Originally Posted by Blueface
Don't be confused, you has a breeder has to look at the big picture. It really depends on your goals and where you want to take the breed.
Its always easier to select when you know the history or the linage/matings for several generations. You can use your past knowledge to help you predict to some degree what your younger fowl will develop into.
One of the major problems I see is the lack of vision to produce buckeyes that have longevity. The ability to continue producing past one or two years old..."breeders" breed for the here and now with no real patience. As a result, the quality of the mature stock has declined. Fertility and life span of older specimens have declined. Many of the current "top" heavy show breeds like the Rocks and Wyandotte's have suffered mightily from this mentality. One of the best Wyandotte breeders I know told me that he is lucky to get his males to live past three years old....what does that say about that breed/strain of fowl? We don't want the Buckeye to share that fate.
Just because the bird looks great at 10 months old doesn't mean he is going to look great at 2-3 years old ago. This is a problem! As a breeder; YOU need decide what course you want to take. Proper selection doesn't always take place at 7-12 months of age. I cull from birth to death and take notes during the whole trip. Breeding and selection is an ongoing task. Some years like this year...I'll breed and raise 200+ and in a couple years like last year for example, I'll only breed and raise 24. I want to see how many young grow out and get a bead on how my breeding program is really doing.
I want to continue winning at shows so I have my focus on 3-5 years out. But I talk alot about showing...that is all well and good to help the breed amongst the show community but the Buckeyes real purpose was utility! It is of equal importance to ensure the hens are productive with GOOD quality eggs and the cockerels produce nice quality carcusses at a reasonable age. You have to breed for the big picture....utility, longevity, exhibition and to ensure the breed keeps the desired appearance after multiple years. There is not a single strain of buckeyes that has it all...yet
. But there are several that have problems with even one! Its not as daunting as it seems. They are just chickens and desirable fowl is a product of expanded/experimental matings....some matings work and some not so much. YOU have to be the architect and figure that out. As for strain/line specific traits like knowing fertility or fluffiness, that is up to you to figure out because I honestly don't know. Not all "Buckeyes" are created equal. I know my flock very well and I can speak for them but they do a better job speaking for themselves.
OK thanks Bluface that all makes very good sense. You've inspired me to be a bit more daring though, I've been a bit afraid to make beginner's mistakes- but now I think I'll take a few more risks and see what develops.
I'm also breeding for production, that's why I got Buckeyes in the first place- they seemed like the perfect all around breed and that's what I want from them.