I have 15 birds that survived this harsh Iowa winter gleaning harvest leavings of soybean and corn in the surrounding fields, consuming primarily snow for water. My only input was to provide incubation and well-trained cattle dogs at night to keep ground-based predators away. The roosters kept birds of prey away (hawks and eagles by day and owls by night -- they weren't cooped at all).
The founding breeds were several heritage lines from Sandhill Preservation Farms, purchased over 4 years ago. I've been placing ever greater selective pressure on them each year until this year's ultimate test.
At this point, I need advice on how best to proceed with the gene pool. My understanding of how one establishes a new breed is to, first, hybridize the breeds with desirable characteristics (in this case relatively self-sufficient heritage breeds), subject them to selective pressure for the characteristics you want and then, once you have a selected population, intensively inbreed to get rid of the deleterious recessives while keeping up the selective pressure so you can get one or more lines that breed true to the desired traits. If this is correct, I'm at the intensive inbreedng stage. Is this correct?
I'm calling the breed "Bowery" not only because its my last name but also because my last name is the anglicized form of Dutch for "homestead": bouwerij. If you want a chicken-based homestead nowadays, there are a _lot_ of abandoned farm houses in the midwest surrounded by fields filled with harvest leavings.
Edited by jabowery - 3/25/14 at 11:44am