Dominiques: selection for dual purpose qualities?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by triplepurpose, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I really wasnt sure what topic to put this under--if someone thinks it would fit better somewhere else you're welcome to move it...

    I am raising some Dominiques for the first time that we got fom Ideal, and I noticed that they seem very sexually dimorphic especially noticeable from around 4 weeks on. The pullets look petite, almost like little leghorns, while the males are beefing out and remind me of the dark cornish cockerels we raised in the past for meat. I guess all breeds eventually diverge in form along gender lines, and maybe I've just been developing a keener eye for form and such things, but I've been struck by how early these seem to be diverging and how neatly this seems to suit dual purpose needs (big meat birds, little layers).

    Anyway, it got me wondering though how one goes about selecting breeders out of such stock. Frugal eggs are our main goal. But I do like the promising meatie qualities of these cockerels. I've read that when selecting for laying, one also selects roosters for similar form as hens to improve/maintain egg production potential in the offspring (ie, the sires also determine the form of the daughters). But what if you want to have your cake but eat it a little too? Can't you select females for the layer qualities you want and males for the meat bird qualities, or will you be working at cross purposes against yourself? the form of these little doms seems to suggest otherwise, but how might one reconcile this? and how would one make their breeding selections in that case?
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  2. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, here are some pics of the little ones by way of illustration. they were just a couple days over 4 weeks when i took these.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][/IMG]
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I find it easy to pick out my little roosters by 4 weeks, and some even sooner. The more familiar you become with keeping chickens the more apparent and easy sexing most of them is.
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I think I would check the standards of the breed.
     
  5. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have in past raised a lot of mixed flocks, mutts, and EEs, so never had too much faith in my assesments till i saw hackle or saddle feathers... tho it seemed like my hunches were usually right... :)
     
  6. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I plan on using that heavily as a guide too for sure. I guess Im just the kind of person who likes to get a grasp of why and how things work, not just what is commonly done... I'm also not breeding for show or anything so am not opposed to deviating from the SOP where it may serve our own flock better here--to me that honors the heritage of the breed too. I am also aware that Doms were developed in New England and the East Coast originally, and forms that were perfectly adapted for there may not be perfect for Hawaii... or for our specific farm. I will def be refering to the standard tho for general guidance as well as continuing my research... :)

    having a self sustaining heritage flock has been my dream for a while and so far Im very taken with these little guys...
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    when I mentioned the standards, it was not the "for show" reasons. The standards should have a lot of information on what a dominiques should have as characteristics. For instance, if your birds are not laying as much as considered correct in the standards, it is probably the bird, not the breed. If your males are getting meaty and weigh more than the standard, again it might not mean the breed, but rather that particular bird.

    Mostly to do what you are considering, you have to keep religious records, and a sharp knife. Basically you want birds that produce the most amount of eggs with the heaviest carcass. I just thought the standards would be a line drawn in the sand so to speak to judge the birds you have. Pick the best ones and breed them.

    Mrs K
     
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  9. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey, thanks all for the thoughts shared!

    Mrs K, I do understand the breeds standards arent just for showing, but also relate to the practical traits of the breed. And I did appreciate the point you made--sorry if that came across weird in my wording...

    Does anyone know of any resources relating to how to track the growth of chicks in regards to the breed standard? I can so far only find information on what adult birds should be like, but surely how they grow and develop as chicks should also be important to the breed standards...?

    I am in hawaii, in a windward microclimate (plenty rain throughout the year). temps range between low 90s in summer highs to around 60 nighttime winter lows. I think the biggest challenge here to sustaining a flock through generations is probably parasite pressures--we often lose a few hatchery birds when they get put outside. (That, and the high price of feed.) there is yearround wild bird activity on our farm, including wild chickens. A potential plan for the future of a self-sustaining flock may well include careful introduction of the local, game-like wild blood into the flock to improve resistence to local coccidia, fowl pox, etc in future chicks. we shall see, still rather hypothetical. I have decades of experience keeping chickens, I am just very new to the subject of selective breeding--but learning much. I have some more good books arriving soon in the mail to continue our research as our latest chicks continue to mature.

    perhaps someday i will be fortunate to live some place where i can find support and obtain stock from local breeders of heritage birds...

    Thanks again for the advice!
     

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