Originally Posted by Fire Ant Farm
@DesertChic - You had Bielefelder - Naked Neck crosses, correct? Were you pleased with the results? (Or otherwise pleased with the Bielefelders?) I seem to recall you posting about them somewhere... Did you get them from Greenfire?
- Ant Farm
Actually, I haven't created this cross yet. My Biel girls haven't been laying and I kept my two Biel cockerels away from the NNs for the time being while I focused on maintaining a pure line of NN with primarily one cockerel's genetic material, the one I recently butchered.
The Biels themselves are a gorgeous and very lovable breed, with cockerels that are as friendly as pullets and tolerant of other cockerels....but they're not very heat tolerant. I actually installed portable A/C units in my chicken cabin primarily to keep the Biels from overheating this past summer, and I culled all of the cockerels that struggled the most with the heat. In fact, the only bird I lost to the summer heat was a large Biel cockerel.
The three pullets and two cockerels I still have are the most heat tolerant and have adapted sufficiently to be able to endure up to about 95 degrees as long as they have access to shade, cool water, and preferably a stream of water + mud to stand in. The lack of heat tolerance is actually one of the reasons I want to cross this breed with NNs. The other reason is for improved productivity. One of my Biel pullets began laying at 24 weeks, laid for several weeks, and has since stopped laying for nearly three weeks now. The other two girls haven't begun laying at all, and they're now 32 weeks old. They're a nice large breed, with my cockerels currently weighing 9 lbs and 8.4 lbs respectively at 32 weeks, and one of my cockerels is so sweet and friendly with me that he routinely jumps up onto my lap to nestle in for snuggles and to nap. Both of my boys are very "gentlemanly" with the girls and take very good care of them. They hearty eaters though. You have to be prepared for that.
I guess all of the Biels in this country essentially came via Greenfire Farms, but I purchased my hatching eggs from two separate breeders, one in Georgia and one from Phoenix. The Georgia eggs were great and I had an 85% hatch rate, comprising most of my flock. The breeder in Phoenix should NOT be in business though as the fertility/hatchability rate was less than 10% on eggs that I got from her in person, and one chick that hatched from an egg I purchased from her tested positive for Pullorum. Be very careful of where you get eggs/chicks from.
If you want any stats on the breed I'd be happy to share what I have. Like you I tend to chart, graph and photograph almost everything.