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Bowery Breed

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

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
post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 

 

A decent incubator run out of my little giant.

 

I'm not selecting on visual phenotype so that will vary except to the extent that pleiotropy with harvest leavings gleaning is at work. Also, I haven't yet inbred to expose the deleterious recessives to selective pressures, so once they breed true, there may be more visual uniformity. At present there does seem to be a trend toward the stripe down the middle of the back as a hatchling. I haven't bothered to track that to adult appearance.

 

This brood doubles our harvest leavings gleaners -- assuming 100% survival rate which is unlikely. It was a lot better incubator run than I expected since I thought the eggs had been exposed to some very cold nights 3 weeks ago when I gathered them. There are about that number of chicks that may hatch from the remaining eggs -- which were gathered later under better conditions. So with a 50% survival rate each we have still doubled our population. I expect this incubator run to end about a week from now. I'd really like to start more eggs ASAP but turning them is crucial during the first 2 weeks and the other eggs being on lockdown conflicts. I need to get another incubator.

 

I broke the incubator lockdown so I could remove a chick from this brood. I found a broody hen in the chicken house and decided to try introducing a hatchling to her to see if they bond. So far it doesn't look good but I'm keeping an eye on them. You're supposed to wait until dark so the hen is "asleep" (as much as chickens sleep) and then replace her eggs with the incubator hatchlings. But even then its an iffy proposition and I don't want to take chances with this brood -- they're too valuable as they represent the surviving germ line that took care of getting all its own food, water and warmth during a long dry winter. Those are good selection criteria and it winnowed the population down to only about 1 in 3 survival.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

My second incubator run is on day 7 and it looks like they're developing despite a first-day over-temperature condition, however I do need a better candling system as these egg shells are thick and dark, making it hard to see.

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by jabowery View Post
 

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.


Where are you located? We are in southwest Missouri. I don't know of any abandoned farms. Are they cheap? To buy? Sylvia
 

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylviaanne View Post
 


Where are you located? We are in southwest Missouri. I don't know of any abandoned farms. Are they cheap? To buy? Sylvia
 

First, I'm not talking about farms.  I'm talking about farm houses.  The average family farm nowadays has about 10 times the land they did in America's heyday.  The abandoned farmhouses from that era usually aren't listed because they aren't up to county code.

 

Secondly, the abandoned farm houses are not cheap to fix up in terms of skills and labor but if you can acquire the skills, stop watching TV so you have time, get construction seconds/suplus and borrow the tools you can probably find abandoned farm houses that can be brought up to county code on the resources of young couples.


Edited by jabowery - 6/13/14 at 1:57pm
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

We have improved the Bowery breed to be less reliant on guard dogs.  I've witnessed a coyote coming to chase down our chickens and all he could do is watch helplessly as they took flight to the apple tree.  He stopped coming after 3 days.  The birds of prey don't bother the adult birds.  I can only assume that's because they're semi-feral and we keep a natural ratio of roosters to hens with some pretty mean roosters (not mean to people, though).

 

The apple tree, where they live throughout the year, is doing much better with them in the tree, both in terms of the number and quality of apples produced.  The apples have much less problem with insect infestation, presumably due to the birds eating the insects in the tree.

 

Our apples have become famous in this area with a local church coming out to pick them and have an apple pie party.

 

PS:  As usual, we didn't need to feed, water or house them over the winter.


Edited by jabowery - 4/15/15 at 6:32pm
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

I need a new home for this breed as the only neighbors out here at the end of a gravel road have asked me to coop them up.

 

They made it through another Iowa winter without food, water or shelter and only a Blue Lacy for protection.  This year, much of the breed was brooded by their hens, so their dependence even on incubation, hatching and feeding until grown out to pullet/cockerel is now reduced!

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