Breed Stewards Thread

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Ducks and Banny hens, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. Ducks and Banny hens

    Ducks and Banny hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 22, 2011
    On a little Farm.
    There seems to only be a couple of types of breeders around. There are those who sell there birds because: 'They lay more eggs than anybody else's birds' or 'My birds are perfect looking showbirds.' Then there are those who just say: 'Yep. These are chickens alright!'. But how many breeders boast about there birds' surviving skills? Be honest? That's what I thought. Now the first three examples aren't bad at all... But there is a better way to get to them. If we as breeders select for the smartest, most fertile, best foraging, hardiest birds, we can get the best stock. Of course, Show specimens and egg machines will eventually appear in hardy stock, too. So I made this thread to offer suggestions and to hear your suggetions about how to make birds better in this way. Please also post about your stewardship projects etc. I'd like to hear from you all.
    [​IMG]
    This thread still needs:
    Bold text means it's been completed by someone

    Chickens
    -North Maritimes
    -Canadian Appalachians (myself)
    -Southern Appalachians
    -East Coast (Gresh)
    -Deep South
    -Interior Highlands (sjarvis00)
    -Midwest (NotAFarm)
    -North Prairies
    -North Rockies
    -South Rockies
    -Southwest
    -West Coast
    -Pacific Northwest
    -Far North

    Ducks
    - (Anywhere)

    Geese
    -(Anywhere)

    Pheasants/Gamebirds
    -(Anywhere)

    Guineas
    -(Anywhere)

    The goal in this thread is to get knowledgeable people from these places who raise their birds extensively and know how the birds should be managed to improve them in these areas, to educate people in those regions about how to improve their birds.

    P.S, moderators, I don't mean to double-post, but I can't delete the similar post, and thought it would be better suited here...
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  2. ChickenWisperer

    ChickenWisperer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2008
    KY
    I think the problem is that some or even maybe many breeders aren't looking at the whole picture, mainly because it's HARD. It's not just the birds being selected to be hardy - it's conforming to breed standards, the rate of lay, the amount or quality of their meat, and (in my opinion) the second most important, temperament.

    But, like I said, it's hard. It's not something every breeder wants or can do. Many times you end up focusing on one thing at a time, and by the time you get done with one thing the birds are missing some important things. When you introduce the new stock with those qualities, you're often back at square one or heavily set back on all of the qualities, unless you can find a breeder - happens to have the same breed and variety - working on a different set of things than you and mix your stock often. It's a huge investment of time, money, space, and hard work. When I sat down and seriously considered creating my own chicken breed, I thought about all this and realized I didn't have the things I needed to consider all the above and make quality birds.

    So people split up - either you buy my birds to show, or you buy them for production. I'm guessing it's easier that way and there is much more profit for the breeder. Not saying it can't be done or shouldn't - it definitely should. Just my thoughts on the subject.
     
  3. Ducks and Banny hens

    Ducks and Banny hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 22, 2011
    On a little Farm.
    ChickenWisperer: Yes, it is quite hard, but if one breeds for traits in a certain order, a perfect balance can be obtained. Unfortunately, this perfect balance may take a lifetime to arrive at. But here is my interpretation of the Order of Operations:
    1) Hardiness. 'Weed out' the week and prissy birds in favour of the tough as nails birds.
    2) Next, out of your newly finished extreme-hardiness-bred stock, begin breeding the friendly and simple-to handle.
    3) Once you've been able to balance friendly, hardy stock, now wait for that one hen that produces eggs better than any hen you've ever had before, or that cockerel with the most succulent meat. These should be hardy.
     
  4. Ducks and Banny hens

    Ducks and Banny hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 22, 2011
    On a little Farm.
    Stewardship pt.1: Hardiness
    Some of the ways you can help encourage hardiness and vitality are:
    A) Unheated, unlighted coop. Heated coops lower hardiness greatly, as the birds do not require there hardiness to keep alive, therefore, it is difficult to select the most hardy from the least hardy. Lighting coops in the winter over true daylight hours to mimic spring, while it helps produce eggs, can cause fertility problems by stretching the reproductive resources of the birds.
    B) Patience. Most chickens now available seem to produce well for a year or too, then molt and hardly produce at all. These chickens also seem to have shorter life spans. There is a specific reason for this, although I won't get into that as it has to do with the hen's reproductive setup and is confusing. But this can be solved by breeding only the roosters and hens that are still keeping the brooder full at 3 or 4 years old. This helps with increasing fertility and longevity.
    I have alot more ideas, but if anyone else out there has ideas, I'd certainly like to here. That's why the thread is hear. To assist and educate.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011
  5. Ducks and Banny hens

