Cold weather lightweight autosexing egg machine

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by HeatherFeather, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. HeatherFeather

    HeatherFeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I *need* a utility breed of chicken that is cold hardy, lightweight, has superior feed conversions, lays brown eggs like its nobody's business and is autosexing.
    I keep going over and over breeds of chickens, trying to find something like this out there....the closest thing I have found is the cream legbar, and the fact that only a handful (I think less than 12) of individuals have made up the breeding parent stock in North America is really discouraging, as well as the price-not gonna happen for me. I've looked at the Hedemora, but they aren't autosexing. Also, ideally a brown egg....as white aren't very marketable in ON. There is the chantecler, but its HUGE and hard to sex until older. And not as productive either.

    Basically, I am frustrated at how sex links and the need to maintain multiple breeds or buy hatchery stock dominates the market for the small egg producer in Ontario. Equally frustrating is the fact that there is only one true Canadian breed, and they are dual purpose. For a small time farmer, selling eggs becomes a nightmare of supporting the "dual purpose" Chantecler, RIR or BR all winter, as they eat copious amounts of feed....and they aren't really all that dual purpose anyways, most people eat exclusively WR, or nearly exclusively.

    So, I need something to replace the common red sex link. Something that I can reproduce myself and know the gender from hatch, without keeping more breeds. A 4 lb hen, that lays like crazy and doesn't care when its cold. And for some bizarre reason, nobody wants to buy white eggs.

    Is there a breed out there that anyone knows of which would fit my needs, and the needs of many others, I am sure.....??

    Or is this the begining of the next 20 years of chicken breeding for myself.....?

    I have seriously been thinking about re-creating a gold legbar and trying to get the chantecler genetic for reduced comb/wattles in there somehow......I bred some chantecler crosses a few months ago and they all have no combs, seemed pretty dominant. At least in the F1 generation.

    I have a healthy interest in genetics and experience with shetland sheep (crazy genetics!).

    Any thoughts appreciated :)
     
  2. flowerfaeiry

    flowerfaeiry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How about a Rhodebar? Auto sexing, brown egg layer, not too pricey.
     
  3. HeatherFeather

    HeatherFeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes I was looking at those- they are big though. Maybe I could breed it down? I need something that performs as well on the feed to egg conversion as a commercial red sex link does, so thinking smaller...like a 4 lb hen.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Sorry, I know this isn't productive, but I just keep thinking you need a flock of Leghorns and a huge vat of brown dye--sorry---not what you're looking for, I know. I'm not coming up with anything that hits all those points, especially the auto sexing. Rhodebars are big birds, from what I can see, so there goes your profits in feed.

    I was thinking California Grey, but they're white layers. Plus, huge ol combs.
     
  5. flowerfaeiry

    flowerfaeiry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What about the cream legbar?
     
  6. cluckcluckluke

    cluckcluckluke Overrun With Chickens

    It looks as if you need to make your own creation.....or go with Don's great suggestion[​IMG]!

    I can't think of absolutely any breed that fits this description, especially when you put in autosexing.
    Langshans are good layer of brown eggs, cold hardy too but not auto sexing....

    Have you worked out the cost of buying in more Sex-Links compared to the income of selling your eggs???

    Depending on how many Sex-Links you want, you will have to buy new ones every year/ two years if you push them.
    You never know, your egg costs could cover new chickens and have a good profit.

    I'd do the math for you but I don't know how many you want, pricing of birds, feed etc.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I was also wondering at the $ of buying day old chicks vs incubating eggs from a flock.

    It's not just Canada, though, same quandary for small scale egg producers here in the States. You either keep parent flocks or buy day old chicks. And everyone has the male chick problem. I'm thinking of learning to vent sex just to be able to deal with that. That could possibly be an option for you, I'm guessing you would cull male chicks at hatch to save the feed money growing them out. I know folks make a huge deal about how "special" vent sexing is, but it really can't be rocket science.
     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    OP addressed that breed in the opening post.
    Plus, all the legbars I've seen are the crested variety that lay green/blue eggs, not brown. There may be some, I've not really researched it, but Greenfire looks to have brought over the Crested birds.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
  9. cluckcluckluke

    cluckcluckluke Overrun With Chickens

     
  10. HeatherFeather

    HeatherFeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Donrae, not a bad idea....maybe I should start dying leghorn eggs!!!

    Re. Cream legbar, I do think that blue eggs are marketable, esp alongside brown ones, and white ones are marketable when there is just a smattering, alongside brown ones-there is just this concept of 'wholesomeness' among locavore foodies, and it doesn't include white eggs. So that's where it is at.

    I'm already hatching my own barred rocks, and not able to sex them until 4 weeks-and it is still more cost effective than buying in chicks of any breed. In 4 weeks, a batch of 30 chicks will eat one bag of organic feed which costs me $32. AT $3 a chick, even waiting this long to put the males down is still cost effective. Yes, I have np killing the cockerals, and there is a falconer in the neighborhood who takes them killed. Better that than grow out and kill each other!

    However, my own barred rocks don't lay all that well. And I know I don't have the profits I would get with a lighter breed, like a RSL. Which is what most people use. So I kinda think I'd come out better economically if I bought RSLs.....
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    However, it goes a lot deeper than that Its more of a political thing. You see, in Canada we operate under a supply management system for chicken, and for eggs. That means that a small farmer can only own 100 laying hens and cannot advertise or sell the eggs for sale anywhere but on your own property. So no sign down the road, bulletin boards, in the local paper ect. The situation is even more dire for meat chickens. You can purchase 'quota' (the "right" to produce and advertise) for around a million dollars. No joke.This has been in place since the 70s. Some big wig factory producers formed a business association and lobbied the govt to put these regulations in, and they did. Recently, national lobby groups have formed and are pressuring for change. (see http://www.flockingoptions.ca/)

    The whole thing about buying in pullets from a hatchery removes the independance of the small farmer, and forces us to support the quota industry (hatcheries have egg hatching quota). So a lot of small timers have stopped producing eggs and chicken all together, so they don't have to do business with the quota system. Others are breeding their own BR for their table, or for sales, and selecting for heavier birds also. And others are trying to make a go of duck, as its not quota controlled (I do this too, I raise 200 pasture pekins each year, and have a flock of KC for eggs) Its all sad. And a mess.

    I see, that if we had an autosexing chicken breed (eg rivalling the RSL), that was smaller than the typical heavy homestead breeds and layed well, we could eshew the system all together, but still work within the law to produce eggs. (we can have 100 hens laying and can breed our own replacements, and can sell/trade chicks from those 100)

    So that's my drive. If I can find such a chicken, I would even be interested in annually giving a number away free on a draw to other area producers who are willing to incubate and further the breed.
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    After spending a few more days reading, and discovering just how long it would take to make a new breed, I am more seriously considering the investment in Cream Legbars. We don't have gold legbars in ON-which is too bad, cream tinted eggs sound very nice.

    My genetics experience comes from sheep though, and in sheep, 4 bloodlines spread through a dozen individuals wouldn't be a considered a good gene pool.

    Is this different in poultry?


    H
     
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