Plans for KMV Farm (aka The Feathered Nest)Well, I mulled it over most of the spring and summer, and decided I wanted to concentrate on one dual purpose Heritage breed, rather than crossing or having random breedings between multiple breeds. Then I made a list of possible breeds, weighed the pros/cons, and decided I wanted the Dorking.
One thing I didn't consider, was availability. I did find an auction for silver grey dorking eggs, which I won. And then a week after incubation had started, I found a trio available about 2 hours from home, so off I went to pick them up. Of the 21 eggs shipped, only 2 hatched. But now that I have the trio (hatched April 2011), I'll start collecting the eggs for incubation once they start laying again.
I'm using this page to basically map out my goals, and also as a sounding board if anyone reads this and cares to offer suggestions or insights, feel free to message or email me.
I've decided to modify my hoop coop design (see my other page for that) and use them for breeding pens, with a trio in each. During my months of researching heritage breeds, coop designs, and so on, I've decided instead of just having a large group of birds with some roos mixed in, I'm going to have individual breeding pens with a trio or quad in each. That way I can keep seperate lines going, better records of who's producing what, and be able to cross each line down the road to improve on the points that need work. The system I read about used 3-4 hens to 1 rooster, each hen in her own pen and just rotating the roo between them. I liked that idea, but due to space limitations I'm not able to devote that much space to individual groups, but may adopt a trap nesting method I also read about (the hen goes in to lay and a door closes so she can't get out until you let her). That way I can also keep track of which hens produced better as well, which is also important to improving the lines in my opinion.
In addition to the silver greys, I also plan to work on a line of colored as well. Down the road want to develop a line of crele too. Here's a pic of one I found online, I'm not sure about the hen, but pretty sure the roo is a 'colored crele' version. That's my goal at least, though I might play with crele silver grey too, but that's even further down the road...
The lines I plan on working with are the silver grey, colored, and cuckoo. I figure if I have 3 trios of each, that will give me plenty of chicks to hatch out, evaluate and cull for the next years' breeding. And any extras will be sold or processed.
I estimate it will probably be a good year and a half to two to get everything going, for having all the birds/coops/routines established, but if I'm diligent it'll pay off in the long run. The crele, unless I can find someone with a similar line already in progress, will take a bit longer to get stabilized, even if I start breeding at 6 months old for each generation.