Originally Posted by gjensen
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.
Originally Posted by gjensen
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.