BREEDING FOR PRODUCTION...EGGS AND OR MEAT.

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

  1. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    I like these numbers but I'd like the egg quota to go up to at leas 20 per mo. Ocap didn't mention lights in the winter. I didn't do it and mine stopped dead. I mean dead in 2 days. I'll never go without lights again. BeeKissed always wanted to let them rest during the winter but my 8 hens were eating their heads off for nothing. So I sold them. Starting over this spring. They were CX breeder rescues and I could not put food down except 2x daily.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
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  2. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    My only concern for ongoing discussions of crossbreeding is when there have been folks that are feeling frustrated because they don't know where to go, and they are looking for a recipe to make good chickens. They don't realize the importance of the other things that go into production. Heck, they often don't even know what "good production" is and that it varies with everyone's individual expectations and goals.

    I operate under the assumption that people that read and post on these forums are mature, can make intelligent decisions, and can determine whether or not a bird is productive. I do not believe that there is a mysterious lost bunch out there that is incapable of finding answers to their questions. I have also never noticed anyone trying to tell anyone what to do or not to do. I think this concern is largely misplaced. You or I did not have any problems coming to the conclusions that we have. I have done well without assistance, and I am not especially bright.

    Crossbreeding has been a part of production breeding as long as there has been such a thing. That is a reality. Any discussion of poultry production will touch on this subject at some point along the way.
    More than that, it would be advisable in some cases. If I was to start a strain of Barred Rocks, I would absolutely not tolerate or perpetuate layers that took 8 and even 10 months to come into lay. I would kill them all. Even that they are praised as meat birds, though they take 20-24 wks to develop an even remotely decent carcass. To me that would be maddening. Even irresponsible. The hatchery Barred Rocks aren't worth messing with, so I would cross them with a large productive strain of Delaware. That is if I wanted to breed a utility strain of Barred Rocks. If you think that selective breeding can improve them to where they should be in your lifetime, you are fooling yourself.

    Should a beginner do this? No. But are you going to tell them when they are ready? I am not. That is not my business. Should someone that wants to exhibit their birds do this? No. That would be a mistake. I would rather see people breed them as they are, and for what they are today. However, if someone wanted them for utility alone, they will have to decide if they can be good enough.

    There are other examples where cross breeding is a good decision. I am working on a project line for my Catalanas. This project line involves cross breeding. I intend to use this project line as an outcross, both for improvement and preservation. I would rather keep them "pure", but I would also rather keep them alive and see them as they could be. They are too closely bred, and the options are not around every corner at this point. There are much less Catalanas than there is even Javas. So I can run them into the ground, or I can establish them and even improve them.

    Is cross breeding over done. Yes. But we cannot intelligently refuse the reality that it often makes good sense to do so.

    The reality is for some, if they want a good utility line, they will have to make them. This also involves deciding what we would be happy with, and whether or not the variability is there for improvement.

    Usually radical decisions are not necessary.

    Any intentional breeding requires discipline, and making intelligent decisions. I assume that most are smarter than myself.

    People breeze through here and they don't realize the effort involved and what a quick answer. Sometimes it is out of ignorance because they are totally new, other times because they are part of today's instant gratification society. And when they come here, hopefully we get a chance to show them something else and help inspire them by giving them all the facts so they can make a choice to be a serious breeder or someone that just wants a pet that makes them breakfast.

    I am not concerned with the people looking for quick answers or solutions. I am even less concerned with someone seeking instant gratification. They will not get this with pure breeds, cross breeds, whatever. These are better served at Wal Mart. I am certainly not interested in inspiring anyone that is not sincerely interested. They may be a concern of yours, but they are not a concern of mine.

    Anyone that is interested in breeding any animal other than fruit flies or mice, has a lot of homework to do. If they are not willing to do this homework, they are not interested enough to be successful. It is not my place to make sure that they do their homework.

    Some people have gone to moderators to try to get them to ban people from threads, because they feel that any disagreement at all is bullying and they do get butthurt any time someone doesn't agree with them. I don't, and you apparently don't, but I have encountered them and I get messages and emails letting me know how much I offended them and that I should shut my mouth.


    I do not concern myself with these things. I do not care to right any wrongs, nor do I care if I am disagreed with. I expect it when I carry on conversations with the world at large. I enjoy chatting chickens, but it is not that big of a deal to me. I share what I think. I share what I think I know. It can be discarded, or taken into consideration. To each their own.
    I am willing to debate, and I enjoy a stimulating conversation. Only if it is kept on point though. I do not like going in circles. Many, because they are most concerned with winning or imposing their view will not listen in the mean time. Debating does involve listening.


