Cross breeding for gain.

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Our Roost, Dec 24, 2016.

  1. Our Roost

    Our Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2011
    ScottsVille, michigan
    I have been raising and buying different breeds of chickens for a good number of years. I have bought hatchery heritage breeds as well as breeder stock from a few breeders. After a while, you get a good feel for what you are really looking for from a chicken. You look back at all the breeds you have owned and ask yourself and your partner which birds you liked and which ones were most productive along with other attributes that drew you to those thoughts. We have had a lot of ups and downs with chickens over the time frame we have been doing this hobby farming with chickens. It seems easy enough to raise chickens but some elements like death and predators will always alter things. Some birds we have owned always seemed to fair out better than others.
    So, getting back to why we were drawn to certain chicken breeds is what now has my interest in cross breeding and to gain the features and other things the genetics of those chickens hold. I think a person has to ask him or herself what they are looking from a chicken breed before they purchase any kind or type of chicken. I myself want a breed that is healthy and a survivor. I want a meaty bird with some body that will mature within an average time frame of 14 to 16 weeks max. Behavior is very important to me in a chicken as well as the rooster it will mate with. I think a chicken should have stealth, which is a good frame and leg quality. Ask yourself whether or not it is weather tolerant for where you are living. A chickens environment can be an important factor on how well it can perform and survive in heat and or cold.
    We live in upper mid state Michigan and enjoy all the seasons and their extremes at times. Most breeds fair well except for winters which can be moderate to extremely cold. So what is the point of this thread you ask? Well, I am not completely satisfied with all the bird types we have tried and I feel I can gain something through crossbreeding the birds we find to be suitable to meet the needs we are striving for. Dual purpose breeds are twofold in that they are reasonable egg layers and can be fair meat birds also. I have worked with 3 birds that fit that category better than most. Just my opinion of course!
    Lets keep in mind that this is for gain and not specifically for a better egg layer or a better meat bird per say. The genetics of birds is what I call a built in factor and to add or take away to create a new model is difficult and requires time and patience along with professional known factors. My partner and myself like the qualities of 3 heritage breeds and feel it would be worthy if we could blend those qualities so the offspring would benefit and a better bird would result due to that effort. It doesn't work that way totally! You cant just take the fender off of one car and put it on another or swap motors and transmissions without some expected modifications. The chickens control the genetics and transfers of the features you are trying to acquire. Some features may transfer in some offspring but not in all. So you wanted a v-8 and got a v-6 instead eh? Separate the models and you are on the right track for the second round of the battle.
    I am crossbreeding a Blue orpington with a Malines. You would have had to own the orpington breed to realize the blues have features a standard Orpington breed does not. Same breed, but the blue Orpington is definitely not all feathers! The Malines is a great meat bird and rare to the U.S. A slow grower but favorably large for a table bird. It lacks new blood lines and has some issues regarding that. This is a spring project I look forward to. Will keep you posted on how the chicks turn out.
    1 person likes this.
  2. JayColli

    JayColli Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2016
    Nova Scotia
    Looking forward to see how this turns out! I'm very interested in finding a cross that lays reasonably well, grows out to a reasonable size for the table by 16 weeks and isn't incredible difficult to find the precursors for.

    What drew you to the Orpington over something like a Delaware?
  3. Molpet

    Molpet Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 7, 2015
    N. Illinois
    My Coop
    the blues must be better than the buff I have LOL
    I am interested in your results also
  4. Interesting.
    I was following right along and thought I knew where you were going until you got to the blue orpingtons. I was like blue orpingtons? Huh? Those dont seem to fit with what you were describing. But everyone has different opinions.
    My opinion about orpingtons. Great breed but i have to disagree about blues being totally different then the others. And yes i do have orps and i do have some huge blues. Also have some chocolates that are just as big. The biggest ive had are blacks which i used to get my blues and chocolates to where they are. Orpingtons are so varied as a breed. First you have two types. The english type and the american type. They are very different in type. Then like every breed they differ drastically depending on how the line was bred.
    Take the buffs for example. You can buy them from any hatchery and end up with a decent egg layer but they arent much bigger then say a RIR. Now go to a show and see the show quality buffs. They are HUGE. Much bigger then the other colors.
    Ok back to my point. Yes one needs to know what they want in a breed of chicken and not just what breed fits but what type of that breed you want. Pure egg production? Show quality? Just one that is close to the standard? Or what have you.
    You cant grab the first bird that comes along of a certain breed and judge the breed by that one bird.
    As far as crossing breeds theres nothing wrong with that but youre right it could be a long journey. Theres just so many breeds out there bred for so many different purposes and with so many different characteristics its hard to image that someone couldnt find one that fits their needs and then if they want to tweek them through breeding to their perfect birds and get there a lot faster and easier then by crossing breeds.
    Just my opinion and rambling.
  5. Our Roost

    Our Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2011
    ScottsVille, michigan
    I knew when I started this thread that once I named the breeds I had planned for crossbreeding, I was going to get some flack. No one questioned the Malines use selection but did question the use of the Blue Orpington. Case in point and I will try to explain why. The orpington breed in general, English and American breeds have been and will be for a long time, a favorite choice amongst new comers or first time backyard hobbyists. Why? Lets just say it has more good points than any bad points to anyone that has owned them. A very healthy breed without many problems. Dual purpose fits them well if bred properly.
    The blue is of the Orpington family but not of the same features. The Blue Orpingtom came along after the death of the original creator of this breed. Keeping it within the family on how the new blue version came into the picture, a relative worked on the blue creation. It has been well suspected another breed was used not only for color but also for other genetics as well. Are you buying the sales pitch as yet? Well, blue orpingtons are anything but blue in color. They actually come in 3 colors of black, splash, and a silver gray and black combo with black hackles or all silver gray. The closest thing to blue on these birds are the color of their pin feather bones and gray slate legs. The traditional buff orp does not have the leg stealth that a blue does. Maybe breeder quality stock does.
    My whole point is that whomever created the blue strain using another breed made GAINS! Maybe the chocolate or other strains have those same gains also which makes them bigger and having more stealth also. I don't know. I must admit, I at first purchased them for there color but was awed at how large they were in comparison to the hatchery buff's I had previously owned. Tinkering with bird breeds to gain the best performance qualities from both birds is the true challenge. My mother always told me that I cam from good stock. Ha! Who were those people??

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