Breeding for the first time and what to look for

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by gadus, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. gadus

    gadus Chirping

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    I am gearing up to do some incubation of my own in the spring and need a little help getting my head around the process. I have several breeds in the coop but am leaning toward the Australorp, based on what I've read and seen thus far (five in my coop, not yet laying). Additionally I have an Easter Egger who lays the most fabulous eggs in the strangest places, with regularity, and I would also like to continue her line.

    So, two breeds to work with, two roosters still to locate and integrate...I know all of you started "somewhere" but it's bothersome and quite nebulous still to me- logistics and what to look for-and really, what I should be concerned about and what questions need to be answered first.

    I guess I'm not asking so much about the breed anymore, as it's clear that one person's Welsummer is not the same as the next persons and everyone's breeding for different characteristics. But within the breeds I've mentioned, what should I know about them going in the incubation direction?

    Additionally, am I being too rigid in my thinking in wanting to keep the breeds "pure"-and not trying to cross breeds? I have no interest in breeding for show but I do like the idea of creating as close to an "ideal" breed type as possible and am thus far anyway, willing to make the extra effort to produce a superior bird.

    That's enough for now I guess...any and all info welcomed.
     
  2. AlleysChicks

    AlleysChicks Crossing the Road Premium Member

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    Easter Eggers are a cross breed. But there is a lot you can still do with them. Egg color, size, feathers.

    Decide what you are aiming for ahead of time, since you have the time to wait.

    I have a pen of different breeds (Black Australorps, Barred Rocks, Buff Orp and a BSL with a Blue Andalusian Roo. He’s big and beautiful. I get beautiful and some unique colored chicks from that pen.

    Good luck hatching and keep us updated!
     
    igorsMistress likes this.
  3. gadus

    gadus Chirping

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    I'm after a cold-hardy, excellent laying, dual-purpose, non-broody breed, which I'm hoping the Australorps become for me.

    Additionally, I like, as mentioned, the one interpid Americauna I have (not a breed, duly noted). What should I breed the this bird with? How will I be assured of keeping the peacomb with successive generations?
     
  4. Rye

    Rye Chirping

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    Australorps go broody and are not near as cold hardy as other broody breeds. Dual purpose breeds go broody though and should actually be called Tri-Purpose. Brood, meat, and Eggs.

    Wyandotte, Dominique, Chantecler are much more cold hardy and lay lots of eggs, and have a meaty carcass.

    You seem to want a rosecomb Leghorn from a good breeder. Lay lots of eggs, cold hardy, and plump enough at 16 weeks to make some really nice fryers. Or you could cross some Andalusians with Rosecomb leghorns or Wyandottes and have a really nice hybrid that lays well and is meaty in a short amount of time.
     
  5. gadus

    gadus Chirping

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    My inclination changes as I learn more (and more and more). I remember (my older self) looking at the Wyandotte profile and being impressed. However with three hybrids and two purebreeds (plus one Cuckoo Maran) currently in the coop, I'm trying to just pick one and incubate them in the spring.

    My thinking was to incubate a pure breed and see how it goes and then start to experiment more aggressively for traits. The dual-purpose "need" was merely anticipating the 50 % cockerel hatch rate and the need to slaughter them (and thus have a decent carcass).

    That Australorps go broody I guess should not surprise me as my BOs do so frequently. though I think McMurray or some other hatchery listed them as not frequent brooders. I guess I was dazzled by the production numbers and looks and several glowing reviews.
    Ultimately, I want a flock of between 25-30 birds, good egg production (in the 8-10 dozen/wk range) and a steady supply of meat in the freezer. Plus of course the whole incubation experience for my young daughter and the joy of caring for these critters.
     
  6. igorsMistress

    igorsMistress Free Ranging Premium Member

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    Keep in mind that a broody is a good thing. She can hatch and care for the chicks so you don't have to, and from what I've read there are few integration issues, if any.

    Americaunas aren't EEs, that's what some people push off as Ameraucanas which are a breed. These and Araucanas, blue egg layers, are mixed with other breeds to get EEs. I'm sure there are other mixes too.

    Australorps are an awesome breed! Check out the breed page and ask questions about cold hardiness and others experience with them in your climate. I have 4 Aussies, three blue and one black. I prefer breeder stock to hatchery. My black girl is a hatchery bird, very chill but speaks her mind lol. My breeder birds feathered out faster, they're bigger and more robust. They are also sweet birds, and my little roo is standing up to the big girls. The hatchery girl lays an egg every day. Once in a while she skips, but not often. She keeps up with my production reds. I like the look of my breeder birds more. There's less fluff in the butt.

    There's a guy who was breeding Aussies in WV and the temps there get cold so I'm pretty sure there's no issue with cold hardiness.
     

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