Proposal for a breeding Project
I thought about how to get a little more progress into the Bielefelder breeding thing. I know that breeding is time consuming and it is hard with a popular breed and with a rare breed it is even harder to find a starting point. So maybe this helps. It is a modified version of a breeding circle for ... I think Vorwerk or German Langshan.
1. 1. Define breeding goals everyone in the group wants to breed for and prioritize the goals.
2. 2. Put someone in charge of the breed registration. Every breeding bird will get a register number that does not change as long as the bird lives/breeds. The register will note the hatching date, the breeder, pros and cons of the bird, the breeding partners and offspring that was selected for breeding.
3. .3. Mark the addresses of all breeders on a map. Figure out a way to exchange the birds with your nearest breeders on the map. If there is no way to exchange living birds, exchange hatching eggs and select a rooster for breeding.
4. 4. Every Breeder selects an A-Team of best birds – one rooster and four hens
5. 5. Form a Breeding Council. Find people with experience in breeding. They will help judge the birds as long as they are not recognized by the National Breeders Club.
I know that noone will travel all of the US to look at your bird, so try to make a picture of them that show the bird best. Take photos of the birds in an definde angle and difinde distance from the camara. There is a possibility to use a standard grey backround card. It helps to correct the color of digital photos. So you can get as near to the real color as possible. Create a little "yearbook" for your breeding birds.
Data that is worth noting:
Egg weight, number the eggs so you can find out the relation between egg and chick weight and evtl. quitters
Weight after 4/8/10.. weeks
Weight when reaching sexual maturity
POL Date for hens, egg weight
Birds lost to infections or other reasons
Allover weight and number of eggs laid by the A-Team
Total weight of your A-Team
Take notes of the daily feed ration, how they feather out, first try to crow, first nest building trails.
Put the birds on scales every time you change feed, housing, pasture. This way you will find out the best time for breeding and hatching. What to feed, when to change the feed, when to put out the birds into coop and pasture.
Try to swap the roosters every two/three month, so you have enough time to make sure that the rooster is really the dad of the chicks and you have enough time to collect a good number of hatching eggs.
Use the internet and electronic stuff to connect with other breeders. Share your data and discuse it with other breeders. If you have a organizer programm(like OneNote) on your mobile or pc you can take quick notes and organize and share the stuff later.
B/c of all the data you can make sound decisions when you select for your next A-Teams. And o/c you can create B(ack-up)-Teams and collect all the same data from the B-Teams. Often you learn more form the B-Teams b/c you may see how undesired qualities accumulate or vanish through breeding with the right/wrong partner.
I think that could work even if only two or three people join the breeding project it would help to improve and promote the birds in the US.
So what do you think?