1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Chicken breeding for a novice.

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Riversilk, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Riversilk

    Riversilk In the Brooder

    May 3, 2012
    I have a few questions that I am thinking about since I have begun the journey of trying to raise chickens to match SOP. I have always had laying hens and raised chicks from what I had with no real attempt at controlling the outcome. I have both Silkies and Wyandottes and in my reading I have read of difficulties with both breeds that I wonder about. I personally believe that chickens should be able to breed naturally and that their general makeup should not cause them large challenges in staying alive, laying or even eating.

    With the Wyandottes reading about all of people having to AI makes me wonder why we would want to perpetuate a trait which makes it difficult for the birds to mate naturally. I love the way wyandottes look in general but it seems that they would still be beautiful in shape and form without the so much of the super fluff or whatever it is that makes natural breeding difficult.

    The Silkies have their issues in such huge crests and beards that they can't even see where their food bowl is. Now I think that Silkies are gorgeous birds but I am not sure they would be any less gorgeous with a little less feathering on their heads. Two of the Silkies that I currently have had such huge crests and beards that they literally were frozen in place most of the time until I gave them little "hair cuts". They were initially stunned to see the world but quickly became much more active and gained weight and just seemed happier. Also they became much more friendly and did not seem so scared and petrified of what was happening around the.

    Maybe this is an ethical question, I don't know. I just wonder why we would want to create birds that can't function without a lot of human intervention. What is the purpose? It seems that as breeders that we would want the whole package. Beauty, function and hardiness.

    Now I get that breeding for certain traits is in of itself intervention but it seems that since we have the power to create specific things at our will that we should look at the whole picture of the bird. I am just not sure that breeding them to be so dependent seems like such a good idea.

    I am not trying to offend anyone, I just really want to know why this is done? I totally appreciate all of the different breeds and their uniqueness but maybe some of the extremes that make birds win in the show ring are not in the best interest of the bird. How did it get to be this way?

    Maybe their is a thread on things like this somewhere already and if so I apologize. I was laying in bed last night thinking about my own breeding goals and the directions that I hope to move in and trying to figure out if I can achieve those goals and also still show my birds which I would very much like to do.

    Thanks for your thought on this, I am interested in all of them.

  2. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Songster

    May 23, 2013
    Hi Riversilk,
    I found you through the 2013 BLRW breeders directory. I completely agree with your ideas behind breeding - health should be a top priority. It is a sad day when we humans start intervening to such extremes that it impacts the bird's quality of life. Is it common that Wyandottes cannot mate properly? Do your Wyandottes have problems with this? mine are still young, just interested if this is a common problem.

    I looked at pics of your birds on Facebook, they are gorgeous! and we have similar taste, I love your faverolles too!

    Anyway, I would like to keep in touch, for the possibility of BLRW hatching eggs in the future (next year?). I am in Oregon, West of Portland, so within driving distance for eggs. Receiving shipped eggs has been challenging thus far. :)

    By the way, I saw that you were also interested in adding other BLRW stock to breed for something specific. I expect to have excess Roos from this hatch. They are 3 weeks old currently, of good genes, Foley and Paul lines. If you are interested, I am planning to sell the extra Roos in a few months.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  3. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

    Sep 12, 2012
    I asked the same about Angora rabbits. The only solace I have with them, is that people bred them TO BE SHORN, and their wool used for sewing. So they were bred with the INTENTION of shaving the fur off.

    But according to breed standard, they aren't show worthy when they have been shaved. So the purpose of the breed... isn't allowed in the show!
  4. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Most of my silkies have very little problem seeing. If/when I do suspec a problem, I trim the feathers that block vision; it is usually the muff feathers, not the crest feathers. Hold the bird at your eye level; if you can see its eyes, the bird can see; it not, trim or pluck the specific feathers that block vision. It usually dos not take much..

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by