BREEDING FOR PRODUCTION...EGGS AND OR MEAT.

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

  1. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    Feed quality, quantity, and type certainly played a roll. Poultry on the family farm was emphasized more and more later. The availability of grain benefited the birds. In particular corn, where before they were often left to scratch for scraps that the more "important" livestock left behind. Scientific advancement's in livestock nutrition was evolving fast. Our birds eat better now than they ever have in history. The birds in the 1880s could only wish that their owners could debate the best feeds, and feed methods online as we do.
     
  2. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    These are good points.

    All of these breeds have a niche where they would fit in the best. The Hamburgs are small eaters so could acquired a larger percentage of their diet on what they are allowed to range.

    To your point that flocks morph to fit the farm. Genetically speaking this is true, but is slow and gradual. Behaviorally speaking this is true, is more immediate, but has genetic limitations. More than any other, the morph to conform to the selection ideals of the farm owner. We should always emphasize intelligent selection.
     
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  3. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    These points are true. The use of lights and environmental control changes a lot of things.
     
  4. neopolitancrazy

    neopolitancrazy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In my recent reading on Wyandottes, first published ~1911, Wyandottes were touted as excellent layers at 140-160 eggs per year.
    Angela

    Eta: this book also recommends feeding chicks hard-boiled eggs and bread crumbs, and indicates reliance on broody hens for reproduction.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
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  5. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    Generally speaking, the lay rate on many of the strains we raise is not a deal breaker. However, when we evaluate them by their pullet year, we see a more telling story. With some thought, we can examine where and what we need to emphasize most.

    For illustration, if we hatched all of our birds April 1st, and then evaluated up until the time they molted. Not only will the birds with an 8 month POL, lay for two less months than the 6 month layer, she will also not be fully into lay before the days get to short. This one single factor can effect the years result in a major way. Extreme cases might see hens that do not truly come into lay until late winter or spring. Point of lay is more relevant than we often realize. It is no coincidence that many of the strains that come into lay earlier are often better winter layers.

    With the us of lights, we can manipulate this. Still two things do not change. The fact that we feed these birds for two months longer without the return. The other is that we perpetuate, and eve accentuate this characteristic within this flock. Instead we should select away from this, less the breeds that were never intended to be a productive bird to begin with.

    On the other end, within some flocks, there can be a months difference between the earliest and latest bird to molt. This can mean a month's worth of eggs. Also the length of time required to molt and come back to lay is another selection point. The birds that take longest to come back to lay are often (not always) the poorest layers.

    Removing the poorest layers is easy to do, the impact is obvious, but actually realizing the results is easy to neglect.

    These few points are the easiest to select for, are the most neglected, and the most problematic within most flocks today. With lights, and a lack of importance placed on what they actually produce, we have forgotten this necessity. A novice can make these selections with ease.

    I would go as far to say that if this is not part of the selection process, then we are not breeding for productive birds at all. This is easy to incorporate for those of us that breed to a defined Standard.

    There is also a tendency to neglect egg size, and quality though it is very easy to do.

    The ability to lay under lower light conditions is genetic.

    If we did nothing else, we did nothing wrong.
     
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  6. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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  7. southernmomma

    southernmomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed this thread!

    I finally have some new birds and have more questions than ever. It's been interesting to realize that simply learning how to manage poultry is more than I expected....needless to say, my high-falutin' ideas have made a quick exit and I've done an about face on more than one thing, lol. The realities of farming, food production and rural life have been eye-opening.


    I have 25 pullets (all same breed) that are being raised together in identical fashion. One in particular has feathered out notably faster than her mates~ will this correlate in any way with her molting behavior? I've noted it and so will be able to answer my own question eventually but I was curious :)

    Cheers!
    M
     
  8. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    Interesting q southern moma

    I have one buckeye pullet that is determined to be broody. As she is only one of 7 girls, that takes a lot out of production. Never had a girl go broody this early in the season; the girl I can usually count on is a BA that stays put for 6 months straight. I have been thinking about using only broodies this year . . . . . brings me to needing an area for the broodies and the chicks. DOes anyone have documentation on this old method of brooding???
     
  9. bnjrob

    bnjrob Overrun With Chickens

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    Wish we could make this stick somewhere forever so people could have a point of reference when they are reading the old literature.
     
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  10. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    It could be linked to other traits. Some genetic links are not linked by necessity, but are linked by way of general inheritance. In other words links can be made or broken. The commercial advancements are by large an overcoming of limitations.

    It is at least an advantage concerning how much energy is utilized to maintain core body temperature. It could be an indicator of overall vigor. It may be that this bird will molt out faster, but it would be speculating. Marking a bird like this is helpful. You have already identified a characteristic that you like about her. There is always some variability within a flock (unless they are clones), and that variability is our tool for selection and improvement. It is also our burden when we do not make good selections.

    Our best birds are always the ones that never give us a reason to cull them (when compared with their hatch mates). Often they catch our attention early on, and stay in our favor throughout. Not always.
     

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