Originally Posted by rooboo
....I'm not real familiar with what the auto sexing chicks should look like, but I am getting so many different down colors and markings that I just don't know what I should be looking for. I understand about the spot on the head and the chipmunk stripes, and the eye liner,but it seems like I have everything but consistency. So if someone could possibly point me in the right direction on what I should keep from this hatch and what should not be used for breeding. I have 2 Rees roosters and 1 earlier greenfire rooster over 18 mostly Rees hens, and this is 9 of the about 25 chicks that hatched today. Some of the others are fairly wet yet, so this is the best picture I can get until tomorrow.
Welcome to Cream Legbars...Yes, the first thing I noticed with them was the wide range of down color and markings.
The creator of the breed noticed the same thing and published and article in the Journal of Genetics that included his findings on the two main down colors (Light & Dark).
One of the most important measures of quality in a flock in uniformity. As uniformity increases quality increased. A breeding line that has been started by a single hen and a single cock and breed with out bringing in new blood for 30 years will have a high degree of uniformity. That is NOT what we currently have in the Cream Legbar. Everyone (even Jill Rees) is mixing birds from one line with birds from another with hopes that something good will pop out. These mixed lines take work to refine and make uniform.
The early days of the Autosexing Poultry Club of Great Britian breeders would toe pump the chicks that had the best marking as a chick to help them in selecting breeders and standardizing on a single down color in their flocks. I would NOT recommend culling by down color though. My Marans Mentor told me to never cull by down color and I use that same rule with Cream Legbars. It is a lot easier to clean up down color than it is to improve size, type, vigor, etc.
As far as what to look for the head spot, the eye liner, the dorsal stripes, and the color. The larger and more consentrated the head spot on the male the better. Lighter to no head spot is better on the female. The wider and clearer the eye liner on the female the better. The more blurred or broken on the male the better. The wider and clearer the dorsal strip on the hen the better, the more blurred and broken the better on the male, the lighter the ground color on the male the better. The catch 22 is that as you improve one gender the other gender backslides because what what makes clear stripes on a pullet make more clear stripes on a cockerel too. So...choose what markings you want to work with and focus on them. Once you are down to you set of colors rather than 7-8 sorting becomes easier.