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Farming and Homesteading Heritage Poultry - Page 3

post #21 of 2142

I see where your coming from Bob.  A lack of quality birds would be caused by a lack of breeders producing quality birds.  Seeing the complaint over and over I get a little frustrated and impatient.  Everybody keeps hollaring we need to save these birds but when you don't have the volume to meet that demand it becomes a vicious cycle.

I guess thats how you find out who's in it for the long haul.  Those of us willing to track down something and work with it, or even take something thats a sub par if thats whats available and work our way up to presentable.

post #22 of 2142

A question, if I may.

How are yall housing or planning on housing these birds?


I have a common coop that is used for the main flock.  I have brooder boxes/pens for hatching, brooder coop/run for raising and breeding pens.  My birds free range unless preoccupied with brooding or breeding.

post #23 of 2142
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jared77 

Kathy Ive seen pictures of your birds and they are something to be VERY proud of.  They are very impressive.  I believe you can breed to the SOP bird and your culls are still good birds to feed the family with.  Your cull rocks I bet still have lots of size on their frame, and your at a point where you would be culling for things that we wouldn't even see on the carcass.  Pattern, comb points, leg color etc.  All good reasons to cull once you've got that frame and the muscle to fill it out.  The problem I see is too often the frame and body isn't there yet, but people are worried about the color, or other little details that shouldn't even be looked at because the structure isn't what it needs to be.  Im not even talking about wing carriage, I'm talking about the distance between the legs, proper length of the back, overall fleshed out.  Things that are much more important and should be pretty uniform even in your culls because thats been worked out first.

I lurk on few of the breed threads.  I try to picture what I see on the pictured birds as how they'd look on the table.  Why?  Because I'm still not 100% sure what breed I want to focus my efforts on.  Its been ongoing and I go bounce around between a handful of breeds as to what Id want to put my efforts into.  I know my needs but trying to find that 1 breed has been elusive so far.  A. Maybe I need to breed up something, or maybe my standards are unrealistic.  I don't know.  But the breed that I put my efforts into needs to give me what I want also.  Thats the whole reason I want chickens.  Its about being a little more self sustaining.  Eating healthier meat, and fresh eggs.  That's why I try to picture them on the table.  That's where my culls would end up and if I have to cook extra birds because the body isn't there to feed everybody then thats not very efficient.  Now I'm not talking feeding 20 people on a single roaster but it needs to be reasonable.

I'm so glad for this thread.  There doesn't seem to be that B. middle of the road, self sufficient kind of thread.  Lot of whats on here is pet chickens, or show chickens.  And thats great that your thing by all means go for it.  Its just nice to see a thread dedicated to more of the small time person who wants to keep a sustainable flock and go from there.

Now I've got one more thread to lurk on.  Between this one, a few threads in the meat forum, Bob's heritage thread, and a few breed threads I've got plenty to keep me busy.

Thank you for starting this, I think its going to be very useful.


A.  Thanks, Jared, for contributing.  I think that most people, who wish to undertake the journey of working with a specific breed, are going to find themselves in this situation.  For many breeds, the best available start may be procuring two or three hatchery strains and then settling in for the long haul.  One of our meat customers, who has been purchasing Dorkings from us for a while now,  mentioned last fall that he and his wife could really see the difference in the roaster they had purchased--"that selection thing" I had talked to them about one day wink  It has been several years now in the making.  Truth is we still have a long way to go, I think.
        I think the important thing to say is that we are indeed making progress, and secondly, we managed to make it through the first few years of not-so-pretty roasts in order to get to the place where roasters are starting to look nice.  The next time we roast up a Dorking, I'll try to post a picture of it, but I'm really bad at this sort of thing--posting pic's, that is.

B.  "Middle of the road"  that's what I'm hoping this to be, rather, a dialogue that includes all.  If you're starting with breeder birds, great; hatchery birds, great; a combo of the two, super.  But let's start and try to be as inclusive as possible.  The one thing I would say as a qualifier, is that I'm hoping this thread will be a place for those who are breeding their stock.  It seems to me that there are several threads available to those with hodge-podge flocks of cock-less layers, but for those who want to purchase seed stock in Columbian Wyandottes and then start really producing meat and eggs for the table, there isn't a lot. 

