Breeding Layers

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by jgiajnorio, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. jgiajnorio

    jgiajnorio Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 4, 2011
    Hi there, I currently have a flock of hens that I am looking to breed. I have to silkie roasters, 4 barred rocks, 3 rhode islands, 2 columbian rocks and 2 red sex links. I would like to try and sustain a reliable laying flock and was thinking my silkie roasters might not provide the genetics i need to get consistent eggs from my hatchlings. Any thoughts on this?

    I was also thinking of providing a breeding house as my current coop is getting to small for our needs. I figure this would make a perfect spot to get a new roaster and a couple hens for breeding purposes? I have been looking into Austrolorps or Chanteclers as well, to diversify the flock.

    I guess to summarize, would my silkie roasters work or should i buy a new roaster?

    thanks
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It’s practically impossible to give you a good answer to your question without knowing a lot more about those silkie roosters. I think people put way too much emphasis on breeds and ignore heredity. Egg laying is all about heredity. If the mother and father come from a flock that lays well, the odds that their offspring will also lay well.

    Both hens and roosters contribute genes that affect egg laying. But roosters don’t lay eggs. You don’t know what they are contributing unless you know what their mother and both grandmothers did as far as egg laying, and that just gives you a clue.

    With all that said, silkies are not known as a breed that generally lays a lot of eggs. I’m very aware there are silkies out there that do lay practically every day they are not broody or molting. That’s part of why I say breed is not the most important thing. It’s the genetics for egg laying in that specific chicken that counts.

    Silkies are often bantams. I don’t know if yours are or not. Bantam roosters can and do breed full sized hens though occasionally fertility rates can suffer. But that’s not my point if they are bantam. Bantam’s lay smaller eggs. Egg size will probably suffer if you cross a bantam rooster with a full sized hen. That may or may not be a problem for you.

    I don’t know enough about your silkie roosters to know if they would suit your needs or not. If you get another rooster from a breed that is known for laying well, you are still shooting in the dark a bit unless you know something about his mother and grandmothers. But most roosters from breeds that are known for laying well that come from hatcheries will come from a flock that lays well.
     
  3. jgiajnorio

    jgiajnorio Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 4, 2011
    Thank you, you bring up at point I never quite thought about when it comes to chickens. Being a horse person, blood lines can be everything, I never thought of that when it came to my hens. I was aware about the silkies not being good layers(in most cases) but better brooders, thats why I was curious about using a silkie rooster to fertilize. The hens I have now, dont seem to lay as much as i would like, and now thinking about what you mentioned, they all came from the same backyard breeder. I will have to look into this more and maybe get mine from a hatchery instead this spring.

    Thanks
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Being a horse person you probably understand strains, which are somewhat similar to bloodlines. With chickens, if you don’t select for a specific enhanced trait practically every generation, you quickly lose the trait. Different chicken breeders select for different traits. If you get your chickens from a breeder, you need to know what they are breeding for. It also helps if they know what they are doing.

    Someone breeding for show may not pay much attention to production. When the judges judge a chicken, they don’t have a clue about how many eggs the hen lays or how fast a rooster reaches butcher weight. The judges can only judge what they see. Some breeders that breed for show also pay attention to productivity. We all have different goals.

    An example of strains and the power of selective breeding in chickens. A couple of years ago I saw an article where someone that knew what they were doing split a flock of chickens into two flocks. Same purebred parents. They then started to selectively breed one flock for large size and the other for small size. I don’t know how many generations it took, but the average weight in one flock was 9 times the average weight of the other. Both purebred flocks with the same ancestry. That’s the power of selective breeding.
     
  5. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    Come on over to the Heritage Large Fowl thread. It has excellent experts in poultry breeding who not only are helpful, but will help you find top quality strains of fowl to meet your needs. Hatchery birds will lay a lot of eggs, But they don't have the long productive lives the heritage fowl have.There are many wonderful breeds which need conserving and will meet your needs at the same time. Look forward to seeing you there.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/400344/heritage-large-fowl-thread/10730 Over 10.000 helpful posts!
    Best,
    Karen
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013

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