Chicken Breeding

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Rachel'sFlock, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Rachel'sFlock

    Rachel'sFlock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Is this the appropriate section to post questions about breeding chickens on a small family-farm scale?
    I have a single breed, and am raising some roo candidates to breed with my hens. I have a million questions, but am unclear about where these types of posts belong. Is this the section? Or is there a more specifically correct spot? Is there a spot???
    Thanks, as always, in advance.

    Bright Blessings!
     
  2. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    IMO this would work. Ask away.
     
  3. Rachel'sFlock

    Rachel'sFlock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you, NYReds, for the prompt reply!
    As I said, I have a million questions, and don't really know where to start. But I am just going to plunge in and see what happens!
    I have a small flock of Black Aussie laying hens. I have been keeping them since they were a week old, last May. We have never had a roo (altho I think my "barnyard bully" may think she is a roo, actually), but I am artificially brooding 8 more babies, straight run, so I am hoping for some roo candidates in that mix.
    I understand the concept of making sure the babies are 16 weeks old before gradually integrating them, and the process that entails.
    I also understand the determination of gender may take some time with this breed, and am happy to keep them until we have decided which roo to keep as our BabyDaddy.
    My questions relate to traits to consider for breeding stock. How do you determine what roo is "the one"?
    Is it dominance, or health/vigor/size? Is it about dominance or how he interacts with the flock? (as in, do the girls like him?)
    Do I consider how much I (the primary chicken caregiver) like him or is it how much the girls do?
    As to the hens, I am considering the traits of behavior, incidence of broodiness, size, overall shape and lines, egg-laying capability and, of course, health and vitality.

    Are there other aspects I should be considering when choosing my own breeding stock? Show Quality or Breed standards (beyond basic) are not a consideration for me, as I am merely building a dual-breed flock which can sustain itself. I understand outside stock will ultimately be required, and have a million or 2 questions about that, as well.

    thanks, in advance, for any advice, ideas, thoughts anyone can offer in their experience as backyard breeders.
    Blessings!
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    For me, the roo has to be docile. To me, that means he does not challenge me, not that I can pick him up or pet him. I don't want to pet my chickens, but I have to be able to turn my back on the roo and trust him. That's a deal breaker for me.
    Next, since you're going for sustainability, I'd go with size. Bigger roo should mean bigger babies next generation.
    Then, I'd look at how he treats the ladies. And this one may take a while. Consider the courting of a horny teenage boy vs an older, experienced man. A roo who drops his wing to court the hen has a plus in my book. Most roos will call the girls for treats, etc, that's good, also. Most roos will also sound the alarm for potential threats.

    Of course if a roo just seems sickly, he's not the one.

    Depending on how many hens you have, you might want to keep two, in case of illness or death. I currently have 17 hens and three roos, free-range full time, and no fighting.

    Mostly, just think about what YOU want in your flock. I know you can't tell how good of a layer he'll sire until you hatch some girls out, but you can go for temperment, size, protective instincts earlier.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Rachel'sFlock

    Rachel'sFlock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks, donrae!
    You have given me a lot to think about. I want a trustworthy roo, too, and was hoping my girls might also appreciate a roo like that.
    I am thinking a lot about size, as well~ it has to speak to viability.
    I am going to go and browse my local library for some books to give me more of an idea of what I need to be considering.
    As my Roos turned a week old yesterday, I have some time to figure some of it out!
    I am so green I don't even know what I don't know! I am just glad I found the correct section to post questions in!

    Brightest Blessings!
     

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