It will be interesting to see where you head as you consider your breed.  From someone who started with the dregs, fear not, it will get better wherever you head.

Heritage breeds poultry are a doorway to something more vast, something more beautiful.  When we choose to be dedicated to one or two breeds and breed them well, we save their utility for future generations.  Heritage fowl are a special resource.  To be safeguarded, they need breeders that are willing to breed them well, remembering always their heritage as useful farming fowl.  Pax et bonum.
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Heritage breeds poultry are a doorway to something more vast, something more beautiful.  When we choose to be dedicated to one or two breeds and breed them well, we save their utility for future generations.  Heritage fowl are a special resource.  To be safeguarded, they need breeders that are willing to breed them well, remembering always their heritage as useful farming fowl.  Pax et bonum.
Reply
post #24 of 2142

What a thought-provoking thread this is.

I am one of those people with a "hodge-podge" of cock-less hens (not including the "quietish" bantam Wyandotte roo). I have had chickens for 2 years now, and I have learned so much in these 2 years. Now I am selling eggs to people, which helps pay the feed. I have a lot of people that are very satisfied with the eggs I sell.

I just ordered my Cornish Rocks - I know, I know... BUT, I am noticing in myself the interest to moving towards a self-sustaining flock. I have never slaughtered my own meat before, so this is a huge jump for me. Yesterday I was lurking on BYC and read that somebody raised Naked Necks for slaughter. I am passionate about my Naked Necks, so why not take it to the next step? I do believe there are people on BYC that are working on returning these birds to their original stature.

The question now is - why can't I do that?

Thanks for posing these questions... I will be watching this thread.

ChickyLaura

I have various chickens - including "RIRs", Turkens, Silkies, and EEs, Anconas, Cornish, Brown Leghorns, etc. I always have some sort of project going on - right now we're raising a batch of meaties. 4 rescued dogs. 4 rabbits, including 2 English Angoras! We also are branching out to Turkeys - right now 4 BBB, but 4 Midget White Turkeys are on the way!
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ChickyLaura

I have various chickens - including "RIRs", Turkens, Silkies, and EEs, Anconas, Cornish, Brown Leghorns, etc. I always have some sort of project going on - right now we're raising a batch of meaties. 4 rescued dogs. 4 rabbits, including 2 English Angoras! We also are branching out to Turkeys - right now 4 BBB, but 4 Midget White Turkeys are on the way!
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post #25 of 2142
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Levi 

Hi all

1. My two breeds are Wyandottes, the Partridge and RC RIRs, with the Wyandottes the higher numbers, next year I hope to have a couple dozen of each. Maybe add the GL Wyamdottes.


2. Rebecca its good to see you here from the rabbit lists, glad you have chickens too up there. 

.


