I want to start a thread on Culling Ayam Cemani and hear what everyone else has learned.
To start I would like to state that Culling does not mean killing chicks or chickens. Culling means the removal from a breeding program. You can do this by putting your culls in a different pen or "Free Range Pen", selling them as culls, or if you you choose to butcher that works too for some works too but Culling is not anywhere defined as killing anything. It is simply removing from a breeding program by however you choose.
From what I have learned from almost 2 years on raising Cemani, patience is key and not to cull as young chicks. I cull when my chicks reach a young adult age. Of course, for anyone that hatches chicks that are obviously not solid black head to toe, you can cull those right away if you choose. Important example of why not to cull as day old chicks is because a solid black day old chick does not show what that chick will look like as an adult. If anyone knows about the hybrid "Smithsonian Line", there are allot of sellers that own these lines and sell chicks and eggs. The chicks still hatch out solid black allot of the time. You can see examples of some sellers on ebay with their adult breeders with red faces and even white ear lobes and showing pictures of their chicks that look solid black. My first Ayam Cemani I purchased privately from Greenfire Farms in 2014 was a young pair of not so great quality. About 3 months went by and the rooster was about 6 months old and developed a reddish Mulberry face, bright red wattles and neck, bright white skin color, and had a solid white and pink inner mouth and tongue. I don't know about you guys but that's not an Ayam Cemani or even close to "Pure". I then gave Greenfire Farms another chance and they sent me some good quality young adults the second time with black facial pigment, gray skin and very little bits of gray in mouth with a white tongue. My other line came from Feather Lover Farms Spring Last year and they sent me chicks that grew up to have some with solid black inside their mouths and tongue. I culled and selected only the best of both lines for breeding. My point is that the first rooster Greenfire Farms sent me was an obvious cull but when he was a day old chick he would have been solid black still. Though, he would grow up to be just as bad quality as a Hybrid Smithsonian line. Raise your chicks up to at least a young adult age because chicks change. Some can grow up with light skin, red faces, white ears, feather color leakage, and white inner mouths and tongues. Some will grow up excellent quality solid black everything if the parents were good quality and both chicks would look the exact same as judged as a solid black day old chick.
Remember that you should not select your breeding stock just based off whose line they are from. Select your stock based on actually judging the adult birds you are getting or the adult Cemani the breeder is using.
Here's another great example why not to purchase or cull based on brand name: A picture of my original Greenfire Farms Rooster next to a picture of a good quality Cemani rooster that is not GreenFire Farms Line. If I did not tell you what line they were from, 100% of you would tell me the good black rooster is obviously the better one over the red faced white ear lobe rooster. Unfortunately, once I label the picture GreenFire Farms Line and the better rooster with an unknown random breeder, all of a sudden you see too many people thinking in their heads that the GreenFire Farms rooster is better because it's "Greenfire Farms Line". That is not how to properly judge a bird based on where it's from and how to improve this breed. I do not care if someone says their line is Greenfire Farms, I care about what the bird looks like. A chicken is not judged in any way at a poultry show because of the bloodline, but how the chicken looks. A Farm Name does not mean you have quality. The actual bird you receive and judge makes the quality of the bird because of the 100% of you that would have said the good quality black rooster was the better rooster over the lower quality GreenFire Rooster without me telling you the bloodlines. :) I am not saying GreenFire does not have good birds because they do and that's where some of my best birds are from, I am saying don't be so obsessed with the "Bloodline" over the "Actual Bird".
Patience is key to improve this breed. Raise allot of chicks to at least young adult age, preferably adult age, and then select the best of the best and cull off the rest. Don't select your breeders based on chicks. Wait to select which adults to use as breeders because that's how you truly select the quality you are going to reproduce and improve your flock.
I hope I helped some of you out when making your selections on culling and looking forward to hearing everyone else's Culling Tips on how to improve your Ayam Cemani.
Edited by Cali Farms - 2/6/16 at 5:39pm