Dreaming of Spring...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bobbi-j, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop

    Take the healthiest and best personalities and breed them.
    Keep track of offspring by banding them.
    Repeat choices and breed back to parents.
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    If I were faced with this situation: older hens, no roo, and wanting to re-populate my flock with chicks, this is what I'd do: I'd choose 2 or 3 breeds. For me that would HAVE to include Dominique and EE. Perhaps I'd add one more breed, just to increase flock diversity. I'd order pullets, and also order a couple of roos. Might even throw in some Pioneers or Red Rangers or CXR for the stew pot. I have to tell you that the last time I ordered chicks (2014) I included 10 Pioneers. I allowed the smallest one to remain in the flock after harvest day. That little gal was the first pullet to start laying that summer, and she was my most reliable layer. Her eggs sized up nicely: extra large, very dark brown with freckles. Her daughters are also nice layers. So... to end my very long story, I'd choose the breeds I wanted, NOT do straight run, order the roos of the breeds I wanted to continue in the flock, and pay attention to the charts in the Sex linked information thread so I could hatch some of my own sex links in future generations.
  3. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is a very dangerous thread...
    I pretended to not know what it was going to be about when I clicked on it, then just had to read it all, against my will...
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Free Feather - you got it right! Dangerous!

    Donrae - you need to check Sandhills- there is a difference.

    Mrs K
  5. blkjak

    blkjak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2014
    Manitoba Canada
    I have started thinking about which hens I am going to put with which roo. I think I will put my black EE hen (lays green) and my blue EE hen (lays green) plus my CL pullet with my CL rooster. Then all the pullet offspring will lay either green or blue eggs.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Well, if I go quality birds it's going to be barred Rocks for me. I like these Marans ladies I have but the breed just doesn't do it for me overall. I've seen the birds the really good Rock breeders have and they're simply [​IMG]. I'd beg eggs from someone like that. Wonder if they'd like my firstborn [​IMG]?
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I did some reading about SQ Barred Rocks, and in order to get the fine lines in the feathers, they select for SLOW feathering, which I understand tends to produce later egg laying in the pullets. After having experience with SQ Black Ameraucanas, who started laying at ELEVEN months of age, I'd inquire about production before adding them to my flock! I've never ordered from Sandhills either... Mary
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Spring Dreaming Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I have had many show quality birds, they are bums as far as laying, they are beautiful and tend to be easy going though, at least mine are.
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Breeding for health; Keep your good producers, and breed two year old or older birds. Keep them producing as long as possible, rather than only breeding young birds, as is usually done. Value the old ladies!!! Also, don't breed any bird who's been sick, even if recovered; injured and recovered maybe, but not ill. Select for good conformation, and cull poor behavior. When collecting eggs, only save the best ones; nothing oddly shaped or with a poor shell. I have managed to NOT buy an incubator, so I value my broody hens. Over time, the best egg producers will have the most offspring, a good thing if you don't trap nest. I necropsy every bird who dies of illness, so I know what's happening in my flock. Mary
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Mary, one thing I've noticed is that my gal's egg quality decreases as they get older. Their membranes and shell quality just aren't as good as the membranes and shells of birds in their first laying season. One thing I'd look for is second season girls with good egg quality! Over time, if one continues to hatch only from the best eggs, I imagine that egg quality will continue to improve.

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