Hatchery sexlinks versus heritage bred sexlinks?

Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the Standard o' started by mojavemike1, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. mojavemike1

    mojavemike1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was wondering if Heritage bred (using 2 Heritage breeds) sexlinks were superior to hatchery sexlinks.
    I have 2 hatchery black sexlinks that produce nice extra large eggs...could the egg laying quality be improved?

    Thanks..
    Mike
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Hatchery Sex Links will always be superior to a heritage bred Sex Link in terms of laying ability. Heritage birds, though usually more vigorous and larger than their hatchery cousins, are almost never as good of layers as hatchery fowl. It's the price of keeping them in their pure and proper forms.
     
  3. Sydney Acres

    Sydney Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you're not satisfied with the egg laying in your Black Sexlinks, you either have some that don't lay well, or your expectations are perhaps a bit excessive for this breed. Most Black Sexlinks lay as well as a Standard bred leghorn, so 250-300 eggs per year, and the eggs are huge. Only the high-laying lines of Australorps (300-350/year), the white Leghorn lines that have been developed for increased laying, and the other laying hybrids (Red Star, Cinnamon Queens, etc) have similar or better egg laying rates. It is possible that you have a line, or just a few individuals, that aren't good layers. If laying rate is important to you and you like the Black hybrids, you might try getting some from a different hatchery and see if those produce better for you. There's probably lots of people on BYC that could recommend a hatchery that has Blacks that lay well.

    You might, emphasis on might, be able to breed your own Blacks that would do as well or better than a hatchery. You would need to start with a RIR rooster that came from a flock with a very high laying rate, 300 or more per year instead of just 200-275, and a Barred Rock hen that also had better than average laying (250 or better, instead of just 200). But realistically, finding the right breeders will probably be time consuming and possibly expensive, and breeding the chicks will require infrastructure and year round feed costs of the breeders. Then you have to decide what to do with the male chicks, since they're hybrids and shouldn't be part of a future breeding program (when you breed hybrids, the resulting chicks aren't predictable because there are too many variables, so you need to cross two purebreds to get offspring with predictable characteristics). Many of these high laying lines don't put on the same amount of flesh as the true dual purpose lines, so the cockerels may not be the best meat birds, although they could certainly be slaughtered for the meat they have, and then make fabulous broth. So it's a lot of trouble and expense to get just a few more eggs per year. Unless you consider it a personal challenge or even just a satisfying hobby, I can't imagine the effort would be worth the payoff, considering how easily available these birds have become from so many different sources.
     
  4. Sydney Acres

    Sydney Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mike, since you're in or near the Mojave desert, the heat may affect your bird's laying performance. Hen's don't lay well when it's so hot that they're frequently panting. Shade, fans, misters, and shallow containers of water for wading can be critical in your situation, as well as a diet that works well in that level of heat. Also, lighter colored and white birds may be less affected by the heat. Large combs for heat dissipation would also be important.
     
  5. Matt1616

    Matt1616 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How old are they?
     

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