OK (, March 14, 2002.

You won't have any problems as long as they have enough room. It isn't so much for "body room" as it is for just roaming and scratching around. You get into problems in crowds because chickens get bored. When they get board and don't have enough to peck and scratch around they will start pecking each other. I sprinkle some scratch around every day or every other day to keep them occupied. Only about a cup or two for 12 chickens. they will eat it all up in no time but keep scratching and pecking trying to find more and it keeps them happy. Scratch is a cheap way to keep everybody happy!

In the beginning and as they get older you will notice some competitions occuring. This is natural and is where the term "pecking order" comes from. Chickens have a very definate pecking order and once it is established and everyone knows where their place is, they will all get along fine.

-- Karen (, March 14, 2002.

Just like Karen said, once the "pecking order" is established most chickens co-exist very well. We have several types mixed together and have very few problems.

-- Sharon (, March 14, 2002.

Will they be in a confined and limited area or will they be moved every day or so? In Maine I imagine the snow season prohibits moving a pen in the winter on some days. Then I would be sure to provide fresh greens or scraps from the kitchen to entertain them. You can even hang them in an old onion bag. You ordered some beautiful breeds that will probably get along great especially since they are raised together.

-- Anne (, March 14, 2002.

You should have no problems if you can keep them occupied. Since we don't use pesticides or other chemicals we've found that when we rake leaves in the fall we bag them then dump a bag or part of a bag in every few days. They go nuts scratching through looking for bugs. During the winter they seem more bored so the leaves give them something interesting to do. Peace, Kathy

-- Kathy Aldridge (, March 14, 2002.

For cold winter climates the best thing to look for in a chicken is a small or compact comb. This is the part that freezes. (we are up in Ontario, Canada). Bantams are often tougher than the larger birds I find. There was a breed developed particularely for the cold up in Northern Quebec, I forget the name though. They have a flat comb - not charming, but practical. If you are interested, I can look up the breed.


-- Chenoa (, March 15, 2002.

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