Originally Posted by OnceInaBlueMoon
Hi everyone! I am new to cemani's. I have purchased birds from four reputable breeders to get me started on the breed. I hope you guys don't mind if I ask a few questions every now and then while I'm getting started.
I plan to work with this breed for years to come. I love the way cemani's look and I am up for the challenge. Are there any faults that you guys automatically cull for in chicks? I know there are probably different opinions out there, I am just wondering if there are certain things in particular that I should watch for and automatically cull for regarding chicks, or if I should always raise chicks to adult age before culling. Also, could you identify flaws that you consider less severe, that can hopefully be fixed down the line? I know everyone loves the idea of a solid black chicken from head to toe, but I understand that the breed is a work in progress, and I want to be sure I have appropriate expectations when examining them. Hope everyone has a good week!
I recommend for the first year you grow them all out. Then you'll know what YOUR birds produce. You'll have first hand experience instead of just reiterating what others have said. Take notes, take pictures, spreadsheets, diagrams, whatever works for you. You'll learn how much white on the toes is ok and will blacken in, and how much white is too much. You learn how mouth color can change with age, some getting lighter, some getting darker. You'll learn when feather leakage starts to show. You'll learn your overall percentage of flaws in your chicks and grow outs.
After having grown so very many out, here's what I now cull for immediately after hatch:
* Any chick that isn't all black down. Grayish down is permissible if not extensive. White down patches or white wing tips are no longer grown out here.
* Any chick that has pink skin or pink comb. I've never seen pink turn black.
* Any chick that has more than just the tip of the toe that is white. The white toes do turn black, but often if they start with more than just the tip, I end up with mature birds with small white spots on their feet, usually the end of the toe or the pad.