Some of the best chickens I've been around were mixed breed. They seem to be better foragers, better mothers, and lay more eggs then their parent breed alone. Not to mention they can look quite nice too. One of my favorites is Rhode Island Red crossed with Barred Rocks.
Does anyone know what makes some good crosses?
Anyone got photos of your mixed breeds / what the parent breeds were? Or some second or third generation birds hatched from mixed breeds?
I agree with you about the mixed breeds. I have eggs in the incubator right now that have either an Americauna or mixed breed (white leghorn and americauna) rooster for the father, and the mothers are white leghorn, rhode island red, black australorp or americauna.
I don't have second or third generation yet...but here are a couple pics of the first generation crosses.
I have some Americana mixes who just hatched over the past few days. I am wondering what type of hens and roosters they will make. I do have an Americana/RIR mix who is a pretty pretty girl with big red muffs and lays me HUGE olive colored eggs. I wouldn't trade her for anything.
__________________ Rechelle - Wife and mother to 2 girls ages 4 and 6. Caretaker to 9 goats (Saanens and LaManchas), countless chickens & ducks, 7 Kahtadin Sheep and 6 turkeys - whew.
Some of our best hens came from stock that had game hen mix somewhere in their line. They were a tad bit smaller but we used them as layers. One of our most protective roosters came from the same stock.
................... Living a rich life frugally....
One has to keep in mind that the best mixed breeds are the F1 generation of cross breeds. For those that aren't familiar with breeding....taking 2 different pure breeds and mating them creates hybrids....the first mating produces chicks with the most vigor. If you take one of those pullets and breed it back to the same pure breed rooster as before and save one of those pullets each year and breed that to the same pure breed roo as before for eight generations it will breed true again...that's called grading...just sayin, in case someone cares.
about half of ours are mixes. I have about 7 that are 1/2 white wyandotte (by americauna, buff orphs and the jersey giant crosses) and 5 that are half jersey giant (by americuana, buff orphs and dark cornish) I love the mixes, they are really good mamas and sitters. They lay well and are quite hardy
Solstice Sun Farm- Nubian goats, heritage poultry, soaps, and upcycled crafts
I have had a real mix of birds for past several years. I started with a mixed bag from McMurry of 25 heavy hens with 5 different breeds, I bred them to a RIR Roo and brd those Hens to an Americana Roo and bred those hens to 3 different Americana Roos for and then bred those to a White Rock\RIR crossed Roo. And finally The Hens I have this year were bred to Black Australorp Roos. I get all different color eggs from light blue to dark green with brown spots and all shades of brown. I keep 3 Roos with about 35 hens and cull and replace 1 or 2 Roo's each year. And rotate Hens every other year. We process and eat the extras. Someday I may achieve my own specialty breed of Mutants.
started out with a mixture of heavy breeds and a barred rock rooster. I wll every year buy trade to get some new blood into my flock last year There was a tro of eastereggers the year before some brown leggerns the year before a big RIRed rooster and some new hampshire hens .This keeps my flock colorful and my eggs colorful they sell very well at the market .I hatch a lot of my own eggs and try to eat or sell the almost all the roosters my hens are big and good layers my mistake was the legern blood as it knocked the size of my rooster crop down a notch but they have been weeded out this years roosters are RIred x Americona to add size and color .I'm careful not to get any banty or game blood so as not to slow down the laying or hurt the size any more
Last year we had a clutch from our Black Americauna rooster and a Black Copper Marans hen. It was a hidden clutch that only had 5 eggs hatch with one pullet. The pullet laid her first egg yesterday. It is an amazing dark camouflage green egg. We're hoping it wasn't a fluke and we'll be getting 6 of those a week this year.
Cross a Gold Laced Wyandotte over anything and you're bound to get a colorful flock. Here's one of our sires - GL Wyandotte/Americana X:
Here's our second in command - Maran/LangshanX.
The nice thing about this duo is that thanks to the different combs and those cheeky puffs, we can nearly always tell who's the daddy!
Here are their progeny.
This is one weird looking bird. Easy to see that gold lacing coming through, but that thick feathered neck. Strange.
"Embroidered Gray Velvet" (Mum was a Blue Laced Red Wyandotte), and "Cheeze Puff" - (Mum is a bantam Buff Cochin).
'Sequin & Gold Lamay" - Looks a lot like her sister, but more gold. Absolutely shimmers in the sunshine. Note that pea comb too.
On the Langshan side of things, here's a real beauty. Savvy too. He'd have gone to the soup pot months ago, but I can't catch him, and he seems to know when I have it in mind! Given his comb and that upright carriage, I'm pretty sure he's got the Langshan genetics (though he's not long legged).
Here he is with Dad (and a junior sis).
My Langshan/Maran cross came from Chickenista. Hefty, hearty, good layers of large, dark eggs and great mothers! The GLW/Americana cross is the better of the two males for taking care of his flock (posting food, alarming against predators) but he's also the lead roo - and our Langshan fellow is a cripple who grew up compromised, so not sure how he would have performed normally. The Americana fellow adds A LOT to the bulk of his progeny. We recently butchered some 6 month old Minorca crosses he sired. The hen was natually a small breed, but thanks to his genetics, the offspring were plump for their size - weighing in over 3 lbs. Not bad for a Minorca cross, so I'm happy to have him as a lead roo, and if I were to recommend a roo for meat offspring, I might suggest the Americana based on our experience.
Those are all good looking chickens.
I have 3 breeds only, all dull looking compared to those pictured, and I've mixed the marans roo with ameraucanas to get olive eggers.
I've also mixed the marans roo with black australorps and did get some black babies with leg feathers. They lay a pinkish colored egg.
My marans hens are laying a darker brown egg but not very dark so I'm sure these are already mixed with australorp too.
The ameraucanas are still breeding true and lay nice blue eggs, so I also have a nice color variety in my cartons.
Nice big carcases when butchered at 12 weeks and great egg layers in the winter.
Delaware roos and cucko marans or barnvelders or speckled sussex do NOT result in a pretty bird. Ugly as you can get. I didn't keep any to see what kind of layers they'd produce. This year I have the Delaware and a partridge rock rooster. I'd like to see the PR over the marans and barnevelders. Both roosters are very large.
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I have one Ameraucana and Polish Crest mix (used to have a roo from the same hatch but he was taken by a predator, he was a GREAT roo!). She is interesting looking, but cool. I also have an Ameraucana and Cochin mix. She is BEAUTIFUL!