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You are Here: Home -> Forums -> Health/Care -> Mixing breeds

Topic: Mixing breeds (4 messages)

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Mixing breeds (4 messages)
Posted By Message Posted On Report
Score: 1
Agreed to free rare chick with purchase of bargain brown eggs layers lost a few chicks the first few days , that was expected with transit
The rare chick ( top hat) quickly became a favorite
However the heavy breeds have attacked the feathers that make her special
She will likely die because we found her weakened and bald
She is in bad shape we have isolated her from the rest of the flock but realize what is to happen
My request to mcmurray would be to add info on the possibilities of mixing breeds that don't look alike and what owners can do to prevent
5/13/2017 4:35 PM report abuse
Score: 9
I can relate to this issue. Many new poultry keepers may not know to separate or carefully monitor mixed flocks for problems, especially as related to pecking and flogging of smaller breeds or breeds with visibility issues ,like top hatters have, in regards to their more limited sight. It would be nice that MMH warn new customers of this possibility when offering a free chick , or indeed when they place an order for mixed breeds of any number. While I have had mixed flocks often for many years with only occasional problems, they certainly do arise when some breeds are thrown together! This type of behavior can occur even within the same breed of chicks, spontaneously ,it seems, at times! Daily, careful observation of all of your birds is advised, so that early intervention can be initiated when excessive pecking is observed. It is more often a problem in mixed flocks, crowded or restricted runs and coops, when temperatures are extreme, or when there is too little food or water. However, this is pretty normal chicken behavior, just the way of life for miniature dinosaurs with tiny pea size brains! Try some pine tar or other aide on the victims,(liberally applied!) to both heal, repel flies and discourage repeated pecking if you do try and return the injured bird to the general flock. It has worked for me about 50% of the time. Good Luck with your savaged bird!
5/13/2017 6:29 PM report abuse
Score: 1
My flock is nothing but mixed. 17 chicks 17 different breeds. We also got a free Top Hat Roo! the females would peck at his head all the time, then I read that you can put blue food coloring on eggs for identification and that they do not tend to peck at it. So my poor guy got a blue Top Hat Color dye! It reduced the pecking dramatically! I just had to reapply....and it was a sight to see!
7/24/2017 9:13 PM report abuse

Score: 9
I have had some trouble with a mixed flock and pecking, mostly when we first combine the new generation into the older flock. I've never had top hats, but no two of my hens are the same breed. My broody hen gets picked on all the time, but no blood in years. Not sure I have good suggestions for your specific situation, except that if she can squeeze into spaces smaller than the heavies, maybe give her an escape room with feed and water?

In the past, what we've done to combine the new birds with the old flock is grab a hose, a beer, and a lawn chair on a nice sunny day. Then put the hens together (at this point they usually have seen each other across wire for a couple weeks). Whenever a scuffle breaks out, spray with the hose. It has often taken a couple beers to sort out. Don't do this in cold weather or late in the evening!!!!!!

This year we are trying something different and hopefully less traumatic. The brooder is going in the coop with wire between them and the hens right off. We'll eventually open an excluder door sized so the hens can't get into the brooder and combine them with supervision once the chicks don't need a heat source anymore, or have outgrown their brooder.
1/31/2018 9:15 AM report abuse