Hi Jake, nice to read your thoughts!  Those are two fun selections--the Partridge Wyandottes and the RC RIR.  I raised the latter for a few seasons and have thought about the former.  With the utmost in rrespect, I can say, though, if I were you I wouldn't branch out into the GL Wyandottes.  There is a nice old text I was reading a few weeks back, the title of which escapes me at the moment, but it was by a poultrywoman writing of her experiences in farming poultry.  Of course, the date of the text means by default that she was raising heritage fowl.  More bluntly than any other writer she stated that any given farm need only one breed of fowl and those with more are flirting with disaster.  Now, I'm not so sure I'd go so far, and I can only look at our experience, but I have found--for us if for no one else--that the more breeds we had, the more superficial the work.  We found that each breed means more building and more expense.  For every breed one has, record keeping is duplicated.  Each breed has a different standard to be mastered.  Each breed one has, is by definition another strain, which entails another set of breeding tendencies with which one must acquaint one's self if one is to make progress.  Moreover, the bigger we got, the more we found that we had to reduce numbers of varieties.  It just became too much.  We, too, have two breeds, as I mentioned before, White Dorkings and RC Anconas,  the former is our principal, the latter a side project. 
        Don Schrider, who's really quite something as a poultryman, loves to remind us of the rule of "one in ten", meaning that one out of every ten chicks hatched is worthy of being a breeder.  However, i would state that (and I'm sure Don would agree) that this a generalization.  The rarer the breed, the more complicated the selection requirements, the fewer hatchlings will honestly be worthy of retention.  The first lmatter of concern win the breeding a good Wyandotte (in my opinion, of course) is working on those general purpose qualities that made it all the rage.  A well fleshed Wyandotte breast may actually have the best over-all intended shape for breast meat production among all of the American breeds, in competition, perhaps, with the Dominique. 
        One is going to have to hatch a lot of birds to get that ideal, then of course, you want to be able to retain a goodly number of hens, who possess a Wyandotte breat.  It may be safe to say twice as many as you want to retain for breeding so that you can then be able to cull yet again for egg production.  The end result is that you have females going into your breeding pens that are both meaty and respectable layers.  This alone is an outstanding achievement. 
       Now, trying to then add the added genetic selection for acceptable (I'm not even saying "perfect") penciling or lacing, and WOW!  Your hands are full.  I think that, for us at least, were we to try to do both Partirdge and GL Wyandottes justice as both worthy farm fowl and birds that meet the Standard in all other respects, I think that we would fail. 

       This leads into the other awesome comment, meaning the recognition of rabbits.  We have a nice small herd (one dozen breeders) of Creme d'Argent rabbit.  Rabbit is among our very favorite meats.  Of course we have muscovy ducks, and geese (after a season off to give our young fruit trees a chance) are moving back.  Did I mention Saxony ducks?  Oiweh!  Almost all of our meat comes from our farm, which is the tradiitonal goal of a New England homestead/farm.  By the time you have one breed of rabbit, one breed of goose, one breed of duck, one breeed of chicken, some muscovies, all with a standard of their own and ou la la!  Insanity sets in, and nothing is being done well.

Heritage breeds poultry are a doorway to something more vast, something more beautiful.  When we choose to be dedicated to one or two breeds and breed them well, we save their utility for future generations.  Heritage fowl are a special resource.  To be safeguarded, they need breeders that are willing to breed them well, remembering always their heritage as useful farming fowl.  Pax et bonum.
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Heritage breeds poultry are a doorway to something more vast, something more beautiful.  When we choose to be dedicated to one or two breeds and breed them well, we save their utility for future generations.  Heritage fowl are a special resource.  To be safeguarded, they need breeders that are willing to breed them well, remembering always their heritage as useful farming fowl.  Pax et bonum.
Reply
post #26 of 2142
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spartacus_63 

A question, if I may.

How are yall housing or planning on housing these birds?


I have a common coop that is used for the main flock.  I have brooder boxes/pens for hatching, brooder coop/run for raising and breeding pens.  My birds free range unless preoccupied with brooding or breeding.


Hi Spartacus!

What are the dimensions of your primary coop?  You may find that dividing it into several breeding pens is the best use of the space, which can be done very inexpensively.  If all of your birds are housed together in one flock, you will find that you can control mating or make meaningful selections.  This sort of environment can be a fast track for genetic exhaustion.

Heritage breeds poultry are a doorway to something more vast, something more beautiful.  When we choose to be dedicated to one or two breeds and breed them well, we save their utility for future generations.  Heritage fowl are a special resource.  To be safeguarded, they need breeders that are willing to breed them well, remembering always their heritage as useful farming fowl.  Pax et bonum.
Reply
Heritage breeds poultry are a doorway to something more vast, something more beautiful.  When we choose to be dedicated to one or two breeds and breed them well, we save their utility for future generations.  Heritage fowl are a special resource.  To be safeguarded, they need breeders that are willing to breed them well, remembering always their heritage as useful farming fowl.  Pax et bonum.
Reply
post #27 of 2142
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickyLaura 

What a thought-provoking thread this is.

