So I just collected data on my chicks for the first time. These were the first 5 Silver Gray Dorkings from P. Allen Smith's line to reach 1 month. It was really interesting that when I actually recorded data on each numbered chick (thanks to Lpatelski's chicken jewelry) I was able to see differences I'd never have noticed just looking at them in the pen. There was a clear leader at 12 oz. and a clear loser at 9 oz. The largest chick scored consistently high on every marker from head width to body depth and looks like it might be a cockerel. Another chick weighed in at 12 oz. as well but the markers were less consistent. It had a little less length of back but a little more heart girth and might be a pullet. Another interesting point is that the genders are not clearly apparent yet at one month while my Marans were pretty clear at 2 weeks.
Amazing isn't it? It can be a bit of a pain to gather the data if you have your hands full - I have some chicks right now that I SHOULD have been weighing since week 1, but have decided to wait and weigh at week 5. But you learn so much more!!!
But one thing I learned in this recent group - beware of blindly following the data and looking at size as king of all, if you intend to also keep breeders and want flock leaders. Tiny cockerels should be culled, yes, but among big birds, a very small advantage in weight is useless if a cockerel ends up being an aggressive $^^#$^& that you can't use and don't want sons from. A large, quickly growing, but very slightly less heavy bird in adulthood may be worth his weight in gold. Case in point: Tank, AKA Mr. Family Man. BEST. ROOSTER. EVER. Adore this boy. I was on my knees 2.5 feet from him when I took this photo, messing with the bedding in his coop/territory - no problemo. His girls (five Speckled Sussex) ADORE him, and he adores them as well. And he apparently listened to my Womens Studies 101 for Cockerels lecture - he dances skillfully, but accepts "no" from the girls if they're not in the mood (though they are pretty small compared to him). They are not remotely overbred. This is such a successful family group that it delights me to just sit and watch them be together... (My Cream Legbar rooster Dumbledore is also fantastic, in a trio, so good to the girls. Snape the giant Naked Neck, the other hand, is not downright abusive, but IS a bit of a caveman...)
- Ant Farm
Edited by Fire Ant Farm - 4/25/16 at 8:38pm