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Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the SOP' started by Yellow House Farm, Feb 3, 2011.
Looks delish! And that is the difference between a well bred bird & hatchery stock! Well done YHF!
Thank you Yellow House!
This photo speaks VOLUMES!!!! No words needed.
I wish there were more out there. I think what you are doing with the White Dorking is wonderful and more should be studying and applying this to their home flocks.
Kudo's to you.
YHF at what age do you butcher your dorkings?
Definitely agree with more people should be using their birds as the food sources they are. I roll my eyes at the "pet" people, they are destroying poultry.
As far as getting birds out of Canada, when talking with Canadian exhibitors I have learned they are supposed to take the same birds back across the border. To the point that even leg bands may be checked. Now this obviously isn't foolproof and I certainly know some birds go across permanently both ways, but legally there is a lot of extra expense, permits and such that are supposed to be done for birds permanently going across the international border.
BGMatt-- you might look at the hatchery birds as a vehicle to introduce the average person to chickens and poultry. It was because of a "pet" chicken that made me put aside my allergies to chickens and take in a hen in need of a new home. She was a delight and we were hooked on chickens.
I bought the hatchery egg layers which I had figured were basically laying machines. Eventually I found Bob BLosl who introduced me to the heritage birds in general and a young member of BYC who introduced me to Don Schrider. I now have BCM, blue ameraucanas, and a number of turkeys ( AUburns, bourbon Reds, sweetgrass and Narrigansetts). I have MR RHodes new cell number here in front of me because I want BUckeyes and another fellow needs a new male. I have learned to butcher both chickens and turkeys. I can pickle eggs and make home made ice cream from duck eggs.
All because of a pet chicken named Arielle.
Thanks all! Two seasons later, more progress has been made. I'll post pics of this year's birds when the time comes.
I slaughter at 24-26 weeks, which is the optimal time for most breeds as free-range roasters, meaning birds best cooked in Dutch ovens or Le Creusets. They are delicious.
Thanks, Extra Java!
I do, too, and I spread the news about it as much as possible. The largest stumbling blocks people hit are:
A. Wanting to keep too many breeds. This is a numbers game; one in so many is worth moving forward as a breeder. The usual number "one in ten" is given, but this is, of course, a generalization. Depending on the current state of the best available strains of a breed--because one should always begin with the best available strains--regardless of price, one might reserve one in ten, but one might also try to reserve only one in twenty or thirty. Most people can only raise one breed well with the facilities, time, and money that they have. It seems to me that some people also come up with excuses to justify having more than one breed, which psychologically might justify it but which will not alter the outcome of too few chicks raised. As a rule, yet another generalization, look to raise 100 chicks per breed, which means, if one can only raise 150 chicks--stick to one breed. If one is to raise under 100 chicks, then certainly stick to one breed.
B. People not choosing the right breed for what they're doing.
And it has been said that “few are the people who are ready to raise 200 birds and cull down to 15”. This is exactly how to improve a breed especially when utility is the goal! It's much different than a hatchery who just has one pen full of whatever breed vs. a private breeder who will have a minimum of 2 pens or more of the SAME breed...hatching and culling. FOCUS.
I also understand people choosing multiple breeds new to chickens...just trying a few out to see which they will ultimately focus on. I am one who thought I tried Dorkings but then realized that just because they were Dorkings....well, they didn't look a thing like YOUR Dorkings on a platter. You get what you pay for that's for sure.
All the Best to You!
YHF-- I think you are totally right. As I have been trying to learn my craft of raising and hatching chickens, I too have come to the conclusion that 1-2 breeds is enough. So I will be culling down this summer and fall.
It is a matter of numbers.
Outstanding thread! I've had similar thoughts rambling around in my head and reading the last 35 pages has really brought it all together and solidified my resolve and course of action. I have two years left at my current residence which is 3 acres before I'm ready to move back to 50+ acres. I guarantee I will be spending that time figuring out which breed I will be concentrating on. I really would like to stick with one breed but I'm open to two. I currently have some Orpington chicks that came from the feed store not quite sure where they got them. I grew up with a flock of Brown Leghorns but we only used them for eggs. I really loved those chickens and wonder if they would serve as a good dual purpose bird. The Orpington have been great so far but I'm not sold on them 100%. I will definitely be looking at other birds and try to find what we all are looking for in the perfect chicken. I will also be monitoring this thread very closely as I feel like I've found some like minded folks. Thank you all for the inspiration and direction.