I am one of those people with a "hodge-podge" of cock-less hens (not including the "quietish" bantam Wyandotte roo). I have had chickens for 2 years now, and I have learned so much in these 2 years. Now I am selling eggs to people, which helps pay the feed. I have a lot of people that are very satisfied with the eggs I sell.

I just ordered my Cornish Rocks - I know, I know... BUT, I am noticing in myself the interest to moving towards a self-sustaining flock. I have never slaughtered my own meat before, so this is a huge jump for me. Yesterday I was lurking on BYC and read that somebody raised Naked Necks for slaughter. I am passionate about my Naked Necks, so why not take it to the next step? I do believe there are people on BYC that are working on returning these birds to their original stature.

The question now is - why can't I do that?

Thanks for posing these questions... I will be watching this thread.


Yeah!  You most certainly can work with those Naked Necks!  And it sounds like your prgression into poultry is right on target/schedule!

Who needs those icky and pathetic Cornish cross when you have an affinity for Naked Necks!!!!! celebrate

Heritage breeds poultry are a doorway to something more vast, something more beautiful.  When we choose to be dedicated to one or two breeds and breed them well, we save their utility for future generations.  Heritage fowl are a special resource.  To be safeguarded, they need breeders that are willing to breed them well, remembering always their heritage as useful farming fowl.  Pax et bonum.
Reply
Heritage breeds poultry are a doorway to something more vast, something more beautiful.  When we choose to be dedicated to one or two breeds and breed them well, we save their utility for future generations.  Heritage fowl are a special resource.  To be safeguarded, they need breeders that are willing to breed them well, remembering always their heritage as useful farming fowl.  Pax et bonum.
Reply
post #28 of 2142
Thread Starter 

Bob quotes his mentor, who, thanks to Bob, becomes our mentor:

"Go Small. Go Slow. And go down the middle of the road."

Oi, I cannot agree more.  And please, it is from screwing everything up that I submit to this!  I sure wish I had had a mentor to hit me over the head early on!!!!  th



As for the lack of retention of strains, I think that this has been universal, especially since the 80's onward.  Over indulgence in a consummerism of immediate gratification has wounded so much over the last 3 decades.  So much has been lost.   Perhaps, we are reawakening.  Perhaps, it is just in time fl


Edited by Yellow House Farm - 2/6/11 at 8:38am
Heritage breeds poultry are a doorway to something more vast, something more beautiful.  When we choose to be dedicated to one or two breeds and breed them well, we save their utility for future generations.  Heritage fowl are a special resource.  To be safeguarded, they need breeders that are willing to breed them well, remembering always their heritage as useful farming fowl.  Pax et bonum.
Reply
Heritage breeds poultry are a doorway to something more vast, something more beautiful.  When we choose to be dedicated to one or two breeds and breed them well, we save their utility for future generations.  Heritage fowl are a special resource.  To be safeguarded, they need breeders that are willing to breed them well, remembering always their heritage as useful farming fowl.  Pax et bonum.
Reply
post #29 of 2142

I started with some hatchery stock....hatched out better stock so now I'm getting rid of the hatchery stock and going with Delawares. I was lucky found a breeder who shared some nice stock they lay well grow out very well taste good too. To improve my stock I have some New Hampshires still working on getting better stock. I have a few Silver Penciled Rocks for eye candy and Marans for those dark eggs and those birds dress out very well. Too many predators to have free ranging and we only have green grass for a few months where I live. My original goal was to have a flock that I could raise up replacements and not have to keep buying birds.....I'm hatching out my chicks now my test babies from this fall are ready to butcher I'm enjoying the progression. I use my scales all the time working on getting my stock to the standard weights and working on type someday soon I hope to be far enough along to cull for color but first I need type.....

