Breeding Guide


10 Years
Mar 3, 2009
I'm looking for some pointers on breeding chickens. I've kept a flock for a few years now. Last year I had a hen hatch some chicks and this year I incubated a few in an incubator. I really like the look of some of these chicks and would like to develop a breed or just a predictable outcome over time. My problem is all the chicks look different. There is one which I would just like to duplicate over and over. Breeding her would obviously not produce chicks exactly like her. Is there some guide on breeding chickens and maybe getting certain colors? Or how does one breed for something that isn't there. Like a longer tail or a smaller comb? Is the only way to do this to hatch many many chicks, grow them up and then choose among them?

What I am trying to do is breed a "streamlined" wild-type chicken, mainly for aesthetics, (cold)hardiness and one that is also a good egg producer. I will be hatching marans and have an araucana and would be interested what egg color traits they eventually settle with. There are so many traits to breed for but like i said how does one breed for something that isn't there?

Glenda L Heywood

10 Years
Apr 11, 2009
well the wild type chickens would be the game type
such as was the original chicken

marans have brown colored eggs and arucana should have the blue colored egg
but denote that when breeding a blue colored egg bird the introduction of other colored eggs makes the blue delute to off colors
my mother in law breed araucanas and came up with speckled blue eggs, pink eggs, green eggs etc

your statement of breeding for something that isn't there is not true as each bird has its own breeding vigor and type and color
specializing on these factore makes you a breeder
It take keeping a breeding book and learning to toe punch the off spring according to the birds you choose

I will add a toe punch chart in next post to help you use it in breeding
any questions just email me

Glenda L Heywood

10 Years
Apr 11, 2009

When one makes up mating pens one must also assign
each pen a certain toe punch. Enter into a record book
this method
(1) the Pen Number
(2) the male birds band color and toe punch
(3) the females band color and toe punch
(4) now asign a different toe punch for the chicks and
record this.

When the breeders are mated and eggs laid one must
then gather the fresh eggs daily and with a #2 pencil
mark the number of the pen on the egg.

Now when the incubator is set take and put all the
same numbers on eggs in one of the many compartments,
you have made by putting across the hatching tray a
piece of hail screen cut to size the width of the
tray and in this width make two pens using hail screen
cut to fit.

Now take and make that tight enough to hold the
movement of the tray. or take some electrical ties and
tie the hail screen in several places

Each hatching tray can hold about 6 to eight
individual pens for eggs.

Now have a piece of the hail screen made to fit the
top of the tray so the hatched chicks can't get out
after hatching and mix with the other chicks.

Now on the hatching day you will see all these
biddies each in individual pens to mark, and on the
day you decide to take each setting tray and empty of
live chicks do this.

Take the hatching tray and lid on it to a table and
set it comfortabley down on the table and one pen by
one pen open each hatching pen. And mark each chick
before going to the next pen of chicks with the
assigned toe punch, that you hae written in a code

Okay we will start
(1) pen #1 = toe punch with assigned code.
then take all chicks out one at a time from this
individual hatching pen.Put them in a nice basket with
handle and work just on these toe punching them one at
a time. Cover the other pens back with hail screen
lid, so they can't get out.

Now take one chick and with a toe punch tool which you
have to really bear down on so it cuts the hole big
enough to not heal over.

I prefer a cuticle sciscors and do this
holding chick in hand put finger under webs and with
other hand cut each toe web for the toe punch.

If using more than one punch in each web then need toe
punch tool. such as toe punching ducks webs

Say you are using the right inside web and left in
side web for pen #1
now cut the left inside web to end of its length and
then cut the right left inside web to end of its
length and it will not bleed if any.

Put the chick in a box you have for taking to brooder
or another basket with handle.

go thru and mark with cuticle sciscors all these
this toe punch from pen #1 and so on thru pen numbers
one pen at a time.

Now continue thru the rest of the pens doing each pen
one chick at a time and covering the tray of hatched
chicks so they can't mix up.

Now here is the whole set up of 16 punches for

when the chick is hatched you cut the web
of the toe for the toe punch marks.the toe punch
clicker is just a punch and hole for the punch to
go thru taking the web with it. Make sure that you
punch hard and really get the web as it will grow shut
if not. That is why I like to cut with a cuticle
sciscors. It is more permanent.

Fred Jeffrey in his book bantam chickens gives the 16
possible toe punch combinations. Also the Old English
year books thru 1989 had the toe punch set up via
pictures in it.

to start with
(1) no punch in any toe web

(2) punch left out side web
(3) punch right out side web

(4) punch left inside web
(5) Punch right inside web

(6) punch both left webs
(7 punch both right webs

(8)punch left outside and right outside webs
(9) punch left inside and right inside webs

(10) punch outside left web and right inside web
(11) punch inside left web and right outside web

(12) punch two left webs and outside right web
(13) punch two left webs and inside right web

(14) punch outside left web and two right webs
(15) punch inside left web and two right webs

(16) punch all four webs left and right

hope this helps.
any questions email me

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