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Breeding Delawares to the Standard of Perfection - Page 59

post #581 of 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by caychris View Post
 

I will agree that Kathys birds really look like Dels to me when compared to hatchery. I would think that since Hatcheries are interested in selling chicks they would need great layers so they would only use birds that are sure to lay well. Which in perpetuating their lines would be increased over time. Since that would be the most important trait others would fall by the way side.

 

 

  We should get beyond the idea that hatcheries are selecting for the best layers intelligently. That is simply not the case. They simply breed replacements from pullets. All in and all out. It is not as if they are trap nesting their birds or something. They do produce the truly commercial lines. They simply purchase the eggs from the actual breeders of the truly commercial production birds. That does not include our Standard breeds. All that is a required by them is a general color pattern and eggs.

post #582 of 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by gjensen View Post
 


It is no different in any other breed. People get caught up in an image, or an idea, and it often does not line up with reality. If there is an active group, the reputation of "strains" speak for themselves. And that is what you want. Let the owners call it what they want, and the buyer to decide that they agree or not. A simple disclaimer that your group doe not endorse any one of them. It is a buyer beware world.

 

 Providing meat growth data, and egg numbers is a good idea. I could support that. A problem that I have had discussing these things is that no one knows how. They do not get the many variables, and end up providing numbers that is not especially helpful. We live in a my birds "lay so many a week" kind of world. What is needed before anything else is a core group of people interested in that type of selection, and actually making real progress. They are who will know their birds, and their potential. That is an entirely different line of thought. This is not creating or developing exhibition strains, and selecting accordingly. This is a different creature altogether. This is where the numbers rule, and the methods need to be scientific, and absolutely consistent. Otherwise it means absolutely nothing.

 

  I have not seen any interest in this sort of selection. It would be nice to see in a variety of breeds.

 

  ETA: And if this sounds like Debby Downer, I am sorry. But you asked. I shared my thoughts.

 

  I have seen a lot of people interested in the idea of breeding productive birds. This breed is a good candidate for that. I have just not seen the interest in rolling up our sleeves and actually doing it intelligently over a period of time. If you or others could foster a sincere interest in actually breeding production birds, you have your start and your numbers.

  A teenager can buy hatchery birds and track weights and eggs. It seams like a lot, but it is really very elementary. I know. I was the teenager that did it.

 

  It would be fascinating to watch an intelligent effort to breed a productive dual purpose strain with reasonable color, and good type.

 

 

I think it's funny, the two perspectives. The "Make every individual invent their own wheel" hazing perspective vs. the "Having this information available is the only reason anyone would be interested in your club" published research perspective. 

I think helping set standards & procedures for measuring and reporting flock productivity is something that Dr. Brigid McCrea could really help with, if she is inclined to help. She says she recommends Delawares, specifically, for people looking to do pastured poultry (people who have to pencil this stuff out), though I'm thinking that's more based on the breed's reputation than on the current state of the breed. Knowing BEFORE your first year of production about where you should set your prices ... which -- and this bit seems super important to me -- would likely vary a lot depending on the source of the birds ... would help people stay in business more than one season. 

There are organizations promoting sustainable/pastured poultry farming ... I've been digging around looking for guidance on measuring poultry production, and so far haven't found anything exactly that, though I have found articles and such where people could find pieces to puzzle together themselves. It seems like a simple enough place to start. Or, maybe it's out there already and I just can't find it and Dr. McCrea will give me a link. 

 

I think we'd also have to ask about variables ... like feed choices, housing choices, maybe local climate, dates, flock sizes. These things will likely make the more "scientific study" acclimated people itchy, but people should be free to make their own management choices. 

Likewise, I think there could be a system for measuring and reporting how well a flock represents the Standard for a breed. Trickier, more nuanced, not nearly as precise, and there would for sure be a learning curve for each participant, but possible-ish. That's part of what the APA is offering with the Flock Certification program, a program which will likely applied to Delaware flocks. Having the "Interpreting the Standard: Delaware" guide would be a big help, I'd think.
 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gjensen View Post
 

We should get beyond the idea that hatcheries are selecting for the best layers intelligently. That is simply not the case. They simply breed replacements from pullets. All in and all out. It is not as if they are trap nesting their birds or something. They do produce the truly commercial lines. They simply purchase the eggs from the actual breeders of the truly commercial production birds. That does not include our Standard breeds. All that is a required by them is a general color pattern and eggs.

 

 

I'd absolutely LOVE to talk to some (all) hatcheries about their Delawares. Where did they get their source birds? How long have they been working with Delawares? What are their breeding selection criteria? Goals? Have they crossed anything into their Delawares? If so, what? When? I'm curious, and I think it could be useful information. 

Keeper of free-ranging mutts and a restoration line of project Delawares. I do not ship eggs or chicks. 
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Keeper of free-ranging mutts and a restoration line of project Delawares. I do not ship eggs or chicks. 
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post #583 of 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieDJoyce View Post
 

 

I'd absolutely LOVE to talk to some (all) hatcheries about their Delawares. Where did they get their source birds? How long have they been working with Delawares? What are their breeding selection criteria? Goals? Have they crossed anything into their Delawares? If so, what? When? I'm curious, and I think it could be useful information. 

