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Different Breeds -Get Along?

 
A. Soto
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Location: FL
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Within the next few years, with some luck and hard work, I intend to at least be renting at a house. Now, assuming the backyard is big enough and the Landlord and neighbors don't shoot down my hopes, I intend to keep a few chicken friends for egg production and learning how to take care of them/befriend them in preparation for my Grand Master Plan and starting a Homestead.

The question for this Thread is this: Do you have experience keeping chickens of different breeds in the same flock? Any heritage breeds or hybrids, or exotics? And how did you manage?

My idealistic side is hoping that I can get three hens for a tiny backyard flock: A Polish Frizzle, a Rhode Island OR Plymouth Rock and a Black Jersey Giant. Does this sound crazy? I imagine the Jersey being the top of the pecking order, maybe a bit bossy, but her size could intimidate potential predators. And seeing all of them get along could be wildly entertaining. I've already given up watching TV lol
 
Su Ba
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Wow, you've chosen 3 significantly different sized birds! I've never tried keeping such extreme size variations in a close pen, but if the hens have enough room they should be ok. The frizzle will be at a disadvantage because she won't be able to fly to avoid being attacked. But having said that, my own little frizzle is quite bossy and will even peck my pushy leghorns.

My own hens have plenty of space, so their size isn't an issue. The flock is made up of all sorts of breeds just because I like to see them. Red Star, Rhodes Island Reds, Speckled Sussex, white Leghorn, Americana, New Hampshire, Austalorps, Barred Rocks, Turkens, assorted Wyandottes. Plus an assortment of banties, just for fun. If I were concerned about feed efficiency and top egg production, I'd stick with Red Stars and Leghorns.

I know of a neighbor who had kept a standard size Araucana and a banty Buff Brahma together is a 3 tiered chicken condo in his backyard. They did fine although the banty often wasn't "allowed" in the upper tier. But the hens didn't overtly fight.

Hope things work out for you. Personally I think everyone should have at least one hen. It's a great way to recycle kitchen waste and produce fresh eggs.
 
A. Soto
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Location: FL
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Su Ba wrote:Wow, you've chosen 3 significantly different sized birds! I've never tried keeping such extreme size variations in a close pen, but if the hens have enough room they should be ok. The frizzle will be at a disadvantage because she won't be able to fly to avoid being attacked. But having said that, my own little frizzle is quite bossy and will even peck my pushy leghorns.

My own hens have plenty of space, so their size isn't an issue. The flock is made up of all sorts of breeds just because I like to see them. Red Star, Rhodes Island Reds, Speckled Sussex, white Leghorn, Americana, New Hampshire, Austalorps, Barred Rocks, Turkens, assorted Wyandottes. Plus an assortment of banties, just for fun. If I were concerned about feed efficiency and top egg production, I'd stick with Red Stars and Leghorns.

I know of a neighbor who had kept a standard size Araucana and a banty Buff Brahma together is a 3 tiered chicken condo in his backyard. They did fine although the banty often wasn't "allowed" in the upper tier. But the hens didn't overtly fight.

Hope things work out for you. Personally I think everyone should have at least one hen. It's a great way to recycle kitchen waste and produce fresh eggs.


Right; Ideally I would like a decent-sized backyard. I was under the impression that because chickens are social, I would need a minimum of three to my tiny coop. Otherwise they might not be as happy. What do you think?

Ah so you've had Frizzles? How do you describe their temperament? Are they flighty? I had a strange idea that I could trim a Frizzle's hairdo and be a "chicken barber" or I could pull the hair back with a tiny scrunchie! Only I wonder if that would hurt her. I wouldn't want to do that if it did.

From what I have heard, Jersey's are rather docile, like gentle giants. I'm not sure if that will affect my hen in the pecking order, though I do know her natural size and gentle disposition would probably help command some respect.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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I have all three of those birds in a MUCH bigger flock. Actually the flock is about 60 birds and I think about ten breeds. From buffs, to mutts and tuffts. it's all there. They get along fine as long as they have enough room to roam. In tight paddocks they tend to pick on the little guy. In this case the silver laced polish is the scape goat, despite being one of the 4 roosters and the only one who ever crows. When he was still a chick he had to have his own place to grow up, because that breed is so clumsy they get trampled easily. Also the tufted feathers on his head were always being picked at by the other birds.

With only 3 birds and plenty of space you should be just fine.

Also, trim the top of the Polish so it can see better. That makes them a lot more calm and easy to deal with. When they can't see, they are constantly jumping from their own shadow and they get lost easily.
 
A. Soto
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Location: FL
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Whoa, thank you for the information!

I see... so trimming the hair on the Polishes IS a good idea! I'm glad I asked, though. Yes, I had heard they can get anxious if their hair obstructs their vision.


I intend to yield as much space as possible, allowing them free-range during the day in the backyard. Even though I guess that isn't technically free-range... I want to provide as much space as possible. At least until I can get my little carving of land and really use my gathered knowledge and put myself to a much bigger challenge.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Here's my polish.
IMG_3799.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_3799.JPG]
silver laced polish
 
A. Soto
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Location: FL
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Very nice! It seems as though nearly every Polish has its own unique hairdo lol
 
Walt Holton
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I have kept several varieties together and they do not seem to be too racist, or care too much, but there are some breeds that are knuckleheads in general (leghorns, astrolops), but I have found chickens have personalities if you pay attention. I had Leghorns, Brahmas, Brown Sex Links, and Buffs together and they got along like peas and carrots when you watch them scratch and peck, but the minuite I would go out there, a number of them would cvome up to me to be petted and one sex link would go nuts and peck the ones that wanted petted. We called that chicken Pecky, but she was the tamest of them all, and all I could figure was she was jelous. There will always be a bit of hazing when you introduce new birds to the flock (sometimes downright mean), and the best way to reduce that is to introduce the new birds after the others have already roosted for the night.
 
Wes Hunter
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Location: Seymour, MO
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There is certainly a difference between breeds in temperament, but you'll also find there's a difference within a breed in temperament as well. So maybe Breed A is generally considered to be more bossy than Breed B, but your individual breed A may not. Especially with only a few birds. And, generally speaking, mature males are going to be more likely to not get along than mature females, regardless of breed.
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