Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by hellbender, Dec 27, 2013.
Good morning Mr. Jenson! I had to ask myself why you were posing so many questions to me in regards to my projects? They are all good questions any person exploring the benefeits of utility breeding needs to ask ones self before venturing into wasting valuable time and monies. Trust that I have explored all that you have asked and surely wont have direct answers but only possibilities of what you and myself asked before I decided to do this.
Utility breeding is unique to homesteading practices of the farmer. The farmer sets his own goals, needs and wants from his livestock and works to attain that. When I first started raising chickens, I wanted birds for both meat and eggs. I aquired 5 dual purpose breeds with 5 birds of each breed to get myself acquainted. Took me a very short time to realize that all hens lay eggs but the dual purpose factor in the meat department fell short of expectations. 2 of the 5 breeds I acquired were better egg layers than the rest and their eggs were consistent in size regularly. It was good to note this quality of this breed. Lets call that the first piece of the puzzle in achieving my own wants and needs for a utility breed. Do you see where I am going with this? I am tinkering with genetics, bird traits, habits and all that you have asked. You can read as much as you can on a breed and purchase good stock but until you have owned and experienced it yourself, it could lack every quality you were looking for. Keeping a log or record noting points of interest is more of a question you are asking me if I have done all that and do I know what and why I am doing it. Much like you Mr. Jenson, I have mentors and I ask as many questions as possible. I am sure that old time farmers must have asked these same questions on how to feed their families and eek out a living. I could very well buy bird breeds already suiting my needs but I want something I feel will fit as my own makings.
Quote: I was thinking the same thing....I'm not going to be recording finishing weights and all, nor do I have a way to accurately record egg numbers for each bird as I don't have trap nests, so it's more of a "feel" of the abundance of the eggs by keeping a total count according to the number of mature layers in the coop. Sometimes I can note which have stopped and which have started and I hope I can remember to write it down but I probably won't because I forget.
I also don't record feed amounts per bird but go on total feed bought for X amount of time compared to feed consumption of flocks in the past of similar numbers or even feed consumption compared to this time last year if I have the same numbers eating. Sometimes it's just watching the birds at feeding time and noting who is the first there and last to leave and who takes a few bites and gets back out on forage while other birds are still chowing at the feeder. Those feed thrifty birds are duly noted but I guess I need to record those somewhere other than in my mind now that I'm doing more intensive breeding.
But, I know I'll never be that particular in my record keeping...I just don't have that kind of a mind. I'm more instinctual than analytical and that's how I'll be breeding chickens as well. It's served me pretty well all these years for keeping the most productive and feed thrifty birds in the coop and culling those that were not~made me good money on egg sales and profit over and above the feed and operating bill, so I'll run with it. I will try to keep some measurements according to Hogan, as that's something that is finite and can be measured accurately and recorded here, even with my loosey goosey methodology.
Gotcha. Last year we started building small a-frames that can accommodate 1-2 roosters or a few hens - sort of whatever we might need them for. It helps a lot with having our extra breeding males, as well as when we have a bird that needs to be isolated for an injury or if they are being a bad bully and beating up everybody in their pen. They work well for both temporary and permanent housing for us.
Otherwise we have large a-frame tractors that we separate the males and females when they are approx. 2 months old. Separating by sexes to grow out was one of the best changes we made in our flock. The growth was much better on them all. There is still fights in the cockerel pens but not nearly as bad as when they were living with females. And the female pens have nest boxes whereas we dont' have to put nest boxes into the male pens, so that saves on building cost and time.
We recently turned our non-breeding stock into a free range flock with a long term goal of everyone free ranging. But I've already seen how you have to keep things protected or those chickens will get themselves into a mess just doing what chickens normally do.
Free ranging the whole flock solves many issues for me and has done so over the years. The opportunity for the birds to have space enough to get away from one another is great, the need to flock for safety purposes seems to increase good social behaviors, youngsters can split off into their own subset and have their own flock life separate from the adults and this works so very well. They blend with the adult flock as they approach sexual maturity and it all seems to go so peacefully. Since I don't keep more than two breeding males on hand at any given time, this eliminates the need for bachelor pads unless it's just the two males and just prior to breeding.
Of course, the very best benefit is having a single feeding and watering system and a single manure management issue, which keeps flock tending more simple, less time consuming and more ergonomic.
I like free ranging my birds, don't like the poop all over. They pretty much leave our garden alone.
I did want to kill them all the day they ate every single small pepper off my big ornamental medusa pepper plant I had in a big pot by our back door. I was going to save the seeds to plant more next year, they ate every sigle one! I prayed they pooped fire!!
If it was safe enough, I would let every one of our birds free range. But right now we just don't have enough good breeding stock to let that happen. And there just aren't enough folks with our breed to be able to get replacements if our breeders were taken by a predator. But that is our eventual goal - to get to where we have enough uniformly good looking, good producing birds, so that they all can range and we would not suffer a serious setback in our breeding if some were lost.
Our birds do well in confinement - but they also get at least 10 sq ft/bird if not more, they are allowed to range with supervision periodically, and they all live in mobile housing so they can be moved to fresh ground. It makes a LOT more work for me than if they were just stuck in permanent pens. I would love to be able to have all of them free range, all of the time. It would save a lot of extra work. But this has been the best situation we could come up with to keep them healthy and happy, yet still safe from the predators we have. They do well with the system we have set up, but if given a choice, they would rather free range all day. The non-breeding flock we let free range rarely go back to their house except to lay in the nest boxes. Once they are out in the morning, they like to stay out till dark. And they are doing a great job of tilling up the unused garden beds in preparation for planting this season once the rain stops.
I would just like to say that I think that they have agreed to disagree, so there isn't really any use in discussing it farther.
Bringing out yet another common Army saying: "Trust, but verify!"
George challenged me with pretty much the same questions. It made me think, and to quantify and qualify my goals in a concrete manner.
Well Beekissed, I feel anything but challenged when someone Questions me or what I have going on with chickens. I have OCD ( obsessive chicken disorder ) also! But in Mr. jensons case, if he would have recognized the 2 breeds I mentioned for the cross, based on his own intellect and chicken experience, he could see the value and gain to be had. Or he could have stated there wasnt really that much to gain using those 2 breeds. He didnt have to run me through the mill with all the why questions, but he did. Most mentors either encourage you or discouage your efforts when you ask for their expertise. But they all pose the same questions of what it is your looking for. No offense taken as They can be a big help to newbies. The problem is I am not a newby and this isnt my first rodeo! Ha ha. There is lots to be gained from Utility breeding. Breeding for a utility purpose is more important than breeding for SOP standards. Take for example the climate in Michigan verses the climate in Texas. I surely want to breed something that will hold up to my climate verses theirs! So I want a pea combed, cold hardy, good egg layer with lots of meat that tastes good and develops fast. Soooo, I have my all my ducks in a row on what my goals are and what my perspective is to achieve them. I will keep you and others posted on the outcome as it progresses and what the results are.