BREEDING FOR PRODUCTION...EGGS AND OR MEAT.

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

  1. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

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    I believe this to be spot on as my experience has been the same.

    Yet almost universally, the suggested nest box construction shows rather open nest boxes with practically the bare minimum lips on the front.. can you tell me why this is so?

    I have noticed the hens seem to really like nests with high lips they have to high step over and affords them a chance to 'hunch down out of sight' once they are settled down on the nest. I use covered cat litter boxes for this reason and for ease for moving broody hens to isolation pens. High lips, high privacy. Never have floor layers in pens with those things.
     
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  2. DesertChic

    DesertChic Overrun With Chickens

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    Thank you so much for this post! This answered a number of questions that have been brewing in my mind...and saved me from having to actually ask them. [​IMG]
     
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  3. DesertChic

    DesertChic Overrun With Chickens

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    I just put 2 dozen Bielefelder eggs in my incubator. Now....I wait....and wait....and wait.....
    Patience may be a virtue, but it's never really been one of mine. [​IMG]
     
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  4. southernmomma

    southernmomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Alrighty. Infrastructure questions.

    I'm interested in clan/family mating and am working out the details of my pens. Those of you that have separate families or multiple breeds, and allow free-ranging~ do you simply rotate days (Monday is family 1 ranging, Tuesday is family 2, etc) or do you combine hens in the off season to range daily and then pen families come breeding season (and if so how are the cocks managed???) or do you have each family separated by so much space (or perhaps a handy hot fence) that they can all get out daily and never cross paths?

    I'm sure this is answered somewhere but I can't find it, honest I've looked.

    And for that matter...if production is the end goal how long can flock mating take you (and when do you know it's gone on too long?), and do you simply pop all the cockerels in a grow out pen and choose your best from them?

    M
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
  5. ocap

    ocap Overrun With Chickens

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    great questions
     
  6. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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  7. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    What you are asking is difficult question to answer. There is as many methods as there are poultry breeders.

    I think flock mating is a good place to start if someone was going to keep any number of birds for a general purpose farm flock. I believe that it is a simpler and safer place to start. In this way, you are trying to move a population of birds forward. For a general purpose farm flock, there is less reason to separate them into many small groups. 3 males running with 24 females could be continued within a population for quite some time. Likely, at some point someone will want to introduce improvements anyways. There is also the freedom to do any number of matings on the side. If a superior individual is identified along the way, it might be advisable to build a family off of that individual. This could be a good way to grow and evolve in time.

    Flock mating would only require a pen for growing out the cockerels, pullets, and the breeder flock. Then possibly a couple extra small pens that could be put together along the way.

    One of the best Minorca breeders out there simply runs a large group of females, and rotates individual males with this single flock of females. No multiple families, clans, etc. This is on some level flock mating, and he has some of the best Minorcas in the States. For some his method might be unorthodox, but no one will dispute his results.

    Some of the best breeders that I know run two families. I am doing so many different things, I am reluctant to try to describe it.

    Others like to run as many as four families. Often these four families are small and tightly bred.

    It all boils down to selection, no matter the plan.

    I think it is helpful to simplify it at the start. It isn't as if we do not evolve along the way anyways.
     
  8. RedRidge

    RedRidge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As far as where hens lay... I agree it is environmental.
    The only time I have ground layers is the 90 days over the winter when they are confined. Even though the nesting boxes in the permanent coops are plenty low, some of them simply like the dirt. Yet when they are rotated the other 9 months of the year, the same hems will always lay in the boxes... portable tractors with boxes 3' up. I suspect it is their way of telling me they don't like being cooped up for the winter.
    I don't flock breed, I use breeding pens in dec, jan and feb, and those in the breeding pens use the boxes, it's just the remaining flock of reds in the large coop who periodically choose the ground.
    Because all cockerels are separated from pullets late spring and put in a separate grow out area until fall butcher, I don't have to worry about breeding when I don't want them to. Keeping the growing cockerels away from the pullets and hens means no posturing or fighting. They are rotated on a different part of the property with netting.
    One of the neat things about the Reds is that swapping up groups is easy, they simply never pick on each other or fight. If I want to add 3 hens to a larger group of 20, I simply pick them up and put them there on the middle of the day. None of them care out even acknowledge change. When the pullets are added late spring to the hens, it's no big deal. And when all those girls in breeding pens are put back with the large group the first of March, it's like old home week. Any other breeds I've had, I have to integrate additions to a group at night while everyone is roosting. And even then there will be a re-establishing of the pecking order for a few days after.
     
  9. southernmomma

    southernmomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @gjensen , it is a difficult question and it frustrates me just asking it.....but when my husband offers to build pens for a week, well, I need to strike while the iron is hot! I have quite bit of space already but am leaning towards having something like the hoop house coops that are currently so popular (another thing I've changed my mind about) and using the permanent structures for seasonal needs.

    Both you and @RedRidge have illustrated that 1- sky is the limit when it comes to breeding strategies, and 2- know your birds as they will help you decide a strategy.

    M
     
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  10. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    Mine prefer those with taller lips to. I suspect they feel more secure. I do not know why the manufactured versions have such narrow lips.

    I use some Rubbermaid's similar to your litter boxes. I cut a hole in the front. I use them in my breeder/cock pens. I can remove them when not in use. The females begin using them instantly.

    The rubbermaids that I mentioned are good for broody hens to. If not too good sometimes.LOL. I have moved them as you describe to.

    The only thing I do not like is the cleaning of the tops.
     

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