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Dreaming of Spring...

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

  1. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    So true, and it's because nearly nobody keeps breeding stock for more than that good first year. It make economic sense, but it's very poor genetics. I want healthy long-lived birds who can produce for more than one or two years! Mary
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    The best laying occurs in the second season. So, it DOES make sense to look at those second season birds, look at their production record for past season, as well as moving into the second season, and choose the best eggs from those hens. Now, if you have a hen moving into 3rd year who is still laying good quality eggs, with good shell, as well as a good tight yolk membrane, and nice viscous albumen... those are the eggs that you want to snag and save EVERY single daughter she produces. Unfortunately, I find that those LARGE eggs just don't hatch as well as the smaller ones.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    But isn’t getting a good layer worth a little worse hatch rate?

    My rotation is not set up for that, but I generally don’t keep any hen after three years anyway. I’m not one of those looking for great productivity in later years so I’m guilty of judging pullets, not hens. I try to be a little careful of which hen’s eggs I hatch but that’s just the eggs that get set. I don’t track which chick comes from which egg so some luck is involved in trying to better my flock.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Absolutely. I'm sure as time progresses, I'll be getting a better handle on my husbandry methods. My flock is big enough that I have no way of knowing which hen is laying which egg at this point. So, I'll be choosing my next generation based solely on egg quality. But, it stands to reason, that the more productive hens will statistically have more of their eggs going into the bator. Of course, I'll also be continuing with my gender selection experiment. So... statistically... if any particular hen has a tendency to produce more female offspring, that will also be likely to show up in the next generation of chicks. As I will be setting more than one batch of eggs, I could do my second set with those larger eggs, so they can get preferential treatment in terms of humidity geared to producing the optimal air cell size for them. As I recall, those larger eggs produce wetter chicks.
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Overrun With Chickens

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    At this point, I'm not so much doing *breeding* so much as *hatching eggs*. If I get a broody or decide to incubate, I put whatever eggs I have under the hen or in the bator. I may get more selective as time goes by. Mostly I'd like heavy hens covered by a heavy rooster so I can have a dual purpose flock of mutts that will give us eggs and meat.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    So do you segregate the hens(and cocks?) before setting to hatch?
    I'd think you'd need to do that and band the chicks to know about the gender propensity?
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Overrun With Chickens

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    Does anyone have experience and opinions on dark Cornish?
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    No, I do not. I only have one rooster. (EE with blue egg gene) He covers: BSL (from my previous year's chicks) Dominique, SLW, Pioneer, RCBL. When I started doing the egg shape gender selection, my pullet hatches increased from 40% to 60%. This has stayed consistent for the last 3 selected hatches, compared to 2 previous hatches that were 60% male. Interestingly enough... from all of the chicks that I hatched last season (47) there was only one that was a surprise as far as gender goes. All the rest could be identified by feather color or leg and comb color at hatch. Let me clarify that by saying that at hatch, I suspected I was seeing the leg and comb color being an indicator. As they developed secondary sexual characteristics, my suspicions were confirmed.

    OK, Aart... I just went back and read your post, and now think I understand what you were getting at... You were asking how I would know if a particular hen was producing more female eggs. Is that what you were getting at? Yeah, I'd have to be a lot more scientific to find that out. I'm not set up to do that. What I was trying to say was: If I continue to set eggs that produce a higher percentage of females... statistically, if there was a hen in the flock that produced more female eggs, I'd be setting more of those eggs, and therefore... over time would be more likely to produce more daughters that had that same tendency... if it's genetic. There are more and more folks who are undertaking this experiment. Where the info you are asking about will come out is with the folks who have a smaller flock, and they can identify a particular hen's eggs based on shape, color or other markers... then... look at that hen's pullet/cockrel ratio. Especially interesting will be a comparison between hens who typically lay golf ball eggs and those who lay pointed torpedoes! Does that golf ball laying hen produce more pullets? Does that torpedo laying hen produce more cockrels?
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  9. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    As your wanting a bird with a bit more meat on their bones and purchasing from a hatchery you'll want to go with an ubber heavy bird knowing it will be smaller from hatchery stock but lay better than from a breeder. What jumps to mind is Jersey Giants. Not traditionally known as even a good layer and in the super heavy class. A friend had these hatchery stock, big birds but not to standard weight and very good layers. That's hatchery for you.

    I like birds that more closely resemble the breed ordered. If getting from hatchery I'd opt for a breed they recently obtained so haven't had much time to diverge it from standard. Chantecler would fit that criteria and a good choice of bird if your in a northern climate with it's cushion comb and true dual purpose intent of breed. Canada's only bird of origin that had resurgence of popularity in Canada and improvement of stock (national pride maybe) so American hatcheries took them on recently. Another breed that hatcheries recently took on is the Buckeye. That was a breed that needed much attention nationally. Can't remember the conservancy effort name but in a nut shell it was brought back from near extinction and put back to standard traits. Once this was done and national interest peeked due to journalist attention the hatcheries picked up a bunch of that improved stock and have only a few years now in their intensive work to destroy the work that was done.

    You can tell I'm an advocate of standard bred birds. You know exactly what your getting as all you need to do is read the breed description and purchase from a reputable breeder. With hatchery stock and wanting dual purpose birds my vote is:

    Jersey Giant
    Chantecler
    Buckeye
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    " egg shape gender selection"

    And which shape is which gender?
    50/50 chance, right?


    Read that torpedos were all(ways) males......disproved(?) that when my torpedo girls eggs hatched 50/50.
     

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