Breeding & Selection

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TwinWillowAcres, Dec 25, 2013.

  1. TwinWillowAcres

    TwinWillowAcres Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 8, 2012
    How do you select your breeding birds? What qualities do you look terms of meat birds? Layers? And all-around production birds?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    First and foremost, you have to know what you want. What are your goals? What do you want out of those birds? Are you looking for show quality chickens, number of eggs, size of eggs, eggshell color, broodiness, white meat, dark meat, color or patterns, leg color, comb type, earlobe color, eye color, how efficient they convert feed to eggs or feed to meat, how fast they mature, how fast they grow, whether or not the roosters are human aggressive, whether or not one hen is especially brutal to others, or maybe something else or your own unique combination of these.

    I start by removing any that are injured, diseased, or deformed. I have certain color and pattern goals. Any that don’t meet that criteria go next. Any that exhibit unacceptable behavior can go at any time. For example I had one that laid a nice egg practically every day, but for two solid months she laid it from the roosts. Her instincts were obviously not right so she went when I finally figured out which one it was. Any hen that goes broody gets to stay around longer and I’ll hatch eggs from her.

    For the hens I look at their egg production, when they start to lay, how big an egg and how often they lay, things like that. A hen that regularly lays a double yolked egg does not meet my criteria. That may be a desirable trait for you. I had one hen that laid a really nice egg regularly but when I incubated them in two separate broods, only one of six eggs hatched. I would have had a real nice hatch rate if it wasn’t for her eggs. She went. I didn’t know that was a criteria until it happened.

    For the roosters, after I eliminate a bunch from the other criteria, I look for one that toward the top in dominance. He does not have to be the most dominant one, but I want one with the self-confidence to be able to handle the duties of being flock master.

    Sometimes it’s real easy to determine which ones go, but after the easy decisions are made, it can get pretty rough. Right at the end it can become a coin flip or be based on something really irrelevant. But as best you can, you need to know what you want to start with.

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