Originally Posted by Yellow House Farm Hmmm....I'd offer some different ideas. Outcrossing is actually very hard to see through to completion. It takes major dedication, very high numbers, and ruthless on-going culling. There's actually nothing easy there. If you keep enough breeders and manage your program, keeping strict records, wing-banding, toe-punching, maintaining multiple cocks, you don't need to bring in new blood as long as you began well. With rare breeds, if one is really intending to work with them, one needs to maintain either alone or with other equally long-term committed breeders a large enough program to be self-containing, or one will be forced to bring in other blood which will likely be a step down. @Shellz: Being the bearer if hard tidings isn't easy, but Malines were a difficult choice for beginning. They are not in the SOP. There is no established bloodlines surrounding them in North America. You won't have a standard to breed to or mentors to support you save this fellow who has them. I totally--100%--applaud your move to settle on one breed, but before you open Pandora's box and lose another season or two,, I'd honestly--politely--but honestly recommend recycling the eggs, and getting an SOP standardized bird. On many levels, Malines are dead end. I know this falls as a disappointment, but in the long-run you're going to find yourself fairly alone with your Malines. There's so much fun community to be had otherwise. Best, Joseph --------------- Hi, Well, with experience, I gotta agree with Yellow House. I am always seeking the road less traveled and love to take something and make it better, I started in Golden Salmon Marans. The rarest of the Marans colors. Just love the BBR cock with the salmon-breasted, stippled hen. Not accepted in the SOP. I started 5 times in 2 years, trying to find something worthy of a foundation flock. Nada. So out of frustration, I left Marans and decided to maybe try Euskal Oilia. The Basque hen. Also not SOP. I was vigorously studying them when it began to dawn on me from reading various threads on BYC, just how much time and work it really takes to bring back a breed. I was thinking like dogs, maybe 3 generations. But the experts were talking "decades", even longer if one had a difficult color in their chosen breed. As I remember, Malines is a cuckoo breed. It is one of the main founding breeds behind the French Marans. Yes, you could cross a Cuckoo Marans with a Malines and go from there. But all this aside, Who was I to think I could accomplish more quickly what the veteran breeders were strongly warning was going to take decades to do and require 1,000's of chicks along the way? Few people have the facilities of breed those kinds of numbers. I don't. I was thinking I could be the exception until it dawned on me, none ( Yup, none) of the experts with decades in poultry agreed with me. There wasn't a single exception out there for me to use as an ally. I sat down and reconsidered. Then decided to go with Light Sussex. An SOP breed with a rich literary history in English. Yes, those translations are a bear to get the nuances out of, sigh. I worked with them a lot when I was Director of Archives for the Marans Of America Club. Now I have birds from a show strain and can spend my poultry time making a bird with a fine heritage even better. I also have the camaraderie of fellow breeders to help me, instead of constantly receiving relies to me queries stating, "I don't know".. Best Karen P.S Yes, I still am on the road less traveled, smile. Walt offered me the opportunity to obtain a strain of pure English strain Light Sussex. I am enamored, smile. And enjoying my birds.