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Advice on breeds for mixed flock?

Posted: 13 Aug 2018, 21:20
by AyeAyeMagpie
I'm hoping some of you lovely experienced chicken keepers will be able to give advice/opinions on my breed list. I'm a first time chicken keeper. I have a large garden, the hens will mostly be in a spacious enclosure but will be able to free range a little each day. I have two young children and a very well trained border collie. So I'm looking for breeds that get on well together and are fairly happy being petted. I'm also interested in having a variety of egg colours, just for fun. Let's be honest, the whole thing is just for fun. I'm looking for family pets that lay eggs.

I've narrowed my list of potential breeds to the following:
Cream Legbar
Orpington
Maran
Faverolle
Wyandotte

There's five on the list but we only intend to have a flock of four birds. Do you think this is a good selection? Are there others that you think would meet my criteria? Have I got something wrong and should I strike a breed off the list?

Also, any suggestions of breeders? I'm in Lincolnshire.

Thank you in advance for any and all responses. :)

Re: Advice on breeds for mixed flock?

Posted: 14 Aug 2018, 07:38
by Meghen
I'm afraid I don't have the experience of different breeds to answer your question properly.
I would just say that as far as them getting on well together is concerned, it is probably more a question of them all arriving together. They will work out their own pecking order.

The Marans and Cream Legar will certainly give you some lovely coloured eggs (I had Marans and Araucanas for a while). The friendliest hens I have ever had are two that I have at the moment, little red hybrids of some sort from the market, here in France. They are not at all averse to being picked up and I'm sure would be ideal for children.

If you get a Faverolles, I would be interested to know what you think - I was considering them too at one point. But it's really difficult to source different breeds in my area, which is why I end up just going back to the market man.

Re: Advice on breeds for mixed flock?

Posted: 14 Aug 2018, 08:16
by Meghen
You've got me thinking about Faverolles again! :lol:

Looking on a few French websites, it seems that there are three strains of Faverolles: French (the original one), German and British. As far as the French one is concerned, it's a breed that appears to be mostly kept for meat, so if the British one is the same it might not be suitable for your requirements.

Re: Advice on breeds for mixed flock?

Posted: 15 Aug 2018, 22:08
by AyeAyeMagpie
Thank you, that's helpful. I'm struggling to find breeders of Favorelles within a reasonable travelling distance anyway so I think it's fated that they come off the list. From what I've read, it sounds like they have nice temperament, which I think is what first attracted me to them.

Yes, I agree, the Maran and Cream Legbar would make for an exciting egg basket. I like the idea of being able to clearly identify which egg came from which chicken.

I see what you mean about getting the chickens all at the same time. I've found a fairly local breeder that has several different breeds (including most of my list) so I'm hopeful that they'll be able to supply the full flock in one go. That would make life very easy.

Are you thinking of seeking out Favorelles now? :D

Re: Advice on breeds for mixed flock?

Posted: 16 Aug 2018, 17:09
by Meghen
No, I was originally interested in them because, if Wikipedia is to be believed, the breed originated in a village called Faverolles which is quite close to where I live, so like you it was just for fun! What I really want are Cream Legbars, but I don't know where I can get them here.

Good luck with sourcing yours - let us know what you end up with in your little flock!

Re: Advice on breeds for mixed flock?

Posted: 20 Aug 2018, 07:54
by AyeAyeMagpie
I'll report back when I finally have my chickens!

I had no luck with the local breeder, I think they've stopped breeding. There seem to be a lot of out of date breeder directories floating about the internet. I've found what looks like another good breeder but it's just over a two hour drive away. Not impossible but I'd want to make sure they have what I'm after before making the journey.

I'm beginning to rethink Marans and lean towards the Welsummer instead because it seems to have a calmer temperament yet still lays fairly dark eggs. Oh decisions, decisions.