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

  1. Dueling Rooster

    Dueling Rooster Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2015
    Griffin, GA
    Maybe they can get lucky and have someone like me. I go to my friend's horse farm and load up on manure. I can burn it with wood ash or add directly to plants to boost plant growth.
  2. dfr1973

    dfr1973 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2011
    rural central FL
    George, please continue to speak frankly and plainly, especially with me. I have all the subtly and tact of a wrecking ball ... and tend to not pick up on subtle hints. Also, continue to chime in on this thread - sometimes it takes repetition to penetrate us young'uns' thick skulls. [​IMG] Either that or several sets of push-ups ... if my posts come across with an "authoritative tone" that is army training seeping through and not experience. [​IMG]

    As to the bolded part: It sounds like I need to mull over it for a few days before shooting my "mouth" off. Or maybe I need to wait until I've raised up some capons to see and feel (and eventually taste) the differences you speak of. Or perhaps I need to wait until I've grown out capons that I have bred myself. I do have one very nice big boy from Luanne that will not be eaten for a good four years - he'll be one of my breeding roosters and I named him already (Azar, like the regional restaurant chain up in NE Indiana). He isn't bright and flashy, being a black phase BLRW, but he is nice and solid underneath the fluffy feathers.
    The Wyandottes I bought from Luanne are about 7 weeks old now, and that boy has been noticeably bigger than the other three cockerels for two weeks now. [​IMG] Taller, wider, rounder, and overall looks more mature. Next year, I will find out if he sires chicks that grow like he is. [​IMG] If not, then I'll have several more years of eating the scrawny cockerels and slow capons, along with a rather large laying flock. The capons aren't my ultimate goal ... I want nice big healthy beautiful breeders. The fryers, capons, and layers are the by-products or also-rans or culls. I just want them to be worth the effort here.

    I hope this is coherent enough today. Some days I have more difficulty expressing my thoughts than other days. Keep questioning and challenging me - I don't want anyone to feel as though I steamrolled y'all here, because I am here to learn just as much as anyone else.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Our Roost

    Our Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2011
    ScottsVille, michigan
    This a big subject matter. Production if used in the context of numbers means more and not less! EGGS AND OR MEAT.
    Lets talk eggs and what I have learned in the last almost 5 years raising chickens.- A number factor of how well and how many eggs a person can expect from a particular breed is available in data form. Color of egg and size are also available. If you truly have a market to sell lots of eggs, exploring the better egg layers is important. Winter time can be a down time for egg production and some breeds continue laying well during the winter months. 2 breeds come to mind when you mention year round egg laying production. Those are the black sex link and the orpington breed. Depending on quality of stock these 2 can produce good quantities of eggs yearly both in summer and winter. I am sure I may be challenged on this statement but facts are facts.
    Now lets talk meat birds, weight and dual purpose utility birds.- Consistant repeatable size to table within a given time frame and growth rate with a minimal feed expense that is flavorful is what we all want and desire. This isnt eye candy, its a utility breed for meat purposes and not showing quality! All hens lay eggs so we can assume dual purpose means meat and eggs? Roosters dont lay eggs so I dont call them dual purpose! They can weigh more and are very edible but not dual purpose. Basically speaking, a breed described as dual prpose means it was developed for eggs along with consumption. Not all chickens taste good or carry enough weight to make a decent meal! Hence they are not categorized as dual purpose.
    Utility breeding.- Old time farmers did it best! They bred birds for their needs and for the climate they lived in. You can definitely take your hats off to them for some of the breeds we have to date! The Cornish x has been the worlds best supermarket chicken for ages. It is and has been a production breed for eons it seems. Explore more on utility breeding, outcrossing, and crossbreeding along with other techniques. A good dual purpose breed may suffice for your production goals or maybe even just your homestead. But you may find adventure to create your own!

    The last comment posted on here was about deep litter methods. I started with a dirt floor coop for the first couple of years. Damp wet mess was what I had to clean out each and every spring! I now have a cement floor with a drain. Maintenance drove me to my senses and eased my labor efforts. I still use straw as a base but it is so much easier and cleaner to remove. In the spring, I hose out the coop floor and any pesky mites and lice along with it down the drain. Yes I spray also as a preventative. The run area is another concern. It can also be a high maintenance area. I will take a bale of straw and let the chickens spread it around and scratch through it for a couple of weeks and then rake it up and compost it. Surprizingly it helps to be an absorbent and helps pick up the chicken poo! So do some thinking and try to keep it simple. Never take on more than you can manage or maintain!
  4. RedRidge

    RedRidge Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2013
    One of the things moat commonly forgotten when discussing protein for poultry is that they are NOT herbivores. They require animal protein. Even though we rotationally free range ours 9 months if the year, so provide a consistent source of animal protein we feed BSF year round. The BSF are fed fresh in the summer months and frozen for winter feeding. Yes, I do feed them by weight... because counting them would be insane. LOL. And yes, I do know how many are in a lb. Call me anal. ;-)
    1 person likes this.
  5. bramblefir

    bramblefir Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2014
    I've finally got caught up on the thread! We've had a long patch of nice weather and have been working on outdoor projects while we can. We're working on a lumber list for a new coop now. My husband wants the flock out of the barn and in a separate area.

