Going "whole hog"

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MrChicken207, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. MrChicken207

    MrChicken207 Chillin' With My Peeps

    239
    0
    89
    Jun 4, 2010
    Caribou, Maine
    Anybody else get the feeling of just going whole hog with chickens. I'm talking ordering 25 or 50 per breed of 6 or 8 different breeds? I mean, there are so many different breeds that are on conservation lists and needing help. Alot of these breeds are dual purpose and would be good to sell off some of the eggs and freeze/give away/sell some of the extra males. Another idea I have is that, being in a very rural area quite far away from any of the major hatcheries, I could sell off live birds to local homesteaders (rural, and suburban) as well as provide some fresh blood for the local small farmers and Amish/Mennonite families to keep their backyard flocks thriving.

    Any thoughts or similar feelings? I'm pretty sure someone else in a rural area of New England, Montana, Alaska, or Canada has thought of this as well.
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,520
    136
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Certainly you can do that, IF you have considerable funds and facilities and time and energy available to do it properly.

    But you won't be "helping" "conservation list" breeds if you do that. Simple propagation of things sold under a rare-breed name is NOT any help to conserving a rare breed.

    If you want to help a rare breed, start with just one (indeed you may need to *stick* with just one, unless see above re: time/$/facilities), get excellent quality stock from an excellent source (that means, a private breeder who has been working with his lines for a long time and is breeding them close to the standard and for health and production qualities too) -- just obtaining such stock will be difficult! -- and then work on THEM. YOu will want to have at least a couple few dozen breeding stock, and produce AND GROW OUT at least a couple hundred chicks a year, from which you ruthlessly cull down to the 10% or so that is closest to what you want, and use only those for further breeding stock. Etcetera etcetera, year in year out.

    That ALONE is quite a project.

    You can certainly order quote "rare breed" unquote chicks from a hatchery and propagate them, and sell them to others, but it does nothing for breed conservation if that's what you're interested in.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  3. MrChicken207

    MrChicken207 Chillin' With My Peeps

    239
    0
    89
    Jun 4, 2010
    Caribou, Maine
    Wouldn't it be possible to start with hatchery birds and then select to the breed standard, then buy in some stock a couple of years later from a private breeder who has been doing so for a few years(their own strain), then with the new blood infused with the selected offspring from hatchery stock and through further selective breeding, then get stock from a different private breeder. Ultimately, after a dozen years or so it would end up being developed into a new strain of breed standard birds.

    That is essentially how most of the breeds that I'm thinking of were started in the first place (Welsummer, Dark Cornish, Delaware, NH Reds).

    I am aware that some of these breeds from hatcheries are production strains, not necessarily breeding true to the standard anymore.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,520
    136
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I am aware that some of these breeds from hatcheries are production strains, not necessarily breeding true to the standard anymore.

    I think the word you are looking for is "all", not "some" [​IMG]

    Wouldn't it be possible to start with hatchery birds and then select to the breed standard, then buy in some stock a couple of years later from a private breeder who has been doing so for a few years(their own strain), then with the new blood infused with the selected offspring from hatchery stock and through further selective breeding, then get stock from a different private breeder. Ultimately, after a dozen years or so it would end up being developed into a new strain of breed standard birds.

    Well, yes and no. Predominantly no.

    You could do that. If you were LUCKY, you might succeed in breeding hatchery stock to something approximating the breed standard before you died of old age. (It is far from guaranteed though. You can only work with what genes are there to begin with, and it is a slow process)

    However, this is not preserving the original gene pool of the breed. Hatchery birds labelled "<whatever> rare breed" often seem to have, ahem, been significantly outcrossed; and not particularly representative of what the breed gene pool ever WAS. Selecting from that unrepresenative gene pool isn't going to magically generate stuff that was never IN that gene pool to begin with, and so is not perpetuating many of the genetic traits of the original breed.

    Yet perpetuating the genetic traits of the original breed (population) is really kind of the POINT of breed conservation, isn't it? Otherwise you might as well start with completely 'other' stock and simply cross and select til you recreate the same appearance etcetera and call it good [​IMG]

    I dunno. I mean, you can do it obviously, if you want to. I just don't see that it achieves any useful GOAL.

    JMHO,

    Pat​
     
  5. roverjohn

    roverjohn Chillin' With My Peeps

    118
    0
    99
    Apr 7, 2010
    KCMO
    I find it hard to believe that any current 'rare' breeds are any more pure genetically since we have no access to past birds to do genetic testing. Just because a breeder says it's so does not make it so.
    So, if the OP can get birds to breed true to some arbitrary 'standard' there is no reason to think his birds would be any less 'pure'.
     
  6. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    909
    5
    121
    Jun 15, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    I have just recently placed an order for 25 RIRs only because they are pure, single comb, due in March 20ll. They will be kept seperate from the other birds because I don't want any Hienz 57 breeding. The wife said I should get rid of the ones we have......................YEAH, RIGHT!!!![​IMG] Let her tell that to our Grandson!
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2010
  7. MrChicken207

    MrChicken207 Chillin' With My Peeps

    239
    0
    89
    Jun 4, 2010
    Caribou, Maine
    That's kind of what I'm trying to say. I mean, those hatchery birds had to come from somewhere at some point in the past, so they do carry some of the genetics of the "original" breed. In many cases, I think, the hatcheries are just allowing the birds of the breed to mate freely and not selecting out undesireable traits. When people bring their birds to the shows, the judges aren't so much interested in the pedigree of the bird as they are the bird representing the standard.
     
  8. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    909
    5
    121
    Jun 15, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    Go to a heritage or show breeder if you want close to true breed. I got hatchery barred rocks and the hens don't have the nice sharp barring of a flock I had a few years ago from a local breeder who has since passed. I won't be getting hatchery birds anymore.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2010
  9. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,852
    44
    249
    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    Quote:True, although I wonder if anyone has ever taken a hatchery bird and been able to show it successfully? I didn't think you were likely to get a show quality bird ordering from a commercial hatchery.

    And that's the point, I think. If you start from weak stock, careful future breeding is only going to take you so far.
     
  10. MrChicken207

    MrChicken207 Chillin' With My Peeps

    239
    0
    89
    Jun 4, 2010
    Caribou, Maine
    Thats the point of bringing in the good genetics from the private breeders, after you've already done the work of taking out the mutations.

    I do know that 4-H students show hatchery chickens quite successfully, but thats definitely not the same thing.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by