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The place to discuss everything else to do with chickens.
6 posts • Page 1 of 1
Can you keep large fowl and bantams together or will the littl'uns be unmercifully bullied? Never kept bantams, hence the question
I think it depends on the breed, and the breed mix. For example, I was told by a top orp breeder that you can keep bantam orps and large fowl together easily. I have done this and it worked out perfectly fine. I then went on to keep LF orps with bantam polands (good mix although LF males need some LF distractions!) and also with small LF (effectively large bantam) Sussex which worked fine, although I can't say it was the most cohesive flock ever, they tended to keep to their own breed. However, I have also looked after LF hybrids mixed with Pekins and bantam orps and the small birds kept their distance rather, although it wasn't constant bullying, mostly just around the feed pot. Overall, I am happier keeping sizes separate, but space sometimes dictates otherwise. My LF orps were all docile, I would worry more if I had a feisty breed. Perhaps I should also say my experience only extends to birds kept on the range for much of the time.
I expect it is influenced also by the normal rules of introducing new birds - ie, the established ones will strive to be top of the order, whatever their size and Autumn is better than spring for introductions. My only experience of bantams was with some very long-lived Silkies, including tiny little Matilda, who dominated the 6 POL RIRs I got when I wanted more productive additions. She carried on as top hen until she was 8, an accidentally drowned in the ponies' drinking trough. So I don't think you necessarily have to worry about the bantams, it's the full-sized ones you may have to protect!
Our Leghorn bantams are very flighty and very fast- more than a match for any large fowl. A while back the top ranked TNN Prescilla flew into the bantams run and was immediately beaten up badly by the top Leghorn Bluebell, who is just a quarter her size. Needless to say P left the run and never returned. I agree with Marigold. It may be the full sized that need protection and to add, if they aren't happy they won't lay.
Just to say that with chickens, as with children and dogs, you can never predict whether mixing sizes/ages will or will not work out happily, and in all such cases, space plays a big part.
Thank you, guys. Very informative and interesting. I shall have to consider a plan!