Disappointment... Sigh...

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by WallTenters, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. WallTenters

    WallTenters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2010
    Sweet Home, OR
    So when our hatchery birds were up on the chopping block, we were happy to get a few good ones. We felt blessed - we were expecting them all to be "egg layers", not breeders, but we ended up with several very nice birds actually.

    When we bought from a private breeder, and have not a single pullet we'd like to add to our breeding flock, we're almost depressed... It was sickening writing "cull "cull" "cull" time after time on the notes we took of them today as we evaluated each one (9 weeks old now [should have been 8, but we've been swamped], then we look again at the best at 16 weeks, then again a few months down the road and look at egg laying). We have Dominiques, and some of these pullets were so dark they have black all the way up except the very tip of their comb. Several had single combs, even more had combs that dipped so far down at the end that their spike was almost buried. Lots of very rough combs with tons of bumps, to an extreme, so that the bumps were larger than the spikes. Others had wing and tail feathers with no barring at all (just dark dark grey/black) and where there is barring on the body it's a very dark grey color and no light grey. Legs are black, and some of the cockerels have very dark legs and beaks as well, and only one of the cockerels has a decent comb, but it's not great.

    We don't want to name the breeder, we know that they came highly recommended and we don't want to slander or anything - that's not at all what this is about. We're sure they have produced some great birds, or else they would have never been recommended, right? We're just depressed that all the birds have such bad faults after we were expecting greatness compared to the first dose of hatchery birds we had, and now we're left feeling more disappointed than we were the first time.

    Has anyone else experienced this? Do you get more excited about birds from recommended breeders, or have you all learned to not expect much until you see it yourself?
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010
  2. SilverPhoenix

    SilverPhoenix Bantam Fanatic

    Dec 15, 2009
    Penn Valley, CA
    This may be a naive comment of me, but is it possible they just need more time to fill out? I raise seramas and I posted a three-month old pullet I'm raising, saying I was thinking she would probably not be good for breeding because she doesn't have the best type, and to my surprise I got a bunch of comments saying "No, give her time, she'll probably improve as she grows up and be fine for breeding!" Could it be that these birds will improve as they get older and be worth breeding?

    Otherwise, it could just be luck of the draw. I know I've heard even from the best bloodlines, only, say, 10% of the birds end up being show quality birds. Also, sometimes birds have faults but produce beautiful offspring themselves.

    Anyway, regardless, I'm sorry you're disappointed with the birds you got! I hope they do improve given time.
  3. WallTenters

    WallTenters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2010
    Sweet Home, OR
    Well we weren't expecting SQ from this purchase, just better quality than what we got. We've talked about it, and we think we're going to sacrifice the coloring on a few of the pullets with the best tail sets as that's more important.

    At this age, you can tell what their combs are doing, and if they've got the right angles. We can tell a few of them have pinched tails and they'll be going to the stew pot. The ones with single combs we'll sell as pets/egg layers, since they've still got all the great qualities of the Dominique, but the standard currently calls for the rose comb.

    Sigh. Long day!
  4. Goose and Fig

    Goose and Fig Grateful Geese

    Apr 19, 2009
    Fall Creek Falls TN
    Breeder birds almost always take longer to develop. Especially LF. I would definitely give them more time.

    I've been disappointed by quite a few breeer birds as well, but I grow out everything I have room to house. Sell your culls,or keep them as "layers-only". Sometimes you'll have a hen that's too dark and a roo that's too light, and they can be used to even out faults.
  5. Ryu

    Ryu Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 6, 2009
    Exhibiton bred LF do take longer to mature, so I wouldn't judge too harshly on that right now. Squirrel or wry tails, other obvious faults won't go away, but I usually give my birds 6 months to fill out.

    As for the combs, in the standard it's only a couple of points--so sometimes not focused on by the breeders. If the single comb birds are the best birds otherwise, you should consider using them with a Rosecomb mating partner. Lighter roos can be used with darker hens to try and balance out the coloring.

    It's always a work in progress, and in my experience 1 out of 10 for a keeper is pretty normal for a new flock. In time you will get the percentage up, but there's always going to be more culls than keeps.

    I would advise trying to find a mature roo or pair of hens with the qualities you want to improve on to add in for next cross. It sounds like you a culling hard--the first step to building a nice flock. It is frustrating to not start where you want, but your next hatch will be better and the second should be really nice if you keep up the strict selection process.

    Good luck!

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