different breeds in same henhouse??

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hola. i'm new to this whole chicken thing :oD and i was wondering:

if you get two different breeds of chickens, and keep them in the same coop, will they fight each other or pick on each other (among hens, and among roosters as well)? for example, i want to get some Golden Polish (ya know, the guys with the 'fros) for show purposes (and laying, even tho i hear they lay rather small eggs), and i'm thinking about Getting either Rhode Island Reds (i hear those roosters tend to be nasty) or Light Brahmas (if any one could help me decide, please do. which has the best disposition and who lays the most eggs and highest quality eggs?). will they house well together or will the rirs or brahmas (whichever i get) be annoyed or jealous of the 'fros of the polish guys (i know that sounds dumb, but if i was a chicken...hehe)? oh, a little note, i'm planning on ordering pullets, but as the hatcheries can only guarantee and 90-95% sexing accuracy, i might end up with a few roosters. should i let the roosters stay w/ the hens? and if i have two diff types of roosters would it be wise to let both of them stay w/ the hens? ok any responses i would greatly appreciate! thanks a bunch.

-- C (punk_chicadee@yahoo.com), April 02, 2002


I keep Polish and about 8 other breeds together. I have both Rhode Island Reds and Light Brahmas (looks like we have similar tastes in chickens) They're both good layers, But the R.I.Rs are more dependable in the Fall and Winter. I don't have anymore fighting than when I kept all leghorns. Mix 'em up and enjoy!

-- Gayle in KY (gayleannesmith@yahoo.com), April 02, 2002.


I have Delawares, Jerseys, RIReds and Barred Rocks. The Reds have always been housed separately. We got them first so..... (btw - we ordered them as pullets, expecting at least 2 of them to be roosters. hah! ended up with not a single roo in the batch of 25!)

The other 3 we got all at the same time, including 3 RIRed roosters, and were housed together til they were 22 wks or so old, at which time we seperated them because we didn't want the breeds to mix.

The only problem we ran into was getting the matured RIRed hens to accept the just maturing roos. They sure gave them a run for their money! Of all my roosters, and I have 13, - the biggest teddy bear of them all is the biggest RIRed rooster!

And NONE of my roosters are mean. I can pick up every single one of them. I think the secret is in how much you handle your chickens as they grow up. I found that the young roos seemed to be the ones who craved/needed loving/touching/mothering the most. They were also the ones that got scared the easiest. Go figure.

Because I wanted to make sure I didn't end up with any mean roosters, I made a point of handling them every day. More so than the hens. They are now going on 3 years of age this summer, and I still peiodically touch them and pick them up. This seems to have made all the difference in their temperments. At least that's what I think has made the diference.

As for eggs - the Reds out produce and out size all of the others.

I also have a mix of mutt Bantys. They're birds of another different catagroy all unto themselves. -)

Hope this was of some help!

-- dottie - in E Shore MD (mother-ducker@webtv.net), April 02, 2002.


Since you are getting pullets and as distinguishing males from the females is virtually impossible unless you have someone do it for you, until they are older or start to crow, you will be raising them together for at least in the begining. I agree with the handling aspect affecting disposition and feel that it will calm down roosters, doesn't mean that all of them will be tame, just that they will be calmer than if you didn't handle them often. As to keeping the possible roosters, keep them if you want to raise your own hatching eggs or if you want to be improve your chicken lines or create a cross breed, you might want to get a rooster or two from another source later. Kind of depends on what your goals are.

-- BC (desertdweller44@yahoo.com), April 03, 2002.

We have always raised and housed different breeds of chickens, guiena hens, peacocks and even turkeys together. We just don't tell them they are all chickens !! (LOL) This was the first year that we had to take some roosters down to the sale barn. They were fighting each other terribly. Now have 3 roosters only. One in the coop with the ladies..about 10 of them. And the other two just roam around the barnyard. I wouldn't worry about it. After all us humans all seem to live together OK too. (well, most of the time). Good Luck !!

-- Helena (windyacs@npacc.net), April 03, 2002.

Presently, I have RIRs, Dark Cornish, Buff Orpingtons, Dominiques, Americaunas, Leghorn/Rock crosses, Anconas (all standard sized); and Americaunas, Belgians D'Anvers, and Silver Sebrights (all bantams) all in the same house. They're out everyday, free ranging, so stress is minimal (I think I have about 50 chickens in total in the coop at night), and fighting is pretty much non-existent. I have 15 roos altogether, but 5 of those are going into the pot this weekend (we have 5 RIR roos, and I'm keeping the two nicest looking and friendliest for breeding purposes) and 2 really mean and aggressive Silver Sebright roos that keep attacking the kids. Actually, I find that of all the roos we have or have had, the bantams tend to be the meanest (not all are mean, but they've been the ones I've had to cull for meanness).

We keep the roos with the hens, and don't separate by breed. When I want to breed true, I separate the roo and a couple hens into their own pen for a week or so, collect the eggs, and put them under whoever's broody at the time (I don't think we've ever NOT had a broody hen around here!).

Anyway, enjoy your chickens!!

-- Andrea Gauland, Big Flats NY (andreagee@aol.com), April 03, 2002.

We (my parents and me before I moved out) keep various polish (including golden, silver, buff laced, and white headed black) in with other various breeds (cochins, silver leghorns, buttercups, americanas). All full sized. The only problem is that sometimes when it rains, the feathers on the polish heads droop down as they get wet, exposing there scalp so the oother chickens pick on the top of their heads. Every now and then one gets a little bloody, but they don't seem any worse for the wear. Very sweet birds!

-- Elizabeth (lividia66@aol.com), April 03, 2002.

Andrea -

Thanks for your info. With my flocks being reduced, I have been considering combining what I'll have left into 2 hen houses rather than the 4. Would just make our lives a little easier. My concerns have been the roo to hen ratio and how they would adjust to each other seeing how the roos are use to having their own hens to themselves. I figure I'll end up with apx a 1 to 4+ ratio, and I see that this is apx what you have. So it appears to be "doable".

I was glad to hear how you handle the breeding to keep the breeds true. This was also a concern of mine - how to go about it if the breeds were being housed mixed. Thanks!!!

-- dottie - in E Shore MD (mother-ducker@webtv.net), April 03, 2002.

thank you all bunches for sharing your knowledge with me!

-- C (punk_chicadee@yahoo.com), April 03, 2002.

My neighbors kept their black polish separate from their leghorns, silkies and rhode islands because the other chickens always pecked at their top knots. In my own experience, our mixed group of chickens (rhode island, barred rock, leghorn, and polish) also pecked at the top knots (we had two black polish, one got pecked much worse than the other. maybe he ran faster) Anyway, we didn't separate them and eventually they quit pecking. The black polish that had been badly pecked at regrew her feathers and they were thicker and better looking than before. If you will show your chickens I wonder if you may have to separate the polish to keep them looking their best. By the way, my flock was bought as day old chicks and raised together,and they still exhibited this behavior.

-- sariah .south ID (joelsariah@hotmail.com), April 03, 2002.

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