I tried to talk to Privet about theirs and they said that they have had them a very long time but didnt know the lines. They were not forthcoming.

 

 

@gjensen I wasnt suggesting that they are intentionally trying to maximize egg laying as much as it seems to be a byproduct of the fact that they are selling chicks for profit. Regardless of if the hatchery raises the birds or contracts out the only way to efficiently generate the numbers is if the birds are fairly prolific (for breed) layers. That would naturally filter to offspring. In the case of Cornish crosses the hybrid growth rate of these birds works to a disadvantage of trying to determine if they might have egg laying capabilities similar to their parents breeds. Regardless in order to get the numbers of chicks to turn a profit you need to have good laying hens. I am facing this problem with Kathys Dels the few I have do not lay well and hatch rates have been a problem (poor incubator and no broodies) Only ended up with probably 8 offspring out of several dozen eggs in 4 attempts 6 of which were male.5 very off color. Cant build up a breeding pool with such poor results. Oddly enough the females,despite too dark neck coloring, were very nice so it seems there might be a bit of sexual dimorphism going on.

You know a dozen fertile eggs is not really a 12 step program
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You know a dozen fertile eggs is not really a 12 step program
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post #584 of 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by caychris View Post
 

I tried to talk to Privet about theirs and they said that they have had them a very long time but didnt know the lines. They were not forthcoming.

 

 

@gjensen I wasnt suggesting that they are intentionally trying to maximize egg laying as much as it seems to be a byproduct of the fact that they are selling chicks for profit. Regardless of if the hatchery raises the birds or contracts out the only way to efficiently generate the numbers is if the birds are fairly prolific (for breed) layers. That would naturally filter to offspring. In the case of Cornish crosses the hybrid growth rate of these birds works to a disadvantage of trying to determine if they might have egg laying capabilities similar to their parents breeds. Regardless in order to get the numbers of chicks to turn a profit you need to have good laying hens. I am facing this problem with Kathys Dels the few I have do not lay well and hatch rates have been a problem (poor incubator and no broodies) Only ended up with probably 8 offspring out of several dozen eggs in 4 attempts 6 of which were male.5 very off color. Cant build up a breeding pool with such poor results. Oddly enough the females,despite too dark neck coloring, were very nice so it seems there might be a bit of sexual dimorphism going on.

 

From what I understand by reading your posts ... you have had some pretty serious issues with your physical setup. Perhaps once those issues are sorted, you'll have better luck getting hatching eggs when you want them? 

I've noticed what my Delawares like is S.P.A.C.E. Both inside the coop, and outside it. Especially the females. 

Keeper of free-ranging mutts and a restoration line of project Delawares. I do not ship eggs or chicks. 
Reply
Keeper of free-ranging mutts and a restoration line of project Delawares. I do not ship eggs or chicks. 
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post #585 of 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieDJoyce View Post
 

 

From what I understand by reading your posts ... you have had some pretty serious issues with your physical setup. Perhaps once those issues are sorted, you'll have better luck getting hatching eggs when you want them? 

I've noticed what my Delawares like is S.P.A.C.E. Both inside the coop, and outside it. Especially the females. 

I let mine out this morning after being cooped all day yesterday due to the lake in my back yard and the first thing they did was go worm hunting even bypassing the feed bowl.

 

I really like them for lots of reasons and my hatchery ones are producing huge eggs again.

 

As far as space goes the ones at Neal's, 4 girls and a male, have a foraging pen that is I think 16'x16' (Neal has 4 of these pens with inter connecting gates)  that they spend most days in. Their night coop is about 4'x6' and about 7' tall. 

You know a dozen fertile eggs is not really a 12 step program
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You know a dozen fertile eggs is not really a 12 step program
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post #586 of 641

Chris starting with this line I had the opposite problem with Broodies - of 14 chicks to start 5 were hens and two of them go broodie so much I had a hard time collecting eggs to hatch in good numbers for a bator  run - I finally let her hatch a batch this year because we wee not hatching and she succeeded with one of 8 eggs surviving. 

Tom

Poker Hill Farm line of Bonham strain Heritage Delaware's -Virginia NPIP 52-334 - Limited Chicks and eggs available in season

http://www.delawarepoultryclubunited.comhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/TheDelawareClubofAmerica/?hc_location=ufi

http://www.livestockconservancy.org

http://www.amerpoultryassn.com

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Tom

Poker Hill Farm line of Bonham strain Heritage Delaware's -Virginia NPIP 52-334 - Limited Chicks and eggs available in season

http://www.delawarepoultryclubunited.comhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/TheDelawareClubofAmerica/?hc_location=ufi

http://www.livestockconservancy.org

http://www.amerpoultryassn.com

Reply
post #587 of 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieDJoyce View Post
 

 

 

I think helping set standards & procedures for measuring and reporting flock productivity is something that Dr. Brigid McCrea could really help with, if she is inclined to help. She says she recommends Delawares, specifically, for people looking to do pastured poultry (people who have to pencil this stuff out), though I'm thinking that's more based on the breed's reputation than on the current state of the breed. Knowing BEFORE your first year of production about where you should set your prices ... which -- and this bit seems super important to me -- would likely vary a lot depending on the source of the birds ... would help people stay in business more than one season. 