    Ironically, you and I agree on most things. I enjoyed this conversation. I have no hard feelings, but I do think it is time that we let this pass.
     
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  3. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    This is an example of the hybrid variety that I was thinking about. She is going to save me some for my payday.

    12 hours left on this auction $10 current bid by alisar
     
  4. dfr1973

    dfr1973 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My number is an average over the first couple years, including slow winter months and the stoppage for molt. I should have made that clearer. I don't bother with lights. If I need to buy eggs, a friend two towns up the highway has more land, more hens, and eggs that taste like mine.

    We probably ought to mention if we do lights over the winter - at my latitude it doesn't seem to make much sense.
     
  5. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    Really, Florida has so much daylight? I'm in zone 8b out of Shreveport and it's dark by 5:30.
     
  6. dfr1973

    dfr1973 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Compared to way up north ... some really north places get dark at mid-afternoon in the winter. This evening I could still mostly see off my porch at 1800 (6 PM).
     
  7. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    I think the question is too broad. I would have an opinion per breed.

    For example all of the American breeds are dual purpose birds. None are purely meat birds. We have general dual purpose birds, dual purpose birds that emphasize the production of poultry meat, and dual purpose birds that were bred to emphasize the production of eggs. The NH and Delaware were intentionally developed to emphasize the production of poultry meat. Therefore, my expectations for these two breeds would be higher than for some others. Some like the Buckeye have a conformation that is better suited for the carcass than it is for egg laying capacity. Jersey Giants were meant to be good and large capons. Dominiques were more by chance originally, more refined later. The emphasis for Reds was more on the production of eggs. Their long backs, and deep bodies (brick shape) equipped them to be good layers.

    I believe that it is important to consider that before the mass movement to the cities, industrialization, and the specialization of the production of poultry products; meat was a by product of egg production. Dual purpose meant hens that were salvageable, and extra cockerels had some value.

    The first chicken of tomorrow contest featured the NH winning. The second year it was a NH x Cornish. Cross breeds, outside of the small family farm, dominated the production of poultry meat. Even early on. The NH x Rock was a common cross.

    I do not think that it is helpful to evaluate a pullet by per week or month numbers. It seams more effective to judge her by her pullet year. That is from point of lay up until she molts in her second year. Then when she molts, and how long it takes her to molt is a big deal to me.

    If I had my ideal NH she would lay 200 larger than large eggs in her puller year, and the color would be a rich brown. The flock's eggs would be uniform and of good quality. She would come into lay around 20 wks, molt late in the season, and molt out in 8wks.

    He would be a meaty fryer by 14 wks. weighing 3.5-4lbs dressed and ready for the pot. He would be a broiler with good weight by 18-20wks.
     
  8. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, I definitely have my eye open for a good source of New Hampshires., and Delaware for that matter. The NH that I'm looking at is a German. What are your thoughts on these rather than the regular non hatchery American breed?
     
  9. ronott1

    ronott1 Daily Digest Guru Premium Member Project Manager

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    Delaware and New Hampshire Chickens would be good choices. Both are listed by Hendersens chicken chart as being winter layers.

    Light sensitivity has to do with latitude not temperate zone. The hours of day light is easy to look up. Dusk and dawn counts and most breeds need between 12 and 14 hours to lay regularly.

    I start the lights in Early November which gives my layers the month of October to rest, other than molting. I will turn the lights off soon since day light hours are getting close to what they need now.
     
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  10. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    The German strain is variable. Some better than other now. Most have been crossed at some point. Over all they are the best that we have. They are not a utility strain, but for an exhibition strain they are pretty good. I have enjoyed mine, and have been very pleased. The lay rate has been pretty good. They are reliable layers. I wish their egg size was larger, but they do lay a 2oz egg. If you push them, you can get a fryer at 16 wks. They are better as a bigger bird a little later.

    They are beautiful birds in person, and very easy to manage. They are a joy to look at, to own, and produce well enough for most. They are a great choice, and a great only choice.

    Again, they are not a utility strain. They are however worth the effort. They are not at the point of no return.

    The cockerel that is my avatar is 28-30 wks. He is about 9 lbs in the photo. I have emphasized depth of keel, width of back, and bigger thighs. The pullets came into lay between 24-28wks, and I tried to emphasize the pullets that came into lay earlier. My birds have run to large, and were trending larger. Mine have been larger than most. That is not necessarily a good thing.

    Luanne is doing well with her Delaware, and they are productive. She has come a long ways compared with what she started with. The other ladies are doing great with Kathy's line which are beautiful. They mature slower, but very nice birds. I would only get Delaware from one of these two lines.

    I would not get hatchery birds in either breed. I would not even consider it. I have tried most hatchery NHs before the importation of the German strain. I killed them all.
     

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