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Breeding hatchery stock to SOP, is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the Standard o' started by K813ZRA, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read this thread with interest because this is exactly what I am planning to do -- introduce breeder-quality birds to my hatchery flock to get them going back toward the breed standard as proper dual-purpose chickens. I have 18 Delawares. My question is this:

    If I acquire top birds from a breeder, why not just let them make a flock instead of breeding them into my hatchery stock? Is there any benefit to me/the flock by breeding the hatchery hen to the top rooster and the top hen to the hatchery rooster, etc, etc down the line? If I keep my hatchery birds separate, I could collect what eggs they give and let natural attrition deplete the flock while I build up the breeder flock, yes?
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    When it comes time to make up your breeding pens, and you choose your #1, #2, and #3 female (because that's all you need, ie, 60-70 eggs a month) and you choose your #1 cock bird and determine who your backup cock bird is and keep him in the wings, you'll have you mating group. Since one is breeding toward the Standard for the breed, one selects the best and breeds them to the best.

    What are the odds that hatchery stock would ever match up to birds you get that ARE and HAVE BEEN standard bred? Slim to none. So, breed the best to the best. Done. Folks like to assume that a singular great cockerel will "pull up" the hatchery stock he's over and sometimes fail to contemplate the opposite effect; that the hatchery stuff pulls down the Standard bred bird. Yup. Altogether too common.

    So, there you go. Pretty simple really. Best regards on your future in breeding and raising top flight birds.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  3. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, so I don't want to do what was suggested in prior posts recommending breeding the hatchery chickens with the breeder chickens. It's better to keep them separate and only breed best-to-best, which would likely be the birds acquired from the breeder. Thank you for that insight.
     
  4. JoeP

    JoeP Out Of The Brooder

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    I hope there is more input to this idea. It answered some questions I had. Does anyone have photos that show the differences in the quality of birds through different generations starting with hatchery? Im very interested to see how good the birds can be by year 3 or 4 if the right selection is made through culling. I think a lot of people would be interested in making their hatchery stock better.
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I've only kept and bred two breeds over the last few decades. Rocks and Reds. Trying to "up breed" production reds is pretty useless. Why? Because the genes just aren't there. Year after year, feed bag after feed bag and why? You can perhaps make them slightly tweaked but to the Standard for the breed? I won't ever live long enough.

    My other breed, the Rocks, in two varieties, would have been almost as difficult. (this also assumes no injection of 'outside' genetics) Just selecting and breeding them would prove a very, very long task, costing so much feed and a decade of time to maybe budge the White Rocks forward a bit.

    The Barred Rocks? Again, you could breed them for decades and barely move the needle on the tachometer. Why? Again, the genetics for the sharp barring required for Standard bred Barred Rocks would be so buried and so diluted as to be effectively absent.

    Through selection and taking years and years, you might well bump up the size and weight, but feather, top line, bottom line, wide tent tails, proper heads, combs, and the rest? Way too far off. You'd have to hatch out hundreds of chicks each year in hopes of finding just a chick here or there with a wee bit of improvement. Life is far too short. Breeding GREAT birds to just keep them up to the breed Standard is plenty hard enough.

    Once you've gone to a major poultry show, such as the Ohio National, for example, and seen 10,000 birds in all their glory, and see your favorite breed up close and personal, and see just how SPECTACULAR the exhibited specimens are?
    [​IMG]

    Once you can breathe again, you understand they're NOT the same birds at all and you also understand so much better the need to get your hands on two dozen hatching eggs or a breeding trio of THOSE birds with THAT DNA. [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. JoeP

    JoeP Out Of The Brooder

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    Well I guess that answers my question. I don't think it can be said better than that.
     
  7. K813ZRA

    K813ZRA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know, that sounds like a pretty fun life long project to me. I have about 5-6 decades left in me according to my family history, barring a freak accident. TBH, for me at least, breeding up the size and weight would be the main goal as I can't eat the comb. That said, I understand where you are coming from. It is just that for me it is like cars, I'd rather have a rat rod that I can drive than a show car that I have to tow on a trailer.

    Again, the other way sounds fun too, though. Hatching out your own eggs as that seems to be about the best way to get good breeder stock, at least on here. Many people sell the eggs of breeds that I want but few ever have chicks in stock.

    In the end what I have taken away from this is that there are two routes to go. You can breed the best of your hatchery birds and end up with a good laying and eating bird that resembles its ancestors or you can go with a good breeder stock and end up with very pretty birds that can be show stoppers and may or may not have better meat and egg production qualities. I guess one has to decide which route is best for them. In my case I am leaning toward meat and egg qualities.

    As an aside, I am glad that others are getting their questions answered too. I grow to love this site more and more each day as everyone is so willing to share what knowledge they have learned over the years, freely.
     
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    "In the end what I have taken away from this is that there are two routes to go. You can breed the best of your hatchery birds and end up with a good laying and eating bird that resembles its ancestors or you can go with a good breeder stock and end up with very pretty birds that can be show stoppers and may or may not have better meat and egg production qualities."


    Well, folks have chickens for lots and lots of reasons and can do what ever they wish and whatever pleases them. That's a fact.
    That said, this question was posted in the "Breeding To The Standard" section, so I'll just leave it at that.

    BTW, the uderlying assumptions and the conclusions drawn (quoted above) betray a lack of understanding and experience. The original question posed by this thread, "Can hatchery stock be bred to SOP (sic), is it worth it?" was an honest question and I've given honest answers which may or may not have pleased you or necessarily met any pre-conceived notions. So, with that, I'm outta here. Have fun. Enjoy your birds. Peace.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
  9. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm leaning toward meat and egg, but in order to get that I need proper breeder-quality birds.

    What I'm coming away with is, if you pick a breed that has the traits you want, in my case I want a proper dual-purpose bird for a sustainable flock that lays well enough and has good meat qualities, and I breed to standard, then I'm not breeding for appearance -- your "show stoppers" -- I'm breeding to get those qualities of laying and meat. The problem with the hatchery birds is they have been bred strictly for appearance -- the comb is just so and the legs are the right color, et al, at the cost of the other breed traits-- or they've been bred to improve laying at the expense of meat. I spent a lot of time researching chicken breeds to find one that has all the traits I want, I acquired a small flock of that breed only to find that the qualities that the breed is supposed to have has been bred out of them to skew them more toward egg production at the cost of meat-worthiness and oh-by-the-way, the hatchery bred them to look like their ancestors, just not perform like them. By getting good breeder stock, I get the traits in the bird that I wanted in the first place -- a proper dual-purpose bird with the egg production it is supposed to have and the meat qualities it is supposed to have. I think when Fred's Hens was talking about 'show stoppers' he wasn't talking about 'pretty' birds; he was talking about robust, full-framed, fine examples of the breed and not the scrawny bred-for-high-egg-production chickens from the hatchery.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  10. K813ZRA

    K813ZRA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No offence meant,as for a lack of experience, well yes I have zero experience thus the question was posed and answered. No need to get bent out of shape. I apologize if for some reason you took offence to my conclusion.

    To simplify my conclusion is that if I want to breed to standard then I should likely buy from a breeder with a well vetted bloodline otherwise I may as well allow hatchery stock to be what it is. Once again, my intent was not to be ignorant, I sincerely apologize if I came across as so.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2016

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