Can I Keep Different Chicken Breeds Together?

Chicken keepers often wonder, can I keep different breeds of chickens together? Yes. Keeping different chicken breeds together is common. There are so many breeds to pick that most chicken keepers can't decide on just one type and end up with a variety of breeds in their flock. A flock of different chicken breeds is definitely a possibility, it just takes a little homework to make sure everyone is well-suited to live together. 

When it comes to the basics — food, water, coop and run space — there's no difference whether you keep a flock of all one breed or multiple breeds. All chickens need fresh water daily along with access to fresh food and a secure coop where they can lay eggs and roost for the night. An open-air run will give birds a chance to get outside to access sunlight and fresh air. If you can, it's good to let your flock free range for exercise, access to pasture and to alleviate the boredom of confinement. The only difference when you keep multiple breeds is between bantam chickens and heavy breeds. Because bantams are smaller birds, they will require less space. If you keep bantams and heavy breeds together, then space requirements should be dictated by the larger birds. 

Pin the image below to save this information for later. 

Keeping Different Chicken Breeds Together — Personality 

Overarching your flock goals, it's important to remember some chicken breeds are known to be docile and calm, while others have a more dominant personality. You may not want to combine the two. But if you do, be sure to keep an eye out for personality clashes. An example of this can be keeping Wyandotte chickens with Easter Egger chickens. Wyandottes are known for their dominance. Easter Eggers can be skittish causing them to become a target and often lower in the pecking order. 

Keeping Different Chicken Breeds Together — Egg Color and Quantity

Different chicken breeds lay different colored eggs (like blue or green eggs) and different amounts of eggs. Some are even on the top ten list of best egg layers. If you want lots of white eggs, you may not want to have a flock of Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks. Both of these breeds are prolific egg layers, but they lay brown eggs. For a large number of white eggs, Leghorn chickens fit the bill. 

If you favor a particular color of chicken, it's good to know that many breeds have variations in feather color so you can meet your egg goals without sacrificing the feather color you like. For example, Leghorn chickens are available in a variety of colors with the white and brown varieties being the most popular. Both birds are great white egg layers, but they look very different.  

White Leghorn

Brown Leghorn

Keeping Different Chicken Breeds Together — Weather

Yes, the weather is a factor for chickens just as it is for humans. Every year there are stories of folks that bought the wrong breed for their climate and experience losses, have unhealthy chickens, or end up bringing their birds inside where the climate is more moderate. Do your research and see if the breeds you're considering are cold-hardy or do well in warmth. Luckily there are many breeds that do well in both climates, so your choices will be numerous. 

Keeping Different Chicken Breeds Together — Breeds vs. Hybrids

Technically, not all chickens offered at a hatchery are actual breeds. This is important if you want to have a breeding program to sell chicks or hatching eggs. 

A pure breed is a group of chickens with particular traits that they'll reliably pass on to their offspring when they reproduce together. In general, pure-breed chickens mature slowly, may go broody and can be used for eggs and meat. Pure breed examples include New Hampshire, Brahma and Sussex.

A hybrid chicken is produced from a cross of known breeds. When bred, it will not reliably produce traits. In slang terms, a hybrid is a mutt. Hybrid chickens are bred for a specific purpose like sex identification, egg production, egg color or general appearance. Popular hybrids include Easter Eggers, Olive Eggers and Sex Links. 

If you're clear about your flock goals and do your research ahead of time, you'll find keeping a flock of different chicken breeds can be beautiful and rewarding. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...