Can you have a flock of 4-6 birds with each bird a different type?

  • 14 Replies
  • 963 Views
*

OakR

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Location: LONDON
  • 8
Hello all

First post and a complete novice!

I am exploring getting some chickens on my allotment and have been readings lots about runs, coops and chicken breeds \ hybrids etc.

I think I will probably start with 3 or 4 hens, possibly going up to a maximum of 6 dependant on the breeds I get.

I've got young children, so was looking at some breeds more suited to being handled etc, and some of these seem not quite as prolific egg layers, and of course they all look different. So let's say I had 4 hens, could I have 4 of one type, or is that a bad idea (assuming the types generally got on). I think they will have a decent amount of space, more than the 1 square metre per hen, but I can't find if they need company of the same type of hen, or if different hen types are ok - I can see 3 hens is the general minimum recommendation. 

Thanks

Al

*

snow white

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Location: suffolk
  • 866
I had four hens.  One Welsummer, one Rhode Island Red, one Vorverk and one of those that lays green eggs and has a feathery cap (can't think of the breed for the life of me!)  All got on really well.  I chose them as each laid a different colour egg.  Dark terracotta, typical beige, white and green in the order of chickens listed.  then I knew which chicken was laying.
A handy girl with a cordless screwdriver.

*

OakR

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Location: LONDON
  • 8
I had four hens.  One Welsummer, one Rhode Island Red, one Vorverk and one of those that lays green eggs and has a feathery cap (can't think of the breed for the life of me!)  All got on really well.  I chose them as each laid a different colour egg.  Dark terracotta, typical beige, white and green in the order of chickens listed.  then I knew which chicken was laying.

Thanks very much for this - this is great and sounds like I can go with quite a few different types of breeds.

*

New shoot

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Location: Reading
  • 14300
I have a mixed flock and they don't care really, so long as they have company.

There are a couple of things to consider.  If you mix large and small breeds there can be a bit of bullying.  I have had smaller hens rule the roost, but generally very small breeds can get kicked about a bit by larger ones. 

Also, can you get them all at about the same age and at the same time?  If you only have one coop and run, this is a prime consideration.  Introducing hens into an existing flock is very stressful for both sides and can be cruel for young hens or ones that you buy as single birds.  They could have a really rough time of it  :(

*

OakR

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Location: LONDON
  • 8
I have a mixed flock and they don't care really, so long as they have company.

There are a couple of things to consider.  If you mix large and small breeds there can be a bit of bullying.  I have had smaller hens rule the roost, but generally very small breeds can get kicked about a bit by larger ones. 

Also, can you get them all at about the same age and at the same time?  If you only have one coop and run, this is a prime consideration.  Introducing hens into an existing flock is very stressful for both sides and can be cruel for young hens or ones that you buy as single birds.  They could have a really rough time of it  :(

Thanks very much for your help. I'm not sure if I can get the birds at the same time - still deciding on breeds but if different ones I guess it's more difficult to get them together? Is it easier to do it in this way if raising them from eggs  / chicks (I assumed they would generally speaking need a hen to keep them warm at night etc even after hatching). I am still very much in research mode.

 I will try and get breeds that are meant to get along. So far I'm thinking of Gingernut Rangers, Miss Pepperpot, Rhode Island Red and maybe one or two that do different coloured eggs. And maybe a couple of ex battery hens. I realise that make more than 4....will need to narrow it down - might end up with 6 at this rate but would prefer to start with 3 or 4 whilst I am learning.


*

New shoot

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Location: Reading
  • 14300
Have you found the Poultry Pages on the main site Oak?

https://www.chickens.allotment-garden.org

The site owner has loads of articles on there, plus lists of breeders.  A lot of breeders who supply laying hens, like the ones you are considering. do have a range to offer  :)

If you get eggs, you will need an incubator and there will almost certainly be male birds that hatch, along with the girls.  They are difficult to re-home and then you are faced with culling them.  That could be very upsetting for you and your children, especially if they have raised them from chicks.  If you are a novice, I would suggest getting point of lay birds.

You could rig up a temporary run and home for newbies if you end up getting them in a couple of batches.  Fold way rabbit runs are useful and then you just have to make a box for them to sleep in.

*

grinling

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Location: Lincs
  • 3260
If having them at the allotment, you need to think about fox and rat proof for them. I used a metal bin for feed. You also need to be there daily and more than that in winter as water freezes.
How many hens does your allotment say you can have?
Getting hens at different times/different places you need to consider quarantine to stop illness.
Apart from eggs, you get a lot from young birds, they can also live for many years. My original hens came from an allotmenter who wanted to give up his plot, so I had 7. The last one had to be culled at age 8

*

OakR

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Location: LONDON
  • 8
Thanks both.

I have looked at those pages @NewShoot and some of the breeders but it's hard to tell who does what as many ask you to email them etc, and I don't want to do that yet until I have things more in order - but yes lots of good information there - thanks.

@grinling, I have the application form, the number reduced from 15 to 10 in 2016, but I'm don't think anyone has hens currently, and they have said they may consider reducing them further. I think I will apply for up to 6 or 8, but start with less in practice and see how I go.

