Originally Posted by Fire Ant Farm
For those of you on the Naked Neck thread, pardon the cross-post.
Everyone's 13 weeks old - weighing day. Let me post this real quick.
Interestingly, several have fallen off this week (I wonder if the stress of the hawk pressure this week would have an effect? Or perhaps that is just what happens at this age). Note Tank - he has really fallen off a lot. He also seems to be delayed in maturity compared to the others, at least to my eye. Comb seems smallish, and oddly, he has very little tail development relative to the other boys. Looks "like a girl" a little bit, to my eye. (I'll try to get an updated photo later. ) In the pecking order he's quite low. Is this just late maturity?
As they get bigger, weighing in gets harder to do, and I always wonder at my accuracy (though usually it can be verified because a given trend continues the following week). To that end, I don't know what's up with Puppy - she actually lost weight per this data point, makes me wonder if that was accurate - it's always a little nuts on weighing day and they often don't sit still. She seems fine (though they can fake that, I know) - I need to check her over more carefully later today, and maybe reweigh. Soon the girls will be able to move into their coop and get some relief from the boys (starting on hardware cloth today), and perhaps their growth will improve then.
Anybody got ideas about why Tank's weights/growth is doing this? Does it change our minds about his merits as a breeder?
- Ant Farm
No. Not on that point alone, but a collection of evidence is revealing. We cannot evaluate a bird based on a snap shot in time.
Kind of like the egg discussion. By a certain point in time, we know who to exclude. The bottom remains clear early and along the way. Then there is the middle. They take a little longer to identify. Now the top is in a category of their own. You have to take them all of the way to discern who is really who.
That is the way it is with all selection points. The bottom % is obvious. You kill those along the way. The middle takes a little more time to sort out, but as you are killing them, a new bottom becomes apparent. The process is on going, but there is the best birds that take some time to sort through.
There is always a bottom %, a middle group, and the "few elite". Variability works that way. A few at either extreme, and the majority in the middle.
You have enough information to cull the bottom half now. If you want to see how the curve looks for them, leave them. But they are at eating age, or close.
Something else to consider here. Are they molting into their new feathers? Do you see a lot of feathers laying around? If not, you will very soon. It seams that with these, you should be at that point. Once they begin this molt, the rate of growth will drop. For these, I would guess that they would be at or around 75% of their adult weight. The big cull and processing should be around this molt.
Now is time to really be eyeing your top 4 birds. That top third has your best birds. Rate of growth and weight is not the only selection point. You need to know the type, and start eyeing type. Start handling them. Feel the thighs etc. etc. Who would have the best carcass? Who has the most capacity? Think of what they might contribute to the Hen. Here is a lot to consider. Your top 4 contains the best bird, but which is it? Who is the most vigorous?
Of 12 birds, only keep a couple for breeding.