Breeding for size

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by TimCline, Apr 9, 2016.

  1. TimCline

    TimCline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have heard of (although never seen) 15-20 pound chickens. Jersey Giants, buff Orpingtons and such. How do these people breed their chickens to these size? And say Someone wanted to improve upon hatchery stock. Would you just get some and select the biggest chicks from each generation to breed? How long before you would have to add new blood? Wouldn't this new blood set you back? (This is assuming you don't have access to good stock.) Or would you need to have separate gene pools to mix when new blood is needed? Keep in mind I'm asking only about getting bigger "pure bred" chickens. Not concerned with Standards.
     
  2. TimCline

    TimCline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also I'm not expecting to turn hatchery stock into monsters, just thinking you could probably add a few pounds to their average over a couple years.
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The exhibition birds in many large fowl breeds are HUGE. Go to a show near you and you'll be amazed. We're talking enormous examples of White Rocks, Jersey Giants, Australorps, Orpingtons, etc.

    It would take you a life time to breed most hatchery stock up to the size of these birds. Why bother? If you want some large birds, just walk through the sales aisles at the Louisville, the Blue Grass show or down in Knoxville. There you'll find stock that the breeders/exhibition folks are selling off.

    PoultryShowCentral has all the dates, times and locations of the exhibitions slated.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. TimCline

    TimCline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I realize that I won't be able to get them to the huge size in a short amount of time. I don't really want to buy them already huge. I want a project for myself. How would I begin?
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    These statements are in contradiction perhaps. A chicken breed is man-made and is said to be "pure" not because of pedigree but because of what it looks like, and yes, what it looks like as measured against the detailed description in the Standard established for the breed. A Standard bred bird is a purebred bird for this reason.

    But if you meant you didn't care if the size exceeded the weight called for in the Standard for the breed, that's fine. But you'll likely never, ever get "there" with hatchery stock. 90% of the exhbition birds are already a pound or two over Standard weight and some may well be 3 pounds over Standard.

    You just have to see the difference in hatchery stock next to Standard bred fowl. It's an eye opener like few other things you'll ever experience.
     
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  6. TimCline

    TimCline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What I meant was that say the goal is to improve upon the size of hatchery buff orps. Only breeding buff orps, no hybrids to achieve this size. Like I say I just want a long term project or I would go buy some standard bred chickens.
     
  7. Bo Garrett

    Bo Garrett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What Fred is telling you is the truth, it will be difficult to take hatchery stock to hatcher stock and derive a bird the size you are wanting to achieve without some kind of outcross to a bird of significant size (commercial broiler stock). Commercial broilers will attain weights at maturity of 16+ lbs but are structurally unsound and very short lived at this point. I would propose getting some broiler pullets and crossing your orpingtons to them and then begin the process of back crossing them to the desired color and type while maintaining focus on selecting the largest offspring to do so.

    Respectfully,


    Bo Garrett
     
  8. TimCline

    TimCline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So take hatchery stock orp Roos and cross to a Cornish x hen? Then breed the offspring for the buff color and size?
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
  9. Chicken girl 15

    Chicken girl 15 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm crossing black astrolorp hen to a lavender orpington roo to try and get good size. My orpington boy (Bob, big orpington boy :)) is 13lbs and his "wife" is 9 pounds. The goal is good layer of good meat size for the extra cockerels. I will a few hatches down the road invest in a new orpington boy of a different blood line. Line breeding is only safe for 1 maybe 2 generations.
     
  10. TimCline

    TimCline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I originally did not want any crosses but what I have decided to do is cross a hatchery buff Orpington roo over a Cornish x hen. Then I'll select the biggest offspring and breed back to another buff orp.
     

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