    Ducks and Banny hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 22, 2011
    On a little Farm.
    Stewardship pt. 2: Intellegence
    Some of the ways you can help a smarter chicken be created are:
    A) Broody hens. A hen knows far better than a computer how to hatch an egg. And as she raises the babies, she imparts on them everything there is to know about 'Chickendom', and this makes the chicks even smarter. Something a box with a lamp certainly can't do! The chicken circle of life was created to be continuous, not continuously broken. That is why ready-to-lay pullets from hatcheries often seem more stupid than any other chickens you've seen!
    B) No Fences. Okay. I know some situations require fencing, but I find a big, friendly, used-to-poultry guard dog is a thousand times more valuable than a roll of poultry netting. When the chickens have to sort out your land's natural resoures for food, they begin to get smarter as they eventually will know what to look for, where exactly to find it, etc. If there is a healthy water resource nearby, I suggest not providing them with water so long as they can access this supply (provide for them in winter, etc.). (This isn't important, but my chooks prefer alsike clover and alfalfa over everything else, so they spend alot of time looking for these plants, which they can identify from a suprising distance. They also steal water from our heifer's waterbowl. I basically let them out in the morning, and close them up at night. They are healtier than alot of birds that have been raised differently, although, like I said, some who read this can do nothing about there situation.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011
  6. acy0029

    acy0029 Chillin' With My Peeps

    257
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    Apr 9, 2011
    Tucson
    First, let me say I'm not a breeder....yet. I am a little O.C.D. when it comes to learning everything I can on a subject that interests me. The literature that I read on breeding often say's stuff like "You have to build the barn before you can paint it" and the equivalent. I see no reason why you can't do both simultaneously. I feel that when breeders make the decision to "improve" a breed in a specific way they often overlook some important genes since that is not what they are working on at the time and then have to reintroduce those genes later in the project which can be difficult at times. I think hatching fewer offspring, culling fewer young birds,allowing more birds to mature would allow for hardier, more productive,and birds that are closer to what the breeder is looking for to be come more evident thus, the offspring of those birds would make the project move smoother. If you have a Rooster that is the prime example of the breed and he's infertile he's worthless, or a perfect hen that only lays an egg a week isn't helping the breed at all. In my opinion it has to be a simultaneous improvement of the breed: appearance,vitality, longevity, fertility,and demeanor. I think this could be done but,maybe I'm totally wrong?
     
  7. Ducks and Banny hens

    Ducks and Banny hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 22, 2011
    On a little Farm.
    Quote:You are quite right in your last statement, but, strange as it sounds, there is no actual reason that you are right. Let me explain. In each batch of chicks, there seems to be alot that are average, some that are horrible, and some that excel. Unfortunately, we are generally unable to influence how these chickens excel. In theory, chicks that are near-pefect in all of these fields could appear in any given hatch, but these dream birds would be incredibly rare. And also, sometimes as we select for traits, if we select for another trait before we are finished the first one, say, if we want hardy birds and then select an egg-bird, that egg-bird bird may lack hardiness. This will take a long time, but is worth it. And besides, I have never had a chicken which I disliked the looks of.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011
  8. acy0029

    acy0029 Chillin' With My Peeps

    257
    4
    113
    Apr 9, 2011
    Tucson
    Quote:You are quite right in your last statement, but, strange as it sounds, there is no actual reason that you are right. Let me explain. In each batch of chicks, there seems to be alot that are average, some that are horrible, and some that excel. Unfortunately, we are generally unable to influence how these chickens excel. In theory, chicks that are near-pefect in all of these fields could appear in any given hatch, but these dream birds would be incredibly rare. And also, sometimes as we select for traits, if we select for another trait before we are finished the first one, say, if we want hardy birds and then select an egg-bird, that egg-bird bird may lack hardiness. This will take a long time, but is worth it. And besides, I have never had a chicken which I disliked the looks of.

    What i'm saying is most (from what I understand) culls are are at a young age. For instance I've seen where you should cull for size at like 8 weeks. It seems that would limit you genetic diversity. If you select for one thing you still have to try to put that diversity back in somewhere down the line right? Wouldn't that set back all your hard work? I would think that a bird that may be a little smaller but has more vigor would be of more value in a breeding project than one that is just the size you want. Is it a matter of economics on not keeping birds around longer to see the traits of the adult birds?
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011
  9. Ducks and Banny hens

    Ducks and Banny hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 22, 2011
    On a little Farm.
    Quote:Absolutely right. If you cull birds before you even know what the traits of the bird are, what's the point of culling?[​IMG]
     
  10. Ducks and Banny hens

    Ducks and Banny hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 22, 2011
    On a little Farm.
    Stewardship pt. 3: Immunity
    This is slightly different than hardiness, in that, this involves disease, rather than climate:
    A) Natural resources. I cannot stress how much I dislike medicated feed. Most formulated feed includes things like Soy that are not good for the birds long term health, and medicine or chemicals that are specific to the type of bird specified in the feed. Right from the beginning, to the day they die, I do all I can to make sure my birds don't get this kind of degrading food. I like natural resources on my land, and crack corn. You want birds that can survive disease on their own, not birds stuffed full of good ol' flavin-bensinate-dio-carbine or whatever that prevents you from knowing which birds to cull. You see, in any case of influence, you want to set your situation up so you know who to cull.
    B) Vacination. No. Just no. This is for the same reason as above, but, even more important. Those who sell you vaccinated chicks are selling you chicks which might grow up to be birds you should-have-culled. But of course, there heavily medicated, so they sure seem immune. And then how would you ever find out how truely immune it is, until you breed it and it's chicks are awful?...
     

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