I’ve been raising Dixie Rainbow Chickens for almost 3 years now and my experience has been pretty great! Here’s the rundown on everything you need to know about this hybrid breed chicken, including Dixie Rainbow Chicken pictures.
The beginner’s guide to dixie rainbow chickens.
I originally learned of Dixie Rainbow by reading on the Backyardchickens.com website about hybrid breed chickens. I knew I wanted, at the time, a laying flock and a meat flock.
But why not maintain a “backup”?
If Dixie Rainbows were as great of a hybrid as I’d read, they would be the best meat chicken for our little homestead. And if they were great layers, like I’d read, then eventually I could just raise that breed.
Well, that’s exactly what ended up happening!
What do Dixie Rainbow Chickens look like? (Identification)
One awesome characteristic of Dixie Rainbows is they often look totally different from each other! In fact, they’re classified as a “rainbow” because there’s no set look to them.
The standard pattern of a Dixie Rainbow is tan/brown and speckles, somewhat like this picture below.
But the beautiful characteristic of Dixie Rainbows is that every now and then you get a wild card. From our last flock, we got 2 brown hens, 2 more standard looking hens, 1 beautiful speckled roo and the head-honcho and first-hatched the snow-white roo!
Some chicks may also have winged eyeliner or a small flick of black stretching from the corner of their eye.
These hybrid breed chickens are full of great personality. Full of life, they’ll strut around the yard like they’re the best breed there is (they’re pretty close to it!).
You’ll find the hens are wonderful mothers when they go broody, committing to the brood and hatching their young to success. Watch out, though! A broody hen might give you a good peck if she’s a committed mama, which is almost always.
In fact, even when you incubate eggs they prove their resilience. The few eggs that had trouble pipping or zipping have been fighters! It’s amazing to watch a little day-old chick decide that today is a day to live, not die. We, of course, assist when appropriate!
I mean, just look at this strong little chick!
As for the roosters, in my experience, I haven’t had an aggressive Dixie Rainbow rooster yet. Large? Yep. You betcha. A little bit slow to learn? Yes, I’ll have to admit.
But they’re good roosters and you don’t have to worry about being attacked. They’ll watch over the hens and they’re beautiful. I haven’t had a bad looking Rainbow Roo’ yet!
Since Dixie Rainbows are a dual-purpose bird, they grow insanely fast. If you’re raising rainbows as meat birds, you can expect them to reach market weight around 12-13 weeks and will be 6-8 lbs at maturity. BIG BIRD.
At 12-13 weeks your flock will have full combs and wattles and your roosters will start to cock-a-doodle-doo. This is my most recent flock, and yes, they are ALL Dixie Rainbows – full bred. The flock in the photo below are roughly 13 weeks old!
Although I have not raised Cornish Cross chickens, I didn’t love what I read about them. Cornish Cross chickens are probably one of the most sterotypical meat chicken. It’s what you often find in factory farmed setups, but I do know smaller homesteaders that choose to raise Cornish Crosses.
The reason I chose against it is that they’re bred to grow even more rapid than the Dixies, meaning at some point they’ll likely not even be able to support their own weight.
Cornish Cross chickens are a good breed if you are good at sticking to a schedule. I’ve also read not to raise them in the summer as they are not heat tolerant birds.
Dixie Rainbows lay a medium-large brown egg at the end of the spectrum of 20-24 weeks. These yummy brown eggs are often more towards the larger size and I’ve even gotten a few double yolks! On average, Dixie hens will lay around 225-250 eggs a year.
I’ve never had a problem in the winter with my hens not laying, in fact, my flock has always laid its’ best in the cooler months. I will say, though, that this summer (2020) has been particularly hot and their laying has significantly slowed down.
From my small flock of 7 hens right now I usually receive 4-5 eggs a week. Right now in the heat of the summer with constant heat advisories I’m lucky to get 4 eggs a week. This is not the norm, though, and is the first summer experiencing this.
For folks who live in more southern states, you don’t have to expect a bad molt fro Dixie Rainbows. Here’s a picture of my flock in the winter of 2019. Our winters in Florida are quite mild and I’ve never experienced a real molt. This year my Dixies molted more than they ever have.
Where are Dixie Rainbow Chickens for sale?
In 2018 I bought my first flock from The Chick Hatchery but it looks like they no longer provide Dixie Rainbows at their hatchery. Here’s my receipt from my purchase in 2018, although expect prices to have changed given the current climate (global health crisis slowing down postal, etc.)
Hoover’s Hatchery seems to provide Dixie Rainbow Chickens but as of September 10, 2020 they are out of stock. Some local hatcheries and farm stores might also offer rainbows as an option, so call around.
Be sure when you receive your chicks that your brooder is properly setup! If this is your first time raising chicks, I promise it isn’t that hard.
Here are a few resources to get you started:
- How to raise chicks for beginners
- Brooder heating plate vs. heating lamp
- How to raise meat chickens for beginners
Dixie Rainbow Chickens: Summary
Although there isn’t a lot of information on the web about this dual-purpose, hybrid breed chicken I can tell you they’ve been a joy to raise. You’ll get a large bird with an even larger personality.
I raise only purebred Dixie Rainbow right now, maintaining a small layer flock of 5-10 birds at a time and incubating eggs to raise meat birds when I need to.
My only reservation with my Dixie Rainbows is that they aren’t doing well in the heat this year. And, living in Florida, the heat is something I have to take into consideration with everything I do.
But, there you have it. Everything you need to know about Dixie Rainbow Chickens! Let me know if I can answer any questions. Until then, happy homesteading folks!
Related to backyard chickens:
- Best poultry sheers
- Stick-tight fleas (aka Poultry fleas) and how to get rid of them
- Egg production and why it changes