Breeding Lavenders

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by pips&peeps, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

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    I have my first lavender chicks that are around 16 weeks old and I have some questions for you people out there that have been doing this for a while.

    Does the feather quality ever improve? And if yes, does it just take continuous outcrossing to good quality black splits?

    I just picked out an awesome cockerel last night that I thought was a regular black, but he is a split, and he is of nice size which surprised me because he came out of the first stock bred by members of the ABC and they tend to run more on the bantam side. I'll be weighing him today just to make sure my eyes aren't deceiving me.

    How do you get rid of the speckling or mottling in the feathers? I know that is probably not the correct term, but I am referring to the specks of darker color on the bird.

    I know I will think of more questions, and I am sure there are others out there just starting to get into lavender too that may have questions, so feel free to post here.

    Thanks,
     
  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    My understranding is that poor feather quality occurs only on male shoulder area. There is a fairly extensive discussion on The-Coop, with at least one breeder saying it can successfully be bred out by selecting against poor feathering.

    No, you should not need to cross to black splits once you have type and other breed characteristics in your birds (assuming the colour was introduced from another breed).
     
  3. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jean, poor feather quality (fraying/broken plumage common in tail, back and wings) is common. I hatched hundreds and selected the best solid plumage (along with other factors) to continue. I would not go back to splits, but recrossing to good black ameraucana would likely be more helpful to improve the plumage. As for the fretting (dark gray/black marks on the plumage), I am finding the males have more issues with it as well. Through ongoing selection, you will eventually be able to eliminate this.
     
  4. turtleblossom

    turtleblossom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought that I had read somewhere that fretting is possibly influenced by nutrition.
    Has anyone else found this to be true?
    I only have two lavender birds, so I have no real experience to base this on.
     
  5. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

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    Quote:My splits are completely unrelated to the current lavenders and the cock bird that I used to make the splits had much better feather quality......
     
  6. Krys109uk

    Krys109uk Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've found much the same as Jody.
    What breed are we talking about? You could try selecting against, or crossing to an unrelated black of excellent type. I can't see that crossing black to a split black, if related, would help any more than breeding to lavender & selecting against.
     
  7. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    If your split is of good quality, then it wouldn't hurt to do a test run and see how the plumage of his lav offspring turn out.

    turtleblossom - I've never heard that before. If it were nutritional, I would imagine all of the birds would suffer from it. That is not the case. It also does not occur on other plumage colors, like it does on lavender. I think it is a problem with the dilution, which can be affected by many factors (even candling the egg during plumage growth stages).
     
  8. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

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    Quote:These are ameraucanas. If I cross to an unrelated black, then I will end up with splits again. I'm kind of confused........

    The split is not related. I do have lavender cock birds, one being a small 1/2 bantam, 1/2 LF with good overall type and the other a huge bird that still has obvious body, comb and feather issues being that he was made from orpington stock. The split is just as good if not better for body type than the little bird. I weighed him and at about 20 weeks he is right at 5 lbs, and I think that is a good weight for a free ranging cockerel. The standard calls for 5 1/2 lbs for cockerel and 6 1/2 lbs for cock. The typey lavender cock I have may be 4- 4 1/2 lbs at most and he's the meanest little beestard I've ever owned. If I had another to choose from, he'd be gone in a heartbeat, I prefer not to let a mean rooster live.
     
  9. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    I bred Self Blue OEGBs for several years & the feather quality is a frustration that goes with the colour. I had good luck crossing in a very nice Black male. At the same time I have a friend who also bred them [still does] for years & he culled heavily for feather quality & also had success. I guess you could try either way but in any breeding program the real key is in the culling. Nothing marginal stays. You'll get further breeding from a great pair than from a so-so pen of 5.
     
  10. Krys109uk

    Krys109uk Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't know how good the lavender ameraucanas are these days. I am assuming the blacks are better & typier than the lavs. If you cross your best lavender to a top notch unrelated black, yes you will get black split but you'll also be introducing good qualities from the black lines.
    Personally I'd breed quality black male to best lavender pullets (pen A), plus best lavender male to quality black females (pen B) . From there if you can breed males of one pen to the females of the other & select for lavender & best type, feathering etc. offspring. I think that would probably have the fastest improvement in type (& hopefully feather quality). I think that is probably the quickest & easiest way to improve lavenders. Alternatively you could cross back the best female black split offspring from pen A to the lavender male of pen B & the best male split offspring from pen B to the lavender females of pen A. then you will have more lavenders to selet between but a greater chance of the offspring inheriting traits you might be trying to breed away from.
     

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