    The Welsummer hen has recovered well from her small bumblefoot infection. The other hen, a Barred Rock, was recovering well. Unfortunately one morning I came into the coop to discover her on the ground, fluffed and lethargic. I don't know what kind of wild party went on in the coop that night, but she had a compound fracture of her wing and I put her down immediately.

    I've adjusted my orders for this year (decreasing the number of chicks and breeds) and have ordered a pair of geese. This will likely be my last time to order chicks for a long, long time. I think between what I'm getting and what I have I'll have all genetics I want to play with. Although I sometimes find myself thinking about trying to make a LF Silkie by crossing the bantams to the large Asiatic breeds... How hard is it to get a bantam bred up to a large size?

    My Black Langshan hen went broody and is sitting on 16 eggs due to hatch on the 26th. I've also set eggs in the incubator for a March 7th hatch date. Interestingly, all of the eggs from my RC Brown Leghorn have turned out to be infertile. She spends a good bit of time ranging away from the rest of the flock, so I suspect she's avoiding all 3 cocks. Fertility is excellent for all of the other hens though.
  6. Beer can

    Beer can Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2014
    Upstate NY
    I've actually heard ground cayenne pepper, don't know if it works. Light in the coop will keep them laying all winter. The ones I have now have been laying good enough without light, just been busting ice every day. I put a light over my RIRs water dish to keep it thawed out yrs ago, and every one of them laid right straight through winter. The light was far enough away from their roost that I don't think it bothered their sleeping, had it on 24hrs a day. Some people put theirs on a timer.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2015
  7. Beer can

    Beer can Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2014
    Upstate NY
    @Our Roost "Never take on more than you can manage or maintain!"
    I believe that's the key to the dry litter method, my coop is large for the amount of birds I have, plus they are free ranged most the year. My coop stays dry. I have 25 plus chickens ordered and plan on trippling the size of the coop. With our subzero winters the coop must stay dry.
  8. Shellz

    Shellz Chillin' With My Peeps

    My favorite quote from Our Roost. ;) I cull as heavily as I can & retain only the number of birds (best birds) necessary to winter-over. I have an 8'X12' open air coop that's plenty roomy for my 15 large fowl. Beer Can, you must have similar temps there in N.Y. to ours up here. I thought last week would be the end of the 'cold snap', but no such luck.

    All my hens/pullets took some time off during the winter - some more than others. 2 weeks off minimum & once the days got longer, production got better. I don't heat or use a light in the coop - I like to keep things simple. I can usually bank up eggs for those times when the hens do go on strike.

    Just coming into my 6th year raising various poultry - 2 years raising Malines. Always learning & enjoying the journey. :)
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  9. neopolitancrazy

    neopolitancrazy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2011
    Bastrop, TX this just the "indoor" space, with a larger run/free range? 'cuz I have 4 large fowl in a 8.5'x8.5' three-sided shed with an 8.5'x20' run and I think they look crowded. I keep ~ 4-6" of dry bedding in the shed, scoop under the roost about once a week, and still every few months I need to rotate the birds out, clean their barn and rake and replant the run. The barn stays dry, but it all gets smelly. I also have a pair in a 10'x10' pen on grass that I move about once a week at this time of year.

    I happen to agree with Beekissed that stocking rates are crucial to your flock's health. You can pour the wormers down your flock's throat, but that leads to poop full of chemicals that kill the beneficial life forms. Then the pathogens have no natural competition, and can overwhelm the system at first opportunity. Soil health is directly related to carrying capacity, and I believe that the appropriate stocking rate is essential to your flock's health.

    Just my opinion.
    Best wishes,
    1 person likes this.
  10. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 22, 2011
    Midlands, South Carolina
    Growth curve is a term used to express the rate of growth and rate of decline. If you calculate the percentage gain weekly, on a chart, you will see it rapidly rise, then drop off. The peak of the growth curve is the point before rate of percentage gain begins to plummet. Different strains will look different on the chart. Some are rather flat, some are pretty sharp, some plateau, etc.
    I use this expression because it describes adequately lbs. of feed per lb. of flesh. If they get to 75% of their weight at 14, 16, wks. etc. then we use twice as much feed to get a carcass that weights 10-15% more at 28wks etc.

    The flatter the growth curve, the less suitable they are for this purpose.

    The goal is to get an adequate carcass as close to that peak as possible. It is easier said than done, but once an acceptable target is established, then the birds can be properly evaluated and the progress tracked. That target might be two or three weeks past the peak, but then we can make progress. We cannot make progress just waiting until they get big enough. We are at the mercy of the flock, and the flock is applying the pressure rather than the breeder. That is upside down, and backwards. That is how some breeds and strains ended up where they are at. An absence of pressure on the traits that made them productive. It is use it or lose it. It takes years to recover what has been lost over years. It is possible that it is not even recoverable at a certain point.

    All this requires is a pair of hands, interest, a scale, observation, and a calendar. Different years will have slightly different results. Weather, seasons, etc. play a role.

    Anyone serious about breeding for production has to become familiar with how they grow out. It is not just when, but how. That is if they are interested in the production of fowl meat. You have to have targets, and you have to evaluate them. Otherwise we are just playing pretend. Anyone can raise up chicks, and dress them when they get big. How do we know unless we know?

    All of the above expressions and numbers are just illustrations.
    6 people like this.

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