 

What I put in bold is exactly what I'm trying to find out. I don't believe the true broiler potential of this breed will ever be found in hatchery stock. Breeding toward egg laying inherently changes body structure leading away from meat quality. Not to mention moving away from the standard of the breed.

 

I've asked this question on a few threads and want to post here too. I'm looking for actual weights of birds either live or dress at different ages. Specifically the 12 to 14 week age range. I was presented a link to study in Kathy's Delaware thread by Finnfur and it confirms my research of historical records that these birds made 4 lbs dressed in 12 weeks. That's 6 pounds live weight. This same early maturity trait was in the New Hampshire back in the day and have read same recorded weights in 12 weeks for that breed. Delaware being white makes for better looking carcass for table. 

 

Anyone care to share the line they have and actual weight at some ages of growth? Please specify if live or dressed weight. 

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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post #588 of 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by Egghead_Jr View Post
 

What I put in bold is exactly what I'm trying to find out. I don't believe the true broiler potential of this breed will ever be found in hatchery stock. Breeding toward egg laying inherently changes body structure leading away from meat quality. Not to mention moving away from the standard of the breed.

 

I've asked this question on a few threads and want to post here too. I'm looking for actual weights of birds either live or dress at different ages. Specifically the 12 to 14 week age range. I was presented a link to study in Kathy's Delaware thread by Finnfur and it confirms my research of historical records that these birds made 4 lbs dressed in 12 weeks. That's 6 pounds live weight. This same early maturity trait was in the New Hampshire back in the day and have read same recorded weights in 12 weeks for that breed. Delaware being white makes for better looking carcass for table. 

 

Anyone care to share the line they have and actual weight at some ages of growth? Please specify if live or dressed weight. 

 

I simply do not process the birds that young. Right now I need breeders, and I cannot tell that young if they would be good breeders. They change a LOT after 12 weeks. 

 

I did weigh 4 at 14 weeks, and they were all over 4 lbs ... 

 

I just sent a batch of older cockerels to the processor. They were between 30 and 35 weeks. They weighed between 7 & 8 lbs. The dressed at about 70% of live weights (with necks on, not including giblets). But that's not very helpful info for someone wanting a harvestable chicken in 12 weeks.

 

I *think* one expects to invest a little more time in a pastured bird as the feed efficiency drops when the birds forage. I believe this is even true for Cornish Cross. Recent research I've read suggests 15 weeks for pastured Delawares, but that study was with birds that had not been bred to the standard, so maybe we could do better, either in terms of the quality of the carcass, or the total weight.

Keeper of free-ranging mutts and a restoration line of project Delawares. I do not ship eggs or chicks. 
Reply
Keeper of free-ranging mutts and a restoration line of project Delawares. I do not ship eggs or chicks. 
Reply
post #589 of 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieDJoyce View Post
 

 

I simply do not process the birds that young. Right now I need breeders, and I cannot tell that young if they would be good breeders. They change a LOT after 12 weeks. 

 

I did weigh 4 at 14 weeks, and they were all over 4 lbs ... 

 

I just sent a batch of older cockerels to the processor. They were between 30 and 35 weeks. They weighed between 7 & 8 lbs. The dressed at about 70% of live weights (with necks on, not including giblets). But that's not very helpful info for someone wanting a harvestable chicken in 12 weeks.

 

I *think* one expects to invest a little more time in a pastured bird as the feed efficiency drops when the birds forage. I believe this is even true for Cornish Cross. Recent research I've read suggests 15 weeks for pastured Delawares, but that study was with birds that had not been bred to the standard, so maybe we could do better, either in terms of the quality of the carcass, or the total weight.


I posted some and pictures of processed birds on the Dwlawares from Kathyinmo thread - 

Search my posts there and you may need to read the thread.

None I know of are at the 12>14 week duration you want.

Tom

Poker Hill Farm line of Bonham strain Heritage Delaware's -Virginia NPIP 52-334 - Limited Chicks and eggs available in season

http://www.delawarepoultryclubunited.comhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/TheDelawareClubofAmerica/?hc_location=ufi

http://www.livestockconservancy.org

http://www.amerpoultryassn.com

Reply

Tom

Poker Hill Farm line of Bonham strain Heritage Delaware's -Virginia NPIP 52-334 - Limited Chicks and eggs available in season

http://www.delawarepoultryclubunited.comhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/TheDelawareClubofAmerica/?hc_location=ufi

http://www.livestockconservancy.org

http://www.amerpoultryassn.com

Reply
post #590 of 641
How do you all track production? Trap nests? Breeding pens keeping track which pen lays more?
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