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Breeding Free Range Chickens-Keeping Breed Integrity???

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello! Since I've started raising chickens, I never really thought about breeding them so I always just got whatever was available at the feed store. Now I have a mixed flock, a Faverolle rooster, a bunch of Easter Eggers (which were sold to me as Ameraucanas :/ ), a Barred Rock, a Plymouth Rock, Gold Laced Wyandotte, and a bunch of their offspring (25 total).

 

I would like to get into hatching and selling chicks but I know having full breeds, sex links, or specific combinations would be much easier to sell. So my question would be, does anyone out there breed chickens with a mixed, free range flock? I know it's kind of silly but I was hoping someone would have a solution that I haven't thought of. I won't put them in pens just to breed, so that is out.

 

Right now (unless I get any better ideas) is to get some real Ameraucanas so that I can breed Favacaunas. I'm hoping I will be able to tell their eggs apart from the existing Easter Eggers, but at the very least I should be able to tell their chicks apart. Gradually I'll phase out my Easter Eggers, or if I can tell them apart I will just sell them for cheaper.

 

I might also try to get some faverolle hens so I can breed them with the rooster I have. I really don't think I'll be able to tell their eggs from the other brown laying hens I have now though. The barred rock chicks will be super easy to tell apart though and they are sex links. Haven't successfully hatched any of the others though (maybe bad genetic combination, they all were late quitters).

 

So any ideas on maybe encouraging them to lay in separate areas, or if there is a distance I could keep two flocks apart to discourage certain roosters from breeding certain hens? I am about to acquire an additional 5 acres next to my property, so I will have 9 total.

 

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Also, if anyone has Ameraucana or Faverolle eggs they are willing to sell, that would be great too!! Thanks!

post #2 of 7
Unfortunately if you want certain breeds or crosses you will have to pen your breeders separately. There is no way around it. Hens will lay eggs wherever they want, and cockerels and cock will breed any female they can find. So there is no way around needing a breeding pen unless you concentrate on a certain breed or cross. You could possibly get away with breeding Faverolles alongside "Favaucanas". I did try hatching some Faverolles X EE eggs for fun this year. Got 4 males and 1 pullet. The lone pullet has a single comb so no blue/green eggs from her. All the cockerels were pea combed, and are in the freezer for there more assertive behavior.

Is your Faverolles male a breeder or hatchery bird?
post #3 of 7

If you only have the Faverolle cock/erel .....

-and get true Ameraucana hens

-and have no other blue layers

-and can tell the Faverolle eggs apart from all others

 

...then you could separate the Faverolle and Ameraucana eggs with baskets in the incubator and band the chicks when moved to brooder.

 

Or if you wanted 2 cock/erels, you could have 2 coops and free range on alternate days to control fertilization exposure.

 

Curious.......What's the attraction/goal of Favaucanas?

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aart View Post

If you only have the Faverolle cock/erel .....
-and get true Ameraucana hens
-and have no other blue layers
-and can tell the Faverolle eggs apart from all others

...then you could separate the Faverolle and Ameraucana eggs with baskets in the incubator and band the chicks when moved to brooder.

Or if you wanted 2 cock/erels, you could have 2 coops and free range on alternate days to control fertilization exposure.

Curious.......What's the attraction/goal of Favaucanas?
Yes I only have the faverolle rooster and some of his EE sons, who are probably all going to the freezer.
Yea, I think that is what I'm going to do, just focus on faverolle and favacaunas. And probably the sex links as well since their chicks are so much different looking. I'll gradually phase everyone else out.
I guess the reason I was going for the favacaunas is because I have the rooster and I like the ameraucanas. They aren't common either.
post #5 of 7

If this is what you want to do, you really need to have a do over. I have riff-raff hens, gathered from here or there. Last summer I BOUGHT a rooster. He is a much higher quality rooster. There is a difference. Mixing him with my hens, and hatched out this summer, and you can see a difference in a first cross. I am not going for selling chicks, I just have some specifics that I want in my birds. Over the next 5 years, I should get close to a full blood flock. 

 

If you are going to breed, you need higher quality birds than what you get at the feed store. You can check out Sandhills Preservation, I was very pleased with their Delawares that I ordered from them, or maybe contact some more serious breeders nearer to you. A high quality rooster will make quite a difference, but not one that you got at the feed store. It will take a long time for mine to become higher quality, but from here on out, I am getting or hatching higher quality birds, but I am doing just for me, I don't want to sell chicks to others on any kind of scale.

 

The thing is, if you want to do this, and why not do it, it will be fun. But you really need to start over with high quality stock. It does make a difference.

 

Mrs K

Western South Dakota Rancher
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Western South Dakota Rancher
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post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Well the rooster I actually got locally from someone who was breeding them. I'm no expert at knowing what determines a quality bird, but I would say he is the best in my flock. No health issues, beautiful feathers, big, and has the five toes and feathered feet. What else should I be looking for? Since I planned on getting some more faverolles, I figured I would get some roosters (I'll hatch them myself) and I can upgrade if those are better...
post #7 of 7

Good Faverolles are difficult to find. Breeding good ones is even more difficult. People seem to get hung up in the color patterns, toe placement, etc and miss the bigger picture. 

 

There is a Faverolles thread here:

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/268082/faverolles-thread/16340

 

This is my old male I lost not that long ago.

 

Photo 33 of 43

 

And an older picture of him with a really nice hen.

 

900x900px-LL-ef2bc014_13729_102811_08.jpeg

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