The Mix and Matches Breeding Project Thread
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I have a flock of purebred chickens that I plan on cross breeding. I find something desirable about all the breeds and they are beautiful in their own way. I will begin with some traits I am hoping for in my mix breeds. In order to do this, a basic knowledge of genetics would make it easier to reach a desired goal. I also know that cross breeding could be a crap shoot. Oh well, What is the harm?
Egg layers: all chickens lay eggs but the best egg layers are frankly boring to look at. There are many rarer breeds that are prettier and are undervalued as egg layers. Minorcas, Anconas, White Face Black Spanish, Mottled Houdan to name a few are supposed to be great layers of white eggs. Those chickens are pretty but white eggs are - boring? How about mixing them with Ameraucana for offspring that lay blue eggs and are not like other chickens. Or Ameraucana/Cochin cross for a green egg layer that produces more than a purebred Cochin. I can see a fluffy, feather legged, bearded chicken that I could like. How about a Mottled Houdan/Ameraucana cross that lays blue eggs and has a crest, maybe 5 toes and unique coloring? I prefer to use Ameraucana rather than Legbars because I don't much care for Legbars for their Leghorn looks.That is just a personal preference
I want these crosses just to see what I would get, not to create my own breed since I am already elderly and don't have the time or patience to concentrate on culling for a specific purpose. This is just for fun. If the results are not satisfactory, the chickens can always be rehomed. Everyone wants a laying chicken and make it pretty, all the better. I have lots of ideas.
I would love to hear more. Once I learn to use my camera phone, I will be able to post pictures. Right now it's not likely.
I'm all about the yard art of chickens. Space for housing them is limiting me to two breeds of pure bred which are sultans and mille fleur d'uccles. But I've ordered various pullet chicks to cross with a sultan rooster eventually and work towards the sultan shape of chicken with all the typical characteristics of a sultan but with colors and patterns. I could have started with polish x sultan crosses but I'm actually sort of bored with the colors of polish and want something new.
As a side effect of cross breeding I also hope the more colorful "sultans" will lay more frequently. So far my pullets consist of brown leghorn, several colors of brahma (boy will those be big sultans!), a Cornish which was sent rather than a orpington. I'd like to add a salmon faverolle, specked Sussex, crevecour, mottled houdan, Russian orloff and something penciled. My neighbor has silkie crosses which already have a head bump and 5 toes as well as feathered feet, I'm hatching some of those eggs and hope for a few interesting pullets to add to my hodge podge. So, it's up in the air, no set plans other than white and preferably a mid to large size.
I'm not sure if you would call it a new breed or not. I want Sultans but with colors. So I'm going to try to retain as much of the sultan characteristics as possible and their shape. What I love most about the sultans is their friendliness and how docile they are. So I'm trying to keep away from breeds with known aggressive tendency and hens who are peckish at others. So to me they will just be colored sultans. No specific color, just various colors.
I will continue with breeding pure sultans too. I'm refusing to add any other rooster than a sultan just to avoid any crossing I do not want with my sultan hens..although my little mille roo might have just kicked off the crossing experiments. he's too good of a roo to fry up unfortunately and my husband keeps letting him and his girls out of their separate pen.
I understand that the white color of the Sultan is recessive and not dominate white, so I'm hoping to keep hens from my first cross and breed back again to sultan roo's. This I hope will do two things. 1, produce nearly sultan looks in a hen who will lay more eggs and 2, give me some color while getting closer to the sultan shape. I might have to keep a colorful roo at this point for the 3rd cross so I do not end up with too many white chickens.
If each chicken takes 6 months to mature, and I'm only just starting this project with pullet chicks, this could take a long time! My husband does not want me bringing in adult hens and the hens I have access to are ones I really do not want anyway. But, my neighbor does silkie crosses and his pullets out of those are gorgeous and already will set me on the way with 5 toes and a small head crest as well as various colors. So I'm hatching eggs from those silkie crosses to go with a few large fowl pullet chicks I bought for the project. I'm only keeping my neighbors chicks with head bumps and 5 toes, and just crossing fingers a few turn out to be females.
I understand what you are saying about working in the "type". And I did consider it since it would be the quickest and easiest route to go. The birds of the type are lacking in patterns though. With Polish being splash, black/white, blue/white. buff, silver and gold laced. Then mottled from houdans. I'd like to see double laced like barnvelder or penciled or even multi colored like the tolbunt polish (which I would get but it's pricey). The mille is an accidental possible cross, if I was determined to get that color I would have started with a pyncheron, and I would love to get a small flock of those! But space limits..
I know at 3rd generation I'm far beyond "type" to consider a cross of my color "sultans" but the reason I would probably do it at that point is to deal with the recessive white gene. I think by 2nd generation of crosses I'd already be getting 50%+ of white non sultan type white chickens and only 1/4 or less of colors on the 3rd generation. So I think crossing a colored "sultan" roo would be best to do earlier and actually try to remove some of the white recessive. It would stagment me for type on that generation, but would give me more colors with less recessive white on the next generation. The whites will get better and better though and eventually should dilute the inbreed, limited sultan bloodlines. But I think waiting later to do color crosses will give me too much white and less colors to work with.
I know I'll have to cull pretty heavy(cull being they go to auction). But I also need to keep the bloodlines dilute or I'll end up with colored sultans who are as inbreed and limited as white sultans are. There are ways to go about this that are quicker, culling heavily, starting with polish, but I feel that by putting in barnyard mixes or pure breeds who are no where near sultan form I might actually be doing the breed some good in the future as long as I keep adding additional bloodlines with my roosters and not keep using the same sultan rooster over and over again.
HA this gives me a reason to get more sultans..
It accidently begins...
A mille Fleur egg just hatched out a mixed breed with a sultan father. And I thought the old guy was sterile. But I have a yellow chick with 5 toes, a big black spot on it's side and a single comb.
I did not expect a yellow chick with a black color splotch.
Today or tomorrow should see 2 sultan hen eggs hatch which could be mixed or pure. It will be interesting to see how they compare to sultan roo x mille hen chick if they are mixed and from Mille roo x sultan hen.
My husband has convinced me I need to concentrate on one pure chicken breed though and my Mille's are now looking for a new home. I'll be allowed to keep some of my "colored" pullet chicks for the project, but will have to limit it to about 5 colored pullets at a time.