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Nancy

Chicken Newbie - Your top 4 mixed breed flock?

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Hello Omlet friends,

Completely new to chickens and in the midst of researching everything before we get them... later in the year... 

We are building a run and a raised coop will go inside... not decided on coop but the total run will be 6sq m / 64 sq ft.  The chickens will also be allowed out to free range in the garden when we are out - so we can keep an eye on them as we are very suburban location - however our garden is secure.  However there might be the odd day when the weather is bad or we are super busy that they have to stay in the run - but we don’t foresee this being often.

I’m going round the houses on which breeds - ideally we’d like to start with 4 hens and I’m thinking max 6 with the space we have?

I’d love a little flock of 4 different breeds - at least one good layer and the others reasonable for eggs and ideally lovely temperaments - we plan to try and have lots of contact with them so they are used to us and become part of our family.

i have an older labradoodle who is very chilled and two teenagers who ideally want the birds when they are as young as poss..

I’d be interested to hear your expert opinions on a nice mix of 4 breeds - that would give us some nice egg and be friendly.

We are based in Nottinghamshire- so any local breeder recommendations in East Mids appreciated.

thanks in advance for any help and advice,

xx 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are you looking to keep bantams or full sized hens?

My top three bantams are definitely:

New Hampshire Bantam, very outgoing friendly hens that don’t go broody. Lay a small to medium size egg.

Dutch bantam: very friendly and cheeky hen. Does go broody A LOT. Lays small eggs.

Barnevelder bantam: quiet hen, doesn’t tend to go broody and just very good looking.

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The run is a bit small for 4 large fowl I think. I recommend a minimum of 2m2 each. Temperaments can be 'luck of the draw' and similar colours group up against an odd-one-out, so there is an element of luck in a happy flock, but certainly the more space you give them the better. Double up on feeders and drinks as well.

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If you're looking for lovely little friendly hens that are good layers, you can't go wrong with the little brown hens IMHO. They go by various different names, though round here they all seem to be sold as a 'something' Ranger or Goldlines.

If you want a mixed flock, you could try something like: 1 of each: Ranger, Light Sussex, Coucou Maran, and maybe an Orpington? Those are all quite friendly, and black Orpingtons look really pretty, again IMHO.

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Ooh good question! 

I only really have experience of bantams - and for a flock of 4 I would go for a Plymouth Rock (great layer and reasonably happy being shut in sometimes as opposed to my campine bantam who is a super duper layer but HATES being shut in the run), an araucana for her blue eggs, a laced Wyandotte because they’re a great shape and so pretty and a pekin because they’re endlessly characterful, friendly and entertaining. 

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If I was having a mixed big girl flock I’d get a cream crested legbar in there for the blue eggs and the punk hairstyle! And I’m in love with my mini Wyandotte’s so a big one can’t be bad. 

From my very limited experience it depends a lot on what your supplier has at the time and at the right age/same age. 

Hope you get what you want. 

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Thanks for all the replies - ill be looking at all these breeds and might be able to get the run increased by 2 more square metres.

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I would go for an australorp - lovely calm beautiful hen that never went broody (for me) and had a lot of character.  An araucana for the lovely blue/green eggs and they're quite comical to watch.  A barnevelder because they are so pretty and are a very gentle hen and then I've never had one but I think I'd go for a light sussex.  All of these birds you can get in a bantam version too x

 

 

 

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I'd like to put a vote in for a cream legbar - first time I have owned one and did a lot of research into what the temperament is like.  Seems there are two strains - one flighty and nervous and the other very friendly and sociable (this seems the most common).

I have seem to have bought the flighty type - so the children do love to chase her round the garden to catch her and she will run but once caught she sits on my daughter's lap (daughter is eight) and she will be stroked (literally lying across her lap on her side) without any struggle and seems to really relax.  We have beautiful sky blue eggs from her that are full of flavour and in the last 52 days she has laid 45 times (but she is only 7 months and they lay more the first year of life).

Cream Legbars are often bottom of the pecking order which I think is down to their sweet temperament and my particular chicken is very slow in reacting to food being dropped so we normally have to save a bit aside for her to make sure she gets some.  She does also seem a little less intelligent than the others (will notice she's been let out of the run last that sort of thing) but a lovely family pet.

I have a campine and will second the experience above - they hate to be caged at all.  Will pace the run to get out and go off and do their own thing.  But lovely white eggs from them and very gentle when caught (mine is anyway)!  Good luck on your chicken hunt - great adventure!

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