BREEDING FOR PRODUCTION...EGGS AND OR MEAT.

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by hellbender, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. ronott1

    ronott1 Daily Digest Guru Premium Member Project Manager

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    My Coop
    Yep! Those pen feathers can leave stuff like that. You can get them out with tweezers but like you said, they do cook out fine.

    The closest to white I have now are a some Splash colored chickens.
     
  2. ocap

    ocap Overrun With Chickens

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    The good news: I put my oldest four australorp pullets in a breeding pen this week, the first four days resulted in 14 eggs (one double yolk) [​IMG]
     
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  3. bnjrob

    bnjrob Overrun With Chickens

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    You know, you sound very much like I did a few years ago. I researched chickens for years before I was even able to obtain the ones that I wanted. I have read so much poultry material over the years that I can't even remember everything I've read. And I learned a lot of good stuff and I'm glad that I did research and learn before getting my first breeding birds. The problem was that I wanted everything to fit into a nice neat box where there were definite dos and don'ts, that was going to keep me from making mistakes. I quickly discovered that just because I wanted 2+2 to equal 4 all the time did not mean that breeding poultry was going to be as constant as a math equation. And it's frustrating. I felt like I was at risk of failing, of killing chickens, or winding up screwing them up somehow so they didn't look like they were supposed to look, if I didn't have everything outlined in minute detail.

    Well, breeding chickens is still a bit of crapshoot even in the 21st century. There are some things that are set in stone - like if you don't give them some kind of food and water they will die - but breeding chickens is very fluid. There are just too many variables that can change and you just cannot account for ever single variable in any kind of plan. There aren't always yes and no, right or wrong answers to things. What works for you in summer may not work for you in spring. And it might have worked for you last year, but now that you've added something else into the equation, it doesn't work anymore. You can breed two birds together that won at a show, against heavy competition, and still wind up with offspring that have huge flaws and look like crap. You can breed your best laying hen to a cock that has sired lots of excellent layers, and still wind up with hens that are pathetic layers. Chicken genetics just doesn't follow the rules every single time. And husbandry also heavily influences their growth, their appearance, and their productivity, so that just throws more things into the mix to have to learn to deal with.

    When I first started with my birds, I wanted to know more about the genetics of feather color. I thought that if I understood all the genetic science, that I would be able to do better with breeding. Then I found out that it isn't that simple. Several more years down the road and I have not even wasted any more time worrying about the science of feather color - because I have not found anyone that can spout all the science of color genetics that are producing better looking chickens, any faster, than people that have never read a single thing about alleles and which gene carries what color combo. But I have read a good number of antique poultry books and journals and have seen that people were raising beautiful and productive poultry long before there was all the poultry science info that we have available now. But they did it by observation and taking notes. They hypothesized and then tried to prove things right or wrong. They learned from their mistakes and they used their new knowledge to work toward their goals.

    Honestly, until you just start getting in there and trying things, you probably won't truly understand what folks have told you, and you will still long for what you think is the safety net of a well thought out, highly detailed plan. Well, you can write out a plan - and you'll find that it won't be long before something comes along that you didn't account for and you've got to make a decision and hope it's the one that will lead you closer to your goal. If it isn't, then you have the choice to forge ahead and get back on the path, or quit, which many people do when they find out that you can't rush certain things when you're breeding poultry and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to chicken keeping or chicken breeding. It takes time and learning about your birds, their quirks, how their genes manifest themselves in offspring, and how your husbandry affects their growth and development. And just when you think you have things figured out, one tiny little variable changes and you have to go back to the drawing board.

    When you're able, hatch eggs and raise those chicks. Watch how they grow, if there is something that is different about one of them, write it down. And then keep hatching. After you hatch and raise the first bunch to maturity, you'll have a better idea of what you want in them, what they are physically capable of achieving, and what you need to do to get it. And with each hatch, it gets easier. With each group, you start noticing things sooner about them that can tell you so much and give you a better idea of what decisions to make with the next group to get to where you want to be. It isn't a fast process, and no amount of planning will get you to your destination any sooner. There are just some things you can't grasp the concept of until you just plunge in and start hatching and raising your birds and see how everything fits together in real life. You probably don't want to hear this, but if you stop trying to have such a controlled plan, you'll save yourself a little frustration in the end. Go with the flow. Don't make it any harder than it has to be. We have some crazy discussions on things like protein percentages and mixes and all kinds of things around here. And it's fun to banter those things about and learn new things and see what others do. But if you keep trying to shove your chicken breeding/husbandry plan into a nice neat little box, you'll make yourself crazy because it just doesn't work like that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
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  4. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Starting with the best chickens you could find will set you up for a good beginning. I look at my buckeyes and see many males potentially worth keeping. ANd less room for error on my part. THe breeder before me ( the source of my stock) was interested in good production and freely shared that information.

    I did not learn over night, but did keep reading the posts from those I learned to respect for a couple years. I now understand much better what they are talking about. IF you have not done it yet, go back and find the thread started by Robert BLosl on breeding heritage birds. Many good nuggets there. As well as this thread.

    Just keep reading.
     
  5. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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  6. ocap

    ocap Overrun With Chickens

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    Bob Blosl helped me find my Buff Brahma trio.
     
  7. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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  8. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    That is how it works. The learning is in the doing, and it isn't the end of the world if we start over. Or take a different path.

    We speak of this or that, but nothing comes as truth until we see it for ourselves.

    I started playing around with this or that. No books. No internet. There was no BYC or Facebook etc. Often the lessons were painful. I experimented trying different things. Science of any sort depends on observation.
    I prefer it worked out this way. It is easy to accept what we hear as truth, but often it is not. Or if it is, it isn't all of the truth. There are always variables to consider. Instead we hear something that sounds good, accept it, and pass it on to the next. Even though we never tested it ourselves.

    Every spring brought hope for new things, and I was excited to see the results. That is the part I never lost. Still, every spring I am excited about what I might have hatched. When the eggs start hatching, I am like a child. I still get a kick out of a box of chicks.
    In this hobby, spring brings hope for something new. If we do not lose that joy, we will stick with it. If we stick with it, we will get it.

    We are relearning an art and a science that had been lost to most. It does not happen over night. Then there is no end to the learning.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
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  9. DesertChic

    DesertChic Overrun With Chickens

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    Congratulations!

    As far as reading material goes, here's a link for a short-read but very useful book supplying info on a method for selecting good production stock. It's called "The Call of the Hen", and it's a classic. This is by no means the only method for selecting good production birds for eggs and meat, but it is a place to start, it's easy and fast to read, and it's as good a place to start as any....and it's free. [​IMG]

    http://www.archive.org/stream/callhenscience00hogarich#page/n3/mode/2up
     
  10. ocap

    ocap Overrun With Chickens

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    I think that I will finally understand the science but I fear that I can never become the artist.
     

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