Culling Delaware flock

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by HighSpringsChix, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. HighSpringsChix

    HighSpringsChix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 23, 2008
    High Springs, FL
    I hatched 27 chicks about a month ago. I was hoping to keep them all until they were 12 weeks before I started culling, but the little buggers are eating me out of house and home. I never expected so many to actually hatch from 30 shipped eggs.

    I've noticed several of them have greenish/grayish legs. Do greenish legs ever turn bright yellow? If not, I think I'll sell them. I am trying to breed toward the SOP. Can't tell about combs, barring, body type, etc. so I thought I would start with leg color. Is it worth it? or should I just wait another couple of months.

    My hubby is already grumbling about feed costs, and telling me I only get ONE more coop and ONE more tractor, then that's it! [​IMG] [​IMG]
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    First, never start with leg color. Body type over all. Greenish legs or dusky yellow are quite common, but if you get the type right, you can later breed for leg color.

    Its WAY too soon to cull your Dels--they take months to develop their color. Even if the leg color is off, that is the least of the traits to cull for. They grow fast and eat like any other healthy chick would at that age. You won't know about most of the traits till they are at least teenagers. It's not an instant thing with this breed, even more so than others.

    Case in point: pullets are supposed to have tail black rather than the barring of the males. However, they can start with some barred tail feathers that will molt out later. My Gracie just now molted out hers and she is almost 17 weeks old.
  3. HighSpringsChix

    HighSpringsChix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 23, 2008
    High Springs, FL
    I guess I am jumping the gun. You are right, I should wait. It would not be smart to sell them before I even see what kind of body type they have. I'm just a little overwhelmed with so many chicks at one time, lol. I have 40 in an 9x9 coop, but we are processing the meaties this weekend, so I'll have more room then.

    Thanks for the reality check, Speckledhen. [​IMG]
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Patience is the key with Delawares. By about 8 weeks old, there may be some with seriously obvious faults that should be culled, but those will probably be in the minority. You can't know about temperament on the roosters till they are hormonal and chasing the girls, so that takes 16-20 weeks before you can make the final selection on the rooster. I feel your pain on the feed bill, though! It does cost a bit to keep them as long as needed to find your keepers.
  5. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Quote:No wonder you are going thru the feed!

    My Del girls are only 36 weeks and are still changing - body wise as they start to fill out.
  6. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    Quote:If you are looking for SOP in a delaware, do not cull until they are laying age. They change too much, they develop their adult "appearance" much later than most breeds. I have two pullets, 10 weeks old, that came from speckledhen's stock and they are much slower in appearances than any other breeds I have. I will not know what they will look like as adults for at least another 8 weeks.

    Listen to speckledhen's advice, she knows of which she speaks, especially on these Dellies because she has the most beautiful flock I have ever seen picutures of.

    As to the feed...those meaties eat three times the food those 27 delawares will. I have food available 24/7 for my girls...they eat about 50# per week, with 32 in the coop.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  7. joletabey

    joletabey SDWD!!!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    western NC
    Hold on to the Dels!!!! It will be better when you do what you do with your meaties!
  8. HighSpringsChix

    HighSpringsChix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 23, 2008
    High Springs, FL
    I have 40 chicks and 6 meaties, so the amount of food they have all eaten this last couple of weeks is impressive.
    I'll just have to remind the DH of the big picture, a beautiful flock of Delawares. I'm sure the yummy home grown chicken on Thanksgiving will help, too.

    Thanks for the advice!
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Good luck with them and we'd all love to see pictures of your Delawares. [​IMG]
  10. Laney

    Laney Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    Spring Hope, NC
    You should hop on over to the Show off your delaware's thread. We are having a great time over there!


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