Culling silkies

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by joe17, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. joe17

    joe17 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2009
    When do all of you silkie breeder cull? I was thinking about culling at three months but dont know exactly what to look for yet. What should a 2 or 3 month old look like or does it just depend?
  2. racuda

    racuda Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2008
    North Carolina
    I am interested in this too. Would you cull for crest size at 3 months or could a sparse 3 month crest become magnificent later?
  3. Bat Cave Silkies

    Bat Cave Silkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 11, 2010
    Bat Cave, NC
    Immediately after hatch, I cull any bird that has a definite fault, such as four toes or a single comb.
    Then I hold onto EVERY bird until they are sexed, and sometimes after that.
    Silkies change soooooo much as they mature; I've made the mistake of culling at two months, only to see a bird I sold mature into a stunning show bird.
  4. Brody's Broodello

    Brody's Broodello Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 9, 2009
    After having the bloodlines for multiple years, I can tell a look from a bird hatched here early. Since our goal is showing, anything that does not have a chance to get to champion row is culled. Those birds that are not kept Have gone on to do well for others, just not what we are looking for. ie we sold birds that went on to win Reserve Champion at one fair, and Overall Grand Champion at another this year. These were sold at 3 months and were imo Breeder Quality/SQ. But not SQ for what I was looking for. They had minor faults that I did not want to breed on. The whole goal here is to breed better birds from year to year. So if they are not better than their parents they are for sale. The one's sold to the 4H kids were sold with full disclosure of their faults, not to say they were bad, just not up to my standards. I received wonderful emails from their parents who were surprised that the birds did, they couldn't believe that I was able to predict how well the birds would do. But like I said, having bred these lines for a number of years I have seen the results in all stages of developement.

    What I would suggest would be get the standard and cull to that. The culls could be sold through adds at feed stores, craigslist, livestock auctions, BYC, or online auction sites. Contact your local 4h leaders and let them know you'll have birds available. Adds in local newspapers all these are places you could sell the birds.

    If you show the birds and have done well, you really won't have to advertise much at all, buyers will find you.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  5. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    If you are new to silkies, I would recomend that you wait until you see an actual fault that you want to get rid of, like the most obvious at hatch, missing or extra toes, completely lacking any feathering on the middle toe. As far as the crest size, things like vaulted skulls are a matter of personal preference. If any develop cross beaks, cull them. Split wings can be seen fairly early. I wouldn't go heavy handed at hatching time, as some wing joints take a little time to get strong. Low wingset, if it is a warm day, can be deceiving. They may just be trying to cool off. I have had some really gangly, awkward chicks and started birds turn out to look REALLY PRETTY later on. Comb and wattle color and type and size you won't know until they reach sexual maturity pretty much. Some of my young birds had very nice crests, then time in the flock and breeding has taken its toll on their girlish good looks. Their crests are sometimes short and uneven later in the breeding season.

    Just saying, you need to grow some out, even some ugly ones just to pay your dues and see how your lines of birds mature. Some you can tell a lot early, some change a LOT, for better and for worse.
  6. Three Cedars Silkies

    Three Cedars Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 17, 2008
    Gainesville, Fl.
    Cull at hatch for DQ's. The rest I can usually tell by 6 weeks if they have potential and will sell some as PQ's then. The others, I always grow out until about 4 months. I have a really nice 5 month old black cockerel that I thought was VERY average at 2 months and wasn't all that impressed at 3 months, but by 4 months he was looking look. He is getting better and better. Now I'm glad I kept him!

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