Breed identification

Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the SOP' started by Daniel58, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. Is a chicken breed identified by phenotype(looks) only? I see chickens claimed to be whatever breed they look like but then their offspring are definitely not that breed at least not pure. How do I know what I am buying or do I just trust the breeder that the birds are pure and wait and find out.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    If you go to the breeders location, the birds must be housed separately in order to be pure. If they are all running together they will be mixed. And a breeder will identify what they have and not be vague, for example... They won't say they breed Ameraucana, they might say they breed black, or blue, or lavender Ameraucana. They should know something about the breed they are selling if it's pure breed,IMO. And I think they should also have culled the parent stock for any faults like sprigs, split wing, curled toes, or incorrect coloring.

    I was scammed once and none of the birds ended up being what the people said and quickly learned the difference between someone who knows what they are talking about and cares about what they are breeding verses lying losers. Use your best judgement, if it's important for you to have pure breeds.

    Good luck!
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Fair enough question.

    Yes, chickens are judged by phenotype and whatever the genes are behind what you see? Well, this is where the integrity and reputation of the breeder comes into play. First, let's deal with the title "breeder".

    The vast majority of folks "breeding" are not breeders at all, they are merely propagate birds. They're hatchers, propagators, not breeders. The art of breeding as yes, it is as much art as science, is rarer than what most folks understand. The well known, true breeders of high quality, true to breed Standard breeders are quite rare. There is a popular movie out right now on CMT, Amazon, etc called "Chicken People" which open the viewer to the world of true bred, Standard bred poultry breeding, exhibitions and judging. This is a world that backyard propagators often know little to nothing about. It's worth a look see.

    Quality breeders earn their reputation by consistently producing high quality, top notch birds of distinction. They are usually well known in the poultry community that specializes in this hobby/artform. They've exhibited their work at major exhibitions and endured the process of critical peer review such exhibitions provide. If you state the specific breed in which you have an interest, seek out the breeder group for that specific breed through the internet or social media, the top 6 or 7 breeders names will surface immediately. Their reputation is well established and they are well known within that breed's community of devotees.
    1 person likes this.
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    I agree with @Fred's Hens 100%!

    And I will add that even someone breeding show quality birds does not mean all of the offspring will be show quality. That is true across the board. The exhibitors pick the best of the best to show and breed.

    As I stated a real breeder will cull for faults, back yard breeders (propagators) rarely do.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I see you are in South Africa. Things are always different in different countries. In Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain, the poultry breeding fancy is a passionate, driving force. In North America, not all breeds and varieties are being bred to the Standard and some almost have ceased to exist. In some place in the world, the only chickens people have access to are commercial birds.

    Best wishes on your desires for high quality, true bred, Standard bred fowl. It will take some investigating work to unearth good birds in your country, but stay with it. This is a small, almost private hobby. It is not commercialized or publicized, so you'll have to do a lot legwork on your own. Start by searching for the date and place of fancy poultry shows within South Africa. Hopefully, the influences of North America and Europe have "infected" a few folks down there. :)
  6. Thanks for all your replies. it is much appreciated. I have located a breeder of Light Sussex chickens in my vicinity. I am visiting him early next month. Hard to find breeders here. Bantams seem to be more popular than LF. Photos of chickens I do find of "breeders" are not to impressive. The individual displayed chickens look great but then they also have photos of their breeding flocks. Some of the chickens are just not very good. As mentioned before, very little culling done. Even with lesser quality chickens you are bound to have some good pure "look alike" chickens but useless to breed with to any kind of standard. I am afraid that it will be quite a mission to find really good birds in my vicinity. Maybe if I look around more widely, who knows.
  7. About your comment "and whatever the genes are behind what you see" does that mean that for example a silver columbium chicken that is Light Sussex type but genetically e^b based is still a Light Sussex?
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    It simply means that during the exhibition of birds, the poultry judge can only know what in front of the eyes. Only the most recent breeder of a particular bird's immediate parentage knows.

    In North America, the American Poultry Association publishes the encyclopedia like "The Standard of Perfection". It is the "bible" of breed standard. Each breed has a strict and highly defined standard covering every aspect of the bird's appearance. Against this objective and precise standard, the bird is judged to be or not to be a good example of the breed. Small measures of grace is allowed, but at some point, the bird is set aside as a DQ, a "close but no cigar".

    It is thought that all chickens are descended for one or possible two jungle fowl. Those original ancestors would have been species. Breeds are man-made concoctions. As the bird reflects the breed very closely, it is the breed. If it does not reflect the breed? Wrong comb, breast, top line, feather, tail position, etc, etc? No. The poultry judge may not even give it a second look and pass right on by.

    Unlike stud books or registrations used in many other livestock animals, showing purity of breeding for ump-teen generations, in the poultry world, all we have is a standard against which to judge the physical appearance of a breed. No pedigree is required and often, is not known very far back in any case.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
  9. Thanks for a great answer. I am aware of "The Standard of perfection" also that no judge can see any genes but am slightly perplexed by the fact that purists are adamant that Light Sussex chickens should be e^wh based. Looks of both e^b and e^wh should be very similar on silver Columbian. But in any case I am now more than happy to breed with what I have and improve from there. I will get rid of the odd leakage of black on the silver.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
  10. Sorry I previously stated that there were some brown leakage. I was mistaken, only black marks on the saddles.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016

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