Originally Posted by Beer can
gjensen Sandhill has catalanas, just checking to see if you knew. Don't know how their stock of catalanas are but I'm very happy with the white giants I got from them. Have a few not breedable, but overall I have some very good ones. Same with the red sussex, had some definite culls. I don't plan on beauty pageant birds either, but I expect them to be as close as possible as far as leg color and how they actually look.
I know. I purchased a few. They are not Catalanas. They are commercial Minorca crosses. They should not be called what they are. I do appreciate that still.
Sandhills has some good and bad, depending on the breed. They are usually far and away better than the other hatcheries concerning the quality of birds. There are exceptions, I am sure.
Let me clarify my beauty pageant remarks. That would not be my purpose, no. Like yourself, I do want them right though.
We all can purchase misc. sex links, meat strains, commercial leghorns etc. They are a dime a dozen, and they cannot be beat concerning what they will provide. If I am solely concerned about flesh and eggs, that is where I am staying. I am going no where else. Why should I? I could not do any better. If I was going to experiment, I would work almost exclusively within this class of birds.
Instead there is the potential of breeding productive birds of a breed and history. Preserving all that comes with that, and continuing in the work of those that came before you. A long line of Master Breeders left us with what we are losing today. When we commit to a particular breed, we do have access to the literature and history of that breed. Then there is a point of reference. We have the opportunity to learn from those master breeders in the form of articles, ads, and books. Or better yet, that mature gentleman at the show. Yes, gasp, at the show.
Many of those old timers would silence us concerning utility etc. We forget that many of these lived the "Golden Years". We are losing this generation fast though.
We often do not realize how much there is to learn from these. I could not begin to say how much there is to learn from history's Leghorn breeders alone. Yes, the breed came from Italy originally, but it was perfected here. The breed here is an extraordinary success. Bred to the highest standards, both in egg laying facilities and in the showroom. American breeders did remarkably well with this breed.
Many breeds are like this. Red breeders, Rock breeders, etc. How many articles are there out there to learn from breeders concerning Rocks and Reds? Even Giants. They had there day. Many articles on breeding Giants. Orpingtons, Australorps etc. In England Sussex, and Dorkings etc.
When these birds are productive, and they represent the breed well . . . . they are worth something. They are recognized and established. There is a defined method of evaluating and confirming the quality of that breeding. These birds do have actual value. You will not get them at a hatchery for $2.00 per chick etc. Not unless the hatchery recently purchased them themselves from a breeder, and in that case, get them early. Hatch a lot and you will dig out some decent birds.
The problem comes in when we go to extremes. One extreme is often a reaction to another extreme. We see this in politics, religion, dogs, and birds. One side becomes disenfranchised with another. Instead of truly recognizing the error of that extreme, the knee jerk reaction to that extreme is to go to the other extreme. It becomes a polarizing contest of ideologies, and does not make any real good sense.
So my disenchantment with the obsession with feather is not to disregard feather all together. Feathers are part of the bird, and I am breeding an entire bird. I do not intend to neglect any part. I only shift my emphasis accordingly. I want my birds to look good, and perform well. I want them right. The details matter. Type matters. Form matters. Function matters.
I want to learn to breed the entire bird. Not part of one.
And none of this is to disregard any other interests. Only to try to validate another. As someone said, to each their own.