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Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by hellbender, Dec 27, 2013.
I have begun to read your recommendation, thanks
Not with that mindset! Horse-feathers, I say. You are not trying to coax shapes from stone or clay, nor apply pigment to canvas or paper ... the artistry is looking at these hens and this rooster and thinking which combinations will produce chicks that looks like the picture in your mind labeled, "My ideal chicken." Oh, by science I believe george is referring to the actual scientific method of forming an hypothesis, setting up a trial to *falsify* your hypothesis, testing or observing, collecting data, then seeing if the data supports or refutes your hypothesis. After analyzing your data, then you start the process over to refine your hypothesis or try a new one.
The advice in this entire thread echoes what I hear from gardeners about breeding plants specifically adapted to your personal microclimate (say, your yard/garden). They say to plant seeds in a couple different areas when you first start, then observe where certain plant species do best, then save the seeds from the very best specimens for the following season's plants.
It seems to be the basic and universal premise behind propagation of domesticated species - fish, bird, mammal, or plant.
Sure you can. Just stop looking at inferior birds. Consider only the very best. Hang out with experienced folk and don't be shy about contacting elite experts for advice. if you are critiquing birds, do it with the experts, not other learners. Double check everything you read and are told. Unless it comes from an elite expert like Walt Leonard. Have a science question? Find a researcher who is dealing with it and ask. They love to talk about their projects. Buy 5 books and study the carefully and often. The Van Dort duo, "The Genetics Of Chicken Colours" and "The Genetics Of Chicken Extremities", The APA SOP of 2010, One or 2 classic books written by breeders of your breed, and that wonderful little online volume at www.archive.org , "Breeding Laws" by Card.
Once you feel confident about knowledge in your breed, you will feel more sure about the ideal image you are forming in your minds eye.
This was written by a legendary breeder of English Labrador Retrievers. It is from her book, Reaching For the Stars ; Advanced Labrador Breeding". Even the Queen of England admired her dogs. It is applicable to any species. Just change the dog wording to cock, hen, chick, etc. Notice her sage advice about a key to moving out of the "middle-range breeders" into the category of "good breeders" is to stop accepting advice and learning from the "railbirds" and other learners. In other words, check out everything other learners share with you with the experts before implementing it. Especially do not accept other learner's opinions of what constitutes proper breed type and breed hallmarks without checking with your breed experts first. Otherwise you run the risk of corrupting your artist's eye with improper information.
The seven stage apprenticeship for breeders.
I hope that I have not been discouraging.
You do not have to become an artist, but you do have to gain an appreciation for it. For symmetry, balance, etc.
It will all come if you remain interested.
The most important thing is to enjoy the birds, and growing out a batch of chicks every year. For as long as we enjoy it enough to continue, we will continue learning. Watching those birds grow out every year is a good teacher.
I am at day 10 of my hatch and candled a few eggs. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have doubts about the hatchability of this set. I made some errors pre-incubation and it was very cold collecting eggs. So I chose 3 of the eggs that were collected first and have the least chance of hatching. All three appeared to be fertile. Should I check them all? Do I need to worry about having them out of the incubator long enough to check them all? How easy is it to toss good eggs and/or keep bad eggs?
My Australorp Cock is in with his daughters this evening. We have a ten day forecast of highs above 32F so...... hatching season begins.
Eggs rarely go rotten to the point of expoloding. . . .If that is what you are concerned about. I wait until I can see something for sure at 10 days or so for embryo development.( PRior to that I candle for proper development of the air cell.) Be patient! No need to check everyone. Unless you want to. SOme newer incubators have a 1 hour cool down now to mimic broody hen taking her daily break.
One of my buckeyes has gone broody. Doesn't she know it is really really cold ? THe snow is crunchy this morning and a blizzard is coming in to night.
I know this isn't hockey, but a saying attributed to Wayne Gretsky comes to mind..."I miss 100% of the shots I don't take." So jump into the ring and take a shot at breeding chickens, it can be a lot of fun. None of us hatched out one day knowing all about this hobby, we just got started and kept trying.