If anyone has any thoughts or questions surrounding the suggested breeding feel free to ask. If you have stock and have any questions about the genetics and how to get them where you want them, ask away. No question is too simple, and if you've got a question it's probably safe to say others have the same question. The only way we can learn is to ask.
Erminette - Page 3
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I picked up three pullets and a cockerel a few weeks ago. None of them are marked properly. Looks to me to be three/blue splash, and one black and white. Would like to see what everyone else thinks.
Two hens have white legs, and the other hen/cockerel have yellow legs. I have an order placed for chicks this season. Is it worth pairing these hens up with this cockerel and culling hard? He was the largest male to choose from, of two with yellow legs - the other three also boasted a few blue feathers/or red.
I will have several breeding/raising pens this summer. Along with two incubators. One for incubation, and one for hatching out.
So far they have been one of the easiest chickens to work around. Very Docile. Unfortunately they all have a crooked toe or two. Anyone else see this trait? Or would it have come from cool brooder temperatures?
Edited by Capriole - 1/18/16 at 4:21pm
I haven't experienced crooked toes with my birds, but I have heard of it showing up here and there. Using the black and white male over the white and blue feathered females will give you 25% of the chicks having the Erminette color (black and white), 25% will be white and blue, and 50% will be solid white. So, while the blue feathered birds would technically be a disqualification, you can use them if your breeding pens are limited in order to produce the correct coloration.
The one warning when using the individuals with the blue gene......their solid white offspring can carry the blue gene and they will still be solid white. So you wouldn't want to use the solid white chicks out of those crosses as you may inadvertently perpetuate the blue gene in your flock. That said, then roughly 50% of your stock aren't 'available' for selection. If you have the means to hatch out nearly every egg that comes your way for your first breeding season, you'd be able to get off to a real good start and you'd have a nice number of birds to select from at the end of the year.
Add to it some of the chicks from your order this year and you should have a nice breeding flock going into 2017.
Thanks for posting the pictures. It's always nice to see the stock of others.
Edited by BurrOakHill - 1/18/16 at 1:28pm
This pullet's color isn't right, but she's got the coveted yellow skin and you can already see a nice type developing on her. She should end up a good sized, productive hen. Bred to a black and white male, you'll get some decent individuals out of her. As they always say, 'you build the barn before you paint it.'
Edited by BurrOakHill - 1/18/16 at 1:30pm
I kept two cockerels and six pullets out of the 25 chicks I got this year from Sandhill. One pullet looks very good, the two boys look good but are now showing some red feathers around their necks. One pullet has some gray or very light black spots while the rest are white. The ones I culled had orange or red spots quite pronounced. One of my friends is going to try to breed for the red spotted line.
A friend of mine caponized 3 of the boys. Two other bled out during the operation and they were butchered. Two of the culled cockerels were given to two individuals who are going to breed them with Turken to try to increase the size.
I really thought that I would get a better ratio of more "typy" birds and am really rather disappointed.
But I will try to breed for what you all are setting up for the standards.
You're off to s good start. Unfortunately at this time the breed has been quite neglected for many years and we are seeing the effects of this neglect. While it can be discouraging at first to have to cull out so many birds, it is so often the case (even when buying chicks from show flocks) to have to cull deep the first few years without the improvement one was first hoping for. However, take your first couple of years and hatch as many chicks as you can and cull deep. The key is to hatch, hatch, hatch. If you so this, after a couple of years you'll be thankful you did and you'll no doubt become quite content with them.
The yellow skin is hard to get at this point in time, so for those breeding these birds, don't let that get the best of you. There aren't many of them around. Unfortunately when I was at Glenn's last month and we looked over his Erminette pen there was only two pullets that I saw with yellow skin everything else had white skin. He has lost all of his yellow skinned males as this time. So for those who will be purchasing more chicks from Glenn this coming year will no doubt see a lot of white skin still. After the deep cold of our winter season is over I'll be heading over again to help set up breeding pens and I'll have more ability to see what is there.
This is a slow project that will take time (most likely decades) till the breed possesses a steady uniformity, and that's ok. That's really the fun of it all. And along the way you get some wonderful meat and eggs to enjoy.
One more thing - As a side note - Glenn has separated the Erminette from (what we've been calling) the Red Exchequer. As mentioned earlier, you'll still see some remnants from when these two breeds were crossed in the past. However, when people order Erminette chicks, he sends chicks from both breeding groups. I don't know why, but that's how he's been managing them for now until they get 'settled' better and more consistent in color.
So for those ordering, you'll most likely be seeing those red and white chicks. They are stunning and if anyone has the space to take on another breed, I would highly encourage it. If I had the space I'd be bringing those on board. :)
The one red bird that was available when I picked up my four was a very handsome guy. Had incredible markings. And was by far the largest bird in the bunch. I hated leaving him, he was so happy to be carried around while we caught the pullets. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of him. The birds in my photos were born middle to late august, and the photos were taken in December.
Maybe we can start another thread for the Red Exchequer?
Can anyone reccommend a good poultry scale? I looked at wal-mart the last time I was in and didn't see anything worthwhile.
Will everyone be toe punching their birds and/or leg/wing banding?