It costs less to have the very best. Trying to raise Delawares and Marans I also have Silver Penciled Rocks New Hampshires Midget Whites Bourbons and Royal Palms......home of many APHA horses. Breeder of World Champions and Honor Roll Champions and High Point winners. I love to trail ride and camp with my friends.
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It costs less to have the very best. Trying to raise Delawares and Marans I also have Silver Penciled Rocks New Hampshires Midget Whites Bourbons and Royal Palms......home of many APHA horses. Breeder of World Champions and Honor Roll Champions and High Point winners. I love to trail ride and camp with my friends.
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post #30 of 2142

YellowHouse Farm Yes, Partridge Rocks are my choice of breed.  I have a long history of breeding but in other specis like cats, dogs and fish.  I do have some in chickens but not to the goal I am doing now.  One thing that I belive if you plan to breed  up and work on a goal it should be with one breed.  Alot easier to get there faster since you will have, one the space and two more knowledge.  Having more than one breed takes alot more space and time and money.  As a result you will cut corners.  Taking care of one breed of 50 is better than three breeds of 50.

My selection of this breed was hard chosen and took over a year to make.  Our property is special in a few ways, one we built from scratch on virgin land.  Two predators are real low here and three neibors do not too close.  We are also a ways off the road where our house is located 800 foot driveway.  We have our own valley which back half is all woods.  Front is house and fence lined with cedars.

This property lets me do things most only dream about when it comes to raising chickens.  I free range no pen, all they have is a coop to sleep in that I locked up.  Property is loaded with alot of medicinal herbs and tons of bugs.  Chickens have helped alot with bugs this past year.  We use no chemicals on our place for that was how my father taught gardening to me in the city.  Hubby grew up on a 300 acre farm in PA with pigs and milk cows and some chickens.  So knows how to butcher and loves it. 

My main goal here was to have a free range flock because of what a friend and I did up in PA when I lived there.  Eggs tasted so much better I could not belive it.  I grew up on a island in South FL livestock not allowed.  My few years in PA I learned about chickens and goats.  Hubbies farm by the time I met him was long gone.  Grandparents kids sold it. So hubby wanted land to grow his own again and so did I, so here we are in our perfect little valley.

When I was choosing my chicken breed hubby requested I pick a breed that would brood their own.  Knowing I was going to free range they had to be large breed and patterned for camafloge.  After that I wanted American so choice came down to 2 choices and I settled on the rocks.  So glad I did they are some great chickens friendly and productive.  The Partridge rocks are very broody too almost as bad as silkies. big_smile  They love to range too. 

I was lucky with my research to find a hatchery that was breeding good stock and a local feed store was ordering from for 20 years.  After reading here on BYC about the various hatcheries and what people breeding were going threw with some I knew not to buy from the big two Ideal and MM.  Since I planned on breeding up anyways buying from a hatchery did not bother me.  If I did not I would not have my starter flock now since there is only a handfull of breeders in PRs.

Father taught me to make my own animal food for cats which I do for our dog.  I learned to cook from scratch not using alot of prepackage products.  With PR you must wait a year for full grow out due to color patterns.  Reading how everyone was so eagar to have a fast growing chicken that matched store bought never was my goal.  I knew there was a way to cook older chickens for in the old days people has too.  That was when I found some of the old french recipes.  Hubby is not so much into chicken due to bad experiance with a Aunts cooking growing up.  So for us not to have a freezer full of young chicken works for us.  I can wait for grow out and then butcher and cook them.  Too many people do not have patience anymore sometimes waiting is truly worth the effort.

Tamara   breeding Partridge Plymouth Rocks
owned by 2 English Shepherd farm dogs 2 cats and 1 loving husband

Chickens Blog http://bmvchickens.wordpress.com/

http://www.bluemoonvalley.com/  Our farm website

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Tamara   breeding Partridge Plymouth Rocks
owned by 2 English Shepherd farm dogs 2 cats and 1 loving husband

Chickens Blog http://bmvchickens.wordpress.com/

http://www.bluemoonvalley.com/  Our farm website

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