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

  1. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 22, 2011
    Midlands, South Carolina
    Ask Luanne for advice for selecting through the first generation. She knows her birds. The faults and weaknesses, and she is honest about what she is dealing with. There is a lot to consider in a variety like that. It is a beautiful variety, but will not stay beautiful on it's own. I am assuming that you want to breed to improve the breed. That is no small task, but that is where the fun is.
    It takes a couple generations just to get familiar with what you have, no matter who you are. It is just not what you are looking at, it is also what kind of offspring they are producing. Sometimes you do not get that male you need in the first batch, and you need to get another batch. Sometimes the breeder has a male they will not use that can help you what you need help with.

    A color like that is a color that you will never quit learning no matter how long you live.

    Chickens are a collection of traits and characteristics. You will become familiar with the minute details. They are the sum of their parts, and whether or not they are worth messing with five years from now is up to you. It could be best to be patient and evaluate them as whole. It could be that a complementary mating is in order.

    This variety is not in the Standard, but the other laced varieties are. It would be worth getting to know their standard. For both color and type. Are they in the ABA standard? The British have done well with this color pattern. In other words, there are resources out there available to learn it. Angela would know. She has started with this variety, I think. Luanne would know. I can see good Wyandotte type, but I know very little about breeding that color.
    1 person likes this.
  2. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 22, 2011
    Midlands, South Carolina
    The comments on stocking density, managing the ground were good. In particular managing the ground.

    I would add that you can have too little and too many birds on bedding. Too many overwhelms it, and makes it wet. Too few makes it dry and dusty over time. Too many birds is usually the problem. I am referring to wood shavings. The point is that the bedding has to be managed effectively. When you have it right, it mostly manages itself. I use deep bedding in my houses. Straw in my breeding pens, sand in my runs, and I have mobile pens for birds that I keep on grass.

    Size of house and runs also depends on whether or not they get to range. They need extra room if they are not allowed to range. You can get away with a little less if they are.

    Managing the ground they live on is the most neglected. Some after having birds five years or so start fighting health issues. Sometimes the root of the problem is the ground that they are on, and they are wondering why. I discussed this with someone recently, and the answer was that they could do nothing with the ground. All of my suggestions went over their head, so I thought to myself, quit whining then. Or get rid of the birds.

    No matter how resistant a bird might be, they will al be overwhelmed and succumb at some point. None of them have super powers.

    For people with poultry yards, hydrated lime and a tiller is pretty handy. Rotation is best. The top couple inches of sand in runs can be replaced etc. We do not have to replace our birds every two years, but we need to have our mind on the ground. Redridge perpetually rotates their birds. Bee does not overstock and has a lot of area for them to distribute. I do worm. Before point of lay, and at the molt. That is also when they are rotated to "fresh" ground. I do not have an endless supply of fresh ground, so I want the birds "clean" when I put them there.

    Different soil types have different limitations. Even the grade has an effect. Sloping ground etc. Even the best of soil types get overwhelmed at some point.

    A good dense cover of vegetation is helpful. Bare compacted soils are the worst.

    All of this boils down to smart management with an eye to the future. Everyone has different settings, different resources, and different styles. We all figure out what works best for us.
    2 people like this.
  3. neopolitancrazy

    neopolitancrazy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2011
    Bastrop, TX
    Thank you for the tip on lime. I was planning to till that pen the next time it was empty. I have sandy soil, and the used bedding is very welcome mulch, but I would like the run to maintain its forage as long as possible. I will plant a mix of forbs and see what works best.
    Best wishes,
  4. Shellz

    Shellz Chillin' With My Peeps

    I also have a large, secure yard around the coop that is 40' X 50'. I use straw in the coop 6-8" deep & put some on top of the snow in the yard, to encourage the birds to come out in the sun. Once I remove the droppings they made the night before & aerate the rest of the coop bedding, it doesn't smell anymore. I've found since modifying to open-air, the bedding is drier & don't need to use lime as often. There's a roof vent as well.

