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Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by hellbender, Dec 27, 2013.
you guys are to funny
I don't know about @kev, but I am serious. Hubby has already green-lighted the idea, and asked where we plan to plant pumpkins.
Black meat chicken is a coveted medicinal food in traditional Chinese medicine. I'm not at all surprised by his behavior.
That was why I asked him ... I may not have all the details, but I did recall hearing it was considered lucky/healthful. He also tells me it is delicious, and a bit of a delicacy.
That's my birds! Great pic of the breed, especially of the hens. I love how calm this breed is...they just don't get excited about much, as if all that running around is beneath them.
I was never one to get to worked up over personality. I only cared about what they did. That is still the most important part to me, but I have changed a bit in my old age.
My NHs have always been extraordinarily easy to work with. Active enough, but what many would call calm. They have been a joy to manage. Easy to manage is relevant, but I can't stand roost potatoes. LOL I have had a few of those along the way.
My Catalanas have set the bar high for me. I really like the darned things. I did not realize how smitten I would become by them. I picked them up to be a side project, and now they are the focus. I was thrilled with how productive of layers they were, but what has sold me as much was their "personalities". I never thought I would say that.
They are active and assertive. I pictured a more active bird, given the class. I did not picture them being as bold as they are. They are not particularly flighty, because they are not nervous. There has been a few exceptions, but they did not last long. I have not kept any that were especially prone to panic.
They are sharp. I swear they are smarter than the average bird. They pick up on things faster than any other bird that I have had. It is hard to describe, but they have a way about them that I like. They are all business. The game breeds are like that, and you would think they had some in their background.
This does present a few challenges along the way. They do not take to newcomers well. I have to be more thoughtful about how I integrate them after I break them up. A cockerel has to be fully and mentally mature before I introduce one to a couple hens. Otherwise, the hens will fight him (and win). Once he is mentally mature enough, he will assert himself.
Their little social hierarchy is a little more complex. Once it is established, it takes a little more effort on my part, or patience to make a change. You cannot isolate a male once he has been with a group of females. He would lose weight. I do ok, because I try to let them be chickens, and keep a female with him. Or at the least make sure he can see them, or even where the females can approach the cage. This keeps them "mentally fit". They need stimulus. They are also only broke up, during my short breeding season which is about 4-6wks.
For a free range general purpose egg flock, they would be hard to beat. They would not be suited for close confinement. They would survive, and manage, but they need room to be what they are. They cannot be appreciated cooped up in a coop all of the time. Silkies and Cochins would be a better choice. I think that is the case for their entire class. It would be a shame to know they were cooped in a small coop all of the time, and I would not part with any that would be. I ask people that are getting cull layers from me if they will have plenty of room, and be let out regularly. If they have that, they will tolerate most challenges. They are far from being high maintenance. They just need room to be what they are. Going by commercial recommendations for space would not be enough.
I found the Dorkings were also more intelligent, had a much larger "vocabulary" and required more space than "modern" chickens. It remains to be seen what I think of these Wyandottes, but they are certainly ornamental. And laying 5-6 large eggs/week/pullet now. Should have their first chicks hatch this weekend.
I am weighing the Australorp eggs before going in the incubator. I decided on the bottom 60% of egg weight for the "cull eggs" to be sold or eaten. I should have more than enough hatch considering my available space. Weather in the ten day forecast is above freezing after tomorrow.
They are all chickens, but some are more "chicken" than others. Some of it is there genetic background, and maybe also how they were managed through the generations.
I have a friend that has Blue Wheaton Ams. They are like this. The males help with brooding chicks etc. They are not all the same.
If your Wyandottes are laying large eggs as pullets, and laying well in the early spring/late winter, that is a good start. Keep track of the next generations eggs over their first year. You might be surprised at how well they lay. If I could devote the attention that each breed requires I would add a few. The Wyandotte would be one of them. Probably white, because I would be the most interested in a quality utility line. Your variety is awfully nice though. I have considered bantams. Have you seen any bantams that were any good?
That is how you do it. Weigh the eggs, and grade them. If the eggs are not to dark to candle them, candle them. Set a standard based on what you see. Hopefully in a few years, you will be able to raise the bar. There is no reason to have unrealistic expectations. You decide what is good enough. What is your egg weight average now?
Be careful about being too strict. There are other traits to consider, and you would not want to eliminate a hen that could help you move forward unless she is on the extreme end. It is and will remain a balancing act until a quality characteristic is mostly fixed in the flock.
That is part of the challenge. There is always a collection of things to consider. We cannot practically select for every thing every year. We almost have to have certain things that certainly eliminate a bird from consideration. Obvious things are structural problems, runts, and color problems that would prove to be especially problematic. Then whatever faults that seam to be a need for emphasis. Finally, we probably should only emphasize improving only a couple traits or characteristics per year. Sticking with these two, until we feel that we are ready to replace one as an emphasis or them both. This hobby, and true breeding requires patience. That has been one of my most difficult lessons to learn. It is little by little, and bit by bit. Two steps forward, and a step back. Then problems that pop up that we do not expect. A commitment to breeding a breed could last a life time, and they will never be perfect. The hope is that some leave the next generation with them improved, and then they carry them farther still. We should want some things improved, but we do not want to lose the strengths that they have doing it. Kind of a "first do no harm" kind of thing.
The things that need the most improvement, or their biggest faults, is probably where we should start. No one knows your birds, but you, so you have to decide what they are. Be especially concerned about things that can give you the most trouble down the road.