Have been looking at how to fox proof areas - am in London and see 1-2 foxes nearly each time I visit. I see the eglu ones suggest not to dig the wire in just leave them flat outside which would be easier as I might try and site it where I have some trees (though that makes the overhead bit more complex. I measured tonight and think they will have an area 8metres approximately by 2 metres (for everything including run and coop) which I think should be enough even for 6 hens, but certainly when I start with 3 or 4 (if I've understood the guidance correctly. I can flex it a bit either way - first thing once I've decided to go forwards is get permission and then source a coop - I think I will try and build the run myself.
 

*

snowdrops

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Location: Burbage,Leics
  • 15957
I have 4 hens at my allotment as of January this year as they were my daughters & she was moving, they might be increasing by 3 Aís now our son is moving & might not be able to have them at the new place. We made our run fox proof, by digging in some slabs on edge all around the edge & building a weldmesh cage on top of it that has a weldmesh roof covered with onduline to keep out rain,bird droppings, sun etc. Where ithe run doesnít butt up to something, in our case back of the compost bins, shed, we set slabs down as a path to stop anything digging itís way through. I am lucky in that my husband is a joiner by trade
B469E351-9362-4888-BB28-204D60B01607.jpeg
6CA84EF1-A9DF-4FB4-8361-AF1BA29F03BD.jpeg
A2268FC5-EF12-44BA-A674-6C29F38BA23D.jpeg
1410B426-25BC-451E-9AB4-3D88C663549B.jpeg
« Last Edit: August 28, 2019, 10:32 by snowdrops »
A woman's place is in her garden.

See my diary pages here
and add a comment here

*

snow white

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Location: suffolk
  • 866
First up, this is just my opinion, please don't shoot me,  :(   Towards the end of my chicken keeping, I was down to three hens and re designed my coop and run.   I bought one of those plastic coops supposedly for four hens and made a run from a poly-tunnel frame measuring 5m x 2m.  I did the same as you are thinking of doing and just laid the wire outwards and pegging down.  The actual run and coop worked fine keeping rodents and other birds out.  But the coop was only really for two average sized birds comfortably.  One of my hens died, as they do, so I was down to two.  Two to the coop was brilliant.  The run size was perfect for two birds. It really was not enough for three average sized birds.   Two birds meant it rarely smelt and they rarely turned the run to smelly chicken mud.  So the point of what I am trying to say is, if you want more than four birds, then you would need a bigger run.  Or as I did when I had three, make another run and alternate them every year and grow veggies in the vacant one.  Keeping lots chickens on the same ground year in year out will lead to very diseased and smelly soil.

*

grinling

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Location: Lincs
  • 3260
L shape the wire, I had 2 spades depth, 2 spades out. Have the height so it is comfortable to stand up in run. Have it covered, preferably solid to stop water making soil muddy/smelly.
Weld mesh is better than chicken wire, but foxes can climb.
I also use a washing up bowl for water as easy to clean.
My hen house is on castors for easy moveability.

*

OakR

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Location: LONDON
  • 8
Thank you so much everyone for all your help, and sorry for the late reply.

All the information above is really helpful.

Am going to try to finalise where I might out the run and then apply for permission and if all good then get started - I might wait til after winter to get the hens - will see.

*

grinling

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Location: Lincs
  • 3260
I have the Haynes manual for chickens,extremely helpful.
Alternative to POL would be to buy hatched chicks, there are a few autosex breeds. I had a marran,who was friendly.

*

OakR

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Location: LONDON
  • 8
Re: Can you have a flock of 4-6 birds with each bird a different type?
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2019, 21:35 »
Thanks everyone. Just to update I will put my application in this weekend. One of my fellow plot holders wants to be involved and kept chickens in his garden until earlier this year so whilst I will take on responsibility and costs etc, we can share feeding etc and cover if one of us can't make it. I also have another plot holder who has offered to cover when I am on holiday etc, so I'm feeling better about being able to have someone there each day on the occasions I can't make it.

Assuming the application is approved, I think I'll aim to get the first chickens early next year once the run is built and I've sourced a coop second hand - am hoping over winter some come up and am going to go for a plastic one for (hopefully) reduced maintenance \ lack of red mites.

I've looked at the area and it will be approximately 5 metres wide and between 5 and 8 metres long. Am aiming to start with approximately 4 hens, probably POL hens, maybe some ext-battery ones, not sure yet still researching.

What do people do for water in winter - our allotment has now water over winter, do you give them water from water butt, bring tap water from home etc?

Thanks

Al

*

snow white

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Location: suffolk
  • 866
Re: Can you have a flock of 4-6 birds with each bird a different type?
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2019, 21:44 »
I used to buy those large plastic water bottles 5ltrs, and fill them at home, then store them in my shed. Don't use dirty water.



xx
Advice Needed - Reintroducing a bird to the flock

Started by Welli on The Hen House

1 Replies
1090 Views
Last post April 14, 2012, 13:02
by ANHBUC
xx
Introducing new birds to a flock

Started by KateFW on The Hen House

2 Replies
1013 Views
Last post August 10, 2011, 21:47
by KateFW
xx
Adding new birds to flock

Started by wildfowler4 on The Hen House

10 Replies
2488 Views
Last post January 18, 2011, 19:16
by wildfowler4
xx
Introducing new birds to the flock- any thoughts please?

Started by shiatsusu on The Hen House

13 Replies
2397 Views
Last post February 16, 2009, 04:27
by drumcrow
 

Page created in 0.166 seconds with 52 queries.

Powered by SMFPacks SEO Pro Mod |