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German and American New Hampshires

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone. I hoping some of you have some input on this. I got 9 four week old German Hamps from a breeder. She told me ahead of time that she was not great at sexing chicks so she couldn't sell me just pullets. Now that they are older it looks like 4 or 5
might be cockerels. It's not what I was hoping for but that was the deal. My wife as a gift and a surprise ordered a dozen Hamp hens from Murray McMurray. She didn't know that there were two different lines. While raising both the German line and hatchery American line I notice a few things. The hatchery birds seem to grow and feather faster and behave much different. They patrol the brooder box looking for insects and are more aware. If there is a strange noise they all lower themselves to the floor of the box and are on alert. They jump around the box and will peck and kick your hands as you try to feed them. Visually the hatchery Hamps appear to be darker but not by a whole lot. They seem like they will be better foragers than the German Hamps. The German Hamps are closer to SOP from what I have read several times on this website. My Germans seem more docile and not skittish if a loud noise happens or if there is a dog in the yard or hawk overhead.
Wouldn't we Hamp enthusiast want the qualities I'm experiencing with the hatchery Hamps yet have the looks of the German Hamps?

Since I have extra Cockerels, should I breed them with my best hatchery hens? Do I then take offspring from that mating and breed them back to the German family of birds? Or do I not breed the two lines together at all and keep them seperate? I know there are some of you that have breed both, what are your opinions on this? Thanks ahead of time!

Joe
post #2 of 4

You could always try a cross.  If I were in your shoes, I would probably take the best two hatchery stock and put them with the best Cockerel and try to hatch a dozen eggs just to see what happens.  My understanding is we don't always end up with what we expect.  Crossing lines adds a lot of new genes and sometimes undesirable traits.

 

I would put most of my focus on the german strain.  Hatch a lot of chicks and select the next breeders that exhibit the traits you are looking for. Not all of the traits are going to be in one package, and moving forward is often baby steps.  Down the road your tastes may change as well, and you can them select for that.

 

Ultimately it comes down to how much room you have and how much time you want to invest.

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New Hampshires
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post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply. If I breed the German line and keep culling and making selections out of the same gene pool, do I have to worry about brother sister mating or father daughter, mother son? Or is that exactly what I want to do? I dont want to open a entire new can of worms and another topic on mating and genes but I am curious about the suggested pairings.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Do any of you that have been working with or developing/improving the American line of Hamps have any photos they can share? I'd love to see some photos. Including photos of any mixed German/American birds . Thanks ahead of time.

Joe
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