Breeding Advice (Looking for it)

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by laceynoelle, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. laceynoelle

    laceynoelle Songster

    Nov 12, 2009
    Hey all.
    I was hoping to get a little advice here. I live in Nevada, and we have a ton of predators. I have a flock of 'wild' birds I've been developing over the past couple of years, sort of as a hobby. Definitely nothing serious, I have no real records other than my memory. I'm still perfecting these birds, only letting the ones I like live, while the others fill the freezer. So far I'm pretty happy about what I have going on, but I would love to hear some advice/input from more experienced breeders.
    This breeds characteristics goes as follows:
    Hens-Most are all black, some have minimal coloring. Dark shanks and faces, some have half crest-type things (breeding this out of them). They have very long wings and can easily fly into a tree or across the property (live on an acre)
    Roosters-Black at first, then grow into awesome red/orange/cream plumage. Big tails and wings, Can also fly long distances either low across land. Small darker comb, good fighters.
    Hens-All the chicks have been raised by hens from previous years, leading to a strong broody instinct. Hens will disappear to have chicks, showing up three weeks later with broods from 5-13 chicks. (This years stats) The hens go broody 1-4 times a year, the older a hen, the more often it goes broody. There is some game blood in these birds, the mother hens are aggressive, but they do a great job rearing babies. Hens will attack anything that comes near the chicks, including much larger animals, ie coyotes or stray dogs.
    Rooster-Defends the flock and keeps an eye out above. Is good with chicks. The mother hens, roosters, chicks, and adolescents all run the yard together and there are never any problems with inner-flock aggression.
    As a whole-These chickens run the yard wild, and have no shelter whatsoever. It began as an experiment one year, and had grown into something awesome. They survive wild predators, blizzards, heat, and anything else that comes their way. They sleep in trees or under sheds, depending on their age. They can fly crazy distances to avoid danger. For example, I recently had a dog come and murder off 19 chickens and 1 duck. (Worst thing ever...I've never experienced something this horrible before.) None of the casualties were these wild chickens. That alone has made me reconsider this little hobby. I want all the chickens on my property to have this extreme resistance to death.
    The biggest problem there is with these wild chickens is 1. They aren't pets. They don't like being held or petted, and 2. It's nearly impossible to catch them. In order to kill off the ones I don't want in my flock, I have to shoot them in the eye with a BB gun equipped with a scope.

    I like the type of bird I have now, but there are some traits I want to work on:
    -I'd like the body to be bigger-I'm planning on doing this by adding a new cock to the flock of some game variety, but show quality since SQ is always larger.
    -Keep the independent gamey characteristics without losing the ability for the cocks to coexist.
    -Eventually have them breed true.

    What I need help with:
    I need a new cock, and I need breed suggestions. I'd like to get as close personality-wise to what I already have, and hopefully close in color as well. All the birds I have now are related, and I've been doing the 'breed the fathers back to the daughters and mothers to the sons' deal, but I'd still like to introduce new blood this coming year. Here are some pics of my rooster from this year:



    Any sort of advice or anything will be well appreciated!! Thank you all in advance. I will probably change the name of this thread once I settle on a new breed to add to the mixture, and update how the experiment is going if anyone is interested. :]
    ETA: So I can't change the name of this topic, but perhaps I'll make another one if there is an interest there.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  2. Primo

    Primo Songster

    May 1, 2013
    Well I am not experienced with fowl, just dogs. My family has been breeding both game fowl and dogs since the late 1800's. This doesn't mean I know a **** thing, but I have been exposed to it. What I do know is if you bring in something new and flood your existing gene pool with it, it will be just like starting from scratch. If you like what you have and want to improve exhaust all options before outcrossing (i.e. selective line breeding with heavy culling) If your birds are "wild" and doing as they please, you are going to have to seriously consider penning them up so you can control the breeding and selection. My grandfather and great grandfather bred Boston roundheads and Irish pyles.. Here is his simple formula for linebreeding

    " Hen cock
    1st generation 1/2 hen 1/2 cock

    2nd generation
    hen to son 3/4 hen
    cock to daughter 3/4 cock

    3rd generation
    hen to grandson 7/8 hen
    cock to grandaughter 7/8 cock

    4th generation
    Hen to great grandson 15/16 hen
    cock to great grandaughter 15/16 cock

    5th generation
    Breed a 15/16 cock to 3 or 4 of the best great grandaughters. You are almost back to the beginning.

    Choose only the best specimens each year to breed from.
    A balanced diet..........good housekeeping etc. will ad to your success"

    These are his words from years past not mine. But since he kept his lines nearly pure with very few outcrosses for 60+ years I think he new what he was doing. Another thing a lot of breeders I see forget with dogs and chickens, the male represents 1/2 of your gene pool. Keep plenty of males as well or you can breed yourself into a corner quickly (even more so with chickens because of the short lifespan and quick demise due to predators)

    If you do decide to bring new blood in (outcross) you must make sure that what you are bringing in to the family has all the qualities you want. In the case of chickens this means you may have to bring a few birds in and breed, raise and observe separate from the main family before making the outcross. And when you do it should be limited (1/4 or less).

    Anyhow, as I have said, I have never bred and raised a chicken in my life, but I did grow up around people who really, really knew what they were doing. So maybe I absorbed some of it (I know I did with the dogs anyhow)

    If you really want to improve what you have and breed to type, you will have to get serious about your breeding practices (penning up, banding, meticulous record keeping etc.). otherwise it will just be a crap shoot.

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