    I'm considering dividing the yard into 2 long runs. I will keep only a breeding quad after spring & they won't be free ranged anymore - well, maybe some supervised free range times. [​IMG] A fox has learned to get by my dogs last summer. [​IMG] Hubby will be helping me expand the grow-out area this spring for this season's chicks. Lots of trial & error, but I'm hoping this is the year that everything gets set up properly.
  5. Shellz

    Shellz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Great idea! Planting a mix of forbs is something I'd like to do with half of the yard.
  6. Our Roost

    Our Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2011
    ScottsVille, michigan
    neopolitancrazy, I have an 8x8 fully enclosed shed with 8 birds currently occupying that space. It has a wood floor and I added cross ventilation vents in the direction of the most prominent jet stream pattern for our area. I have about 4 to 6 inches of straw bedding, 6 nesting boxes, and an 8' long roosting perch. They are anything but cramped. Infact, they are comfy during the cold months. There is a rule of thumb for square footage amount needed per bird to use for both your coop space and run area. More square footage area is not always better in a coop space when you are housing less birds. Believe it or not, birds can actually provide a percentage of warmth to the space they live in. If you use that formula, you can figure out just how many birds your coop can house.
    Needless to say, cleaning, ventilation and maintenance is crucial to keeping odors and amonia to a minimum between cleanups. More birds mean more poop! The run area and soil is has an entirely different approach. Not much leafage grows in the run as the chickens have foraged anything thats scratchable and or edible! A hard packed clay based soil can repel moisture and absorption and a sandy or loose soil can absorb more. Sun can dry out moisture and shade can inhibit mold and mildew growth. Unlike a garden you wont be hoeing or weeding, but you will be loose raking and filling land mine holes regularly! Think of it as a horse corral that stinks to high heaven when it rains! Yep, rain can be your best friend or your worst enemy for that pungent unwanted odor until it dries out. I think it is truly important to take as much out of the soil as you put into it for longevity and less worry about bacterias. In the summer months I place a bale or two of straw into the run area not only for absorbtion but the birds do most of the work by spreading and scratching the soil beneath for the straw to absorb all it can. Naturally you have to rake it out before it gets mushed into the soil and makes a bigger mess than what you already had. Depends on how muddy your run is.
    Just adding some info that may be helpful or not. Everyones climate and setup is different.
  7. dfr1973

    dfr1973 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 20, 2011
    rural central FL
    Hopefully, I have enough coffee in my system for this. I am not breeding the BLRs - that is Angela and she sounds like she truly loves that variety, which I believe to be a requirement for working a long-term project. I am working with the gold-laced variety. When I initially contacted Luanne about getting her culls, she was thrilled not only that someone nearby is starting a GLW project, but because what she culls for will help me out. She still has gold genes lurking in her line, which shows up as brassiness/too orange that she culls for. She also does not need so many black phase. What her line definitely has in wonderful abundance is the good Wyandotte type. When I picked the chicks up last month, she had told me what to look for as they grow: in particular I should watch for a cockerel who grows bigger faster. That is a trait she works for with hers, and she said it would be beneficial to incorporate in my project. So, needless to say, I am thrilled to see exactly what she described I should watch for. [​IMG]

    While showing me all her birds, she pointed out not only the color issues she is working to correct/improve in her BLRWs, but she also pointed out the comb problems she has been working on since the beginning. The big thing about Luanne (IME) is that she is a hundred times better at communicating in person as opposed to email, especially when there is a live example right in front of us. I am planning to get another batch of chicks from her.
  8. Beer can

    Beer can Chicken Obsessed

    Aug 12, 2014
    Upstate NY
    Don't use DE (Diatomaceous earth) in deep litter, I hear it kills the good microbes. I haven't ever put lime in mine, but I do put some wood ashes in with the sawdust.
  9. Shellz

    Shellz Chillin' With My Peeps

    I quit the DE too. Wood ashes & sawdust are great, but I don't have a source anymore. During a couple of warm snaps, I've put a large cat litter pan in a sunny part of the coop & filled it with some bagged dirt & a sprinkling of Sevin dust mixed in. They enjoyed it thoroughly, but by late afternoon, it was all frozen solid.

    Straw bedding on coop floor though. I like to give them access to a dirt bath whenever possible, but it's hard up here in chilly Canada until spring comes.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  10. DesertChic

    DesertChic Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 13, 2014
    Southern Arizona
    Actually, the deep litter does get much, much warmer as it begins to decompose. We have a hand-held temperature "gun" that we've used to test the theory by checking the temp at the surface and then at the lower levels of the litter. I've got about 10 inches of deep pine shavings and aspen leaves in one of my coops. The lower level temperature just above the soil was almost 90 degrees and got much cooler as you progressed upwards to the surface. I guess this is why my Silkies like to burrow so deep into the littler when they return to the coop at night.

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