Chicken math question regarding breeding and showing:

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Queen of the chickens, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Queen of the chickens

    Queen of the chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This Winter I ordered 26 assorted feathered bantam chicks from Ideal. I had some losses with the first shipment, so replacements and extras were sent. I ended up with 30 bantams between the two shipments. I assumed I would be selling or trading off duplicates, but I have actually ended up with some really beautiful banties that break down nicely into trios and pairs. My son shows chickens for 4-H and I am thinking of dipping my toes in the water showing in the open class at local shows/fairs. I have an incubator and we are ready to start working on breeding and selecting for specific traits, etc. Now that you know the background, here's my question: What is the best way to house these guys so that I can collect eggs for hatching when needed and keep certain ones in show shape?

    I am concerned that If I house the Cockerels with their pullets in small tractors, they will over breed and damage the feathers on the hens, I also know that feather footed breeds get pretty ratty looking outside. This is something our local 4-H judge overlooks as he doesn't count off for because he prefers that the chickens be treated like chickens first and show birds second, however, that won't always be the case. Please advise, show pictures or your housing, etc.

    For further consideration these are my groupings(cockerels on the left/pullets on the right- all Cochin, unless otherwise noted)

    Smooth black/Frizzle Black
    Smooth red/Frizzle Red
    Frizzle Red/Smooth red x2
    Birchen trio
    Blue Pair
    White Pair
    7 Partridge (sex still unknown)
    Buff Brahama trio

    Odds and Ends:
    1 silver laced pullet
    1 silver penciled frizzle cockerel
    2 Smooth Back Cockerels
    1 Self-Blue D'Uccle Cockerel
    1 Red D'Uccle Cokerel (I think)

    Note: Not good practice to cross Frizzle x Frizzle so I want to keep them separate.
     
  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Well, since the birds are from hatchery stock, chances of having birds that would place well at a show is pretty low. I would suggest that you find a breeder experienced in your breeds, or a licensed poultry judge who will look them over and give you an honest opinion of whether the birds you plan to breed are worth breeding for show or not. Better to find out before you have dozens of chicks.

    Your first grouping seems pretty well thought out. Now sure what you are wanting to know about the odds and ends birds.
     
  3. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    x2


     
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    If you want to breed and show, I suggest that you purchase yourself an American Standard of Perfection. Then you can read the standard and compare it to the birds you've got.
     
  5. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    While I agree that a standard is necessarily for serious breeding and exhibiting, I don't think it is all that helpful to someone who doesn't have a starting point of understanding a breed. Reading about the body or tail being a certain way is not at all the same as seeing, and even better yet holding and feeling the differences. Having someone point out a well-shaped head or wing, and explaining why, and detail of what to look for are more helpful than reading some terminology that you may or may not quite understand. Having a standard in hand and having different things physically pointed out if far more meaningful than simply perusing the book on your own when you have little to no previous experience.
     
  6. Queen of the chickens

    Queen of the chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unionville, MO
    I appreciate your cautionary advice about hatchery chicks. However, we won Grand Champion Cock and Reserve Grand Champion Cockerel at our fair last year with our former hatchery chicks. Not every chick we ordered was show worthy, but we chose ones that were good representatives of their breeds and did alright. My questions is not whether I should breed them or not. We will figure that our down the road. My question was how I should house them considering that we may want to show or breed them in the future. Do you keep them together and then just pull out pairs as needed? Do you put them in individual coops in pairs or trios?
     
  7. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    Local and county fairs are not up to par with APA sanctioned shows. You would have to go to speciality shows to get the best and some of the local and county judges may not be APA certified/licensed or not very well versed on certain breeds. Anyone can WIN a show at the fairs but a real disappointment when they go to a APA sanctioned show. I had a family that kept buying hatchery chicks but they didn't do well at the APA shows so they ended up buying mine from breeder's stock, won top ribbons and APA shows.

    If you show your birds in the APA sanction show, you may find yourself placing below than first unless you got really lucky.

    Good luck with your endeavor and wish you well!
     
  8. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't show chickens, but I suspect that you must keep your show birds separated in order to protect the condition of the feathers.

    My show ducks could not be shown right at this moment because they are all covered in mud and have their neck and tail feathers rumpled from breeding season activities. I will show them at the end of summer right after they molt and get new plumage. But as long as they are all in the flock, they get their feathers chewed and pulled.
     

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