Hypothetical Cochin Breeding Questions

black_cat

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If you don't want splash chicks, you could breed black to blue. You will get half black chicks and half blue chicks, never any splash. Focusing on one color would be easiest, but black and blue would be pretty doable.

Inbreeding is not a bad thing if done properly. Always choose healthy chicks and never cross full siblings, and inbreeding is great. Inbreeding can reinforce all the good traits of your line. Some genetic diversity is also important, because inbreeding also reinforces bad qualities. Too much genetic diversity is bad because you will never get consistent type. A good balance is 2-4 sources of stock.

You can hatch as many eggs as you want, but more is better because you have to cull a lot. If you follow the rule of 10, you get one good chick out of 10, one great chick out of 100, and one exceptional chick out of 1000. It's a good rule to follow, because choosing the best chick out of 10 will improve your birds much faster than if you choose, maybe 5 okay chicks out of 10.

I personally do not let hens raise my chicks. Chicks need to be monitered as they grow, so you can track heath, rate of growth, and sort out early culls. This is much, much easier when you raise the chicks.


I'm not sure why you would sell unwanted show quality? Seems like they would be better for breeding. If they need to be culled form your program, you can sell them as pets or layers.

If you are doing bantam cochins, vent sexing would be dangerous and could kill the small chicks. You could learn how to vent sex them if you are breeding LF cochins. Most breeders sell chicks as straight run, or grow them out to six weeks and sex them. Cochins can be sexed pretty accurately at 6 weeks, so you could do that.

Handling the birds a lot throughout their life will make them calmer.

Some traits are easier to breed out than others. For your feathered feed example, I imagine feathered feed would be easier to breed in since it's a dominant gene. I don't know for sure.


It means a chicken only carries one copy of a gene. A chicken can be split for any gene.
If you don't want splash chicks, you could breed black to blue. You will get half black chicks and half blue chicks, never any splash. Focusing on one color would be easiest, but black and blue would be pretty doable.
That's a good idea- would it be harder to work on color/patterning on one color (say blue, for instance) if you had to use a black bird to create the blue chicks, instead of being to use two blues? Does that really make sense? Sorry if I'm being confusing.
Inbreeding is not a bad thing if done properly. Always choose healthy chicks and never cross full siblings, and inbreeding is great. Inbreeding can reinforce all the good traits of your line. Some genetic diversity is also important, because inbreeding also reinforces bad qualities. Too much genetic diversity is bad because you will never get consistent type. A good balance is 2-4 sources of stock.

So crossing bird to parent is ok? What about bird to bird from the same hen and different cock, and vice versa? These sources of stock are 3ish different reputable breeders, yes?
You can hatch as many eggs as you want, but more is better because you have to cull a lot. If you follow the rule of 10, you get one good chick out of 10, one great chick out of 100, and one exceptional chick out of 1000. It's a good rule to follow, because choosing the best chick out of 10 will improve your birds much faster than if you choose, maybe 5 okay chicks out of 10.
So you would want to hatch maybe 30 at a time? More? Less?
I personally do not let hens raise my chicks. Chicks need to be monitered as they grow, so you can track heath, rate of growth, and sort out early culls. This is much, much easier when you raise the chicks.
That makes sense. Is a quick growth rate or a slow growth rate better?

I'm not sure why you would sell unwanted show quality? Seems like they would be better for breeding. If they need to be culled form your program, you can sell them as pets or layers.

That's what I meant-unwanted girls/boys from the good quality breeding lines that don't quite make the cut.
If you are doing bantam cochins, vent sexing would be dangerous and could kill the small chicks. You could learn how to vent sex them if you are breeding LF cochins. Most breeders sell chicks as straight run, or grow them out to six weeks and sex them. Cochins can be sexed pretty accurately at 6 weeks, so you could do that.

I think I would be doing LF.
Handling the birds a lot throughout their life will make them calmer.
Some traits are easier to breed out than others. For your feathered feed example, I imagine feathered feed would be easier to breed in since it's a dominant gene. I don't know for sure.
It means a chicken only carries one copy of a gene. A chicken can be split for any gene.

👍
 

Amer

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These are great questions. I love SOP questions because I love seeing people interested in breeding.
The problem with this is that splash is not a recognized color for cochins.
Correct for the LF, but they are accepted in the bantams, so it depends upon which of those you’re interested in.
Would I just want to focus on one color, instead of the three? That would be easier, but if you love BBS, I think it would be more rewarding to raise them. In d’Anvers, I have the same dilemma. It’s hard to discard the perfectly good splashes, but I love the color blue, so it’s rewarding for me. However, picking just one color may end up being better if that is what you prefer. Black and white were brought to a high standard, but it’s kind of sad to see just two colors at a show. I would recommend that you pick whatever color looks the best to you from the best breeder you can find. https://www.cochinsint.com/variety-photos.html
Would I want to pick colors that breed true, and just keep them separate? Yes if you decide to pick colors that breed true, keep them separate. How many different sources do you have to use for birds to prevent over inbreeding? One. You can start with unrelated birds if you wish as a first cross to establish your own family, but after that, keep a closed family and don’t introduce any new birds. Fowl, unlike mammals, are usually unaffected by inbreeding, but outcrossing can bring unsavory outcomes. I would try to avoid outcrossing. In a rarer variety, you may only have one good breeder, so it’s best to get the best pair you can afford and start from there. If one of the parents is really good, breed the offspring back to that bird. If two of the siblings have traits that balance each other out, breed them together. Just remember that inbreeding brings up undesirable recessive traits, so try to eliminate them. https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/inbreeding-not-as-bad-as-it-may-seem.74335/
I’m glad to see you only are interested in one or two varieties and one breed. A mistake a lot of new breeders make is spreading themselves thin.
How many eggs do you usually hatch at once? I hatch about 200 in a year, but I wish I could do more, because many of those 200 aren’t really “my chickens.”
How many do you cull down to? I wish I didn’t have so many breeds (I personally chose two but it’s a family affair so there are others.) But I cull down to about 6 or 7 of the approximately 25 I raise of each of the varieties I own.
Ideally, I would cull to 10 percent of my birds, meaning I would ideally raise at least 100 birds. This year I made it a goal to hatch 50 bantam Buckeyes and 50 d’Anvers, so we’ll see how it goes.
For cochins, who are a broody breed, would you let the birds hatch their own eggs, or no? Absolutely! Many breeders hatch naturally. Personally I think it’s a bit of a hassle and I enjoy using the incubator and micromanaging their lifecycle, but if that attracts you, you should go for it.
 

Amer

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Do you ever sell unwanted cockerels and pullets as 'show quality xyz', or do you cull all of them?
I usually am not bold enough to call them that. As they are culls, they aren’t show quality. I simply call them “xyz cockerels” or “xyz pullets,” and if their merits sell them, good for them. I usually cull all the cockerels and then sell the pullets as layers. My buyers don’t come to swaps for show quality birds, they come for pet layers or meat birds. So it’s a good market. Sometimes I will sell cockerels for very cheap and people will buy them for meat. It doesn’t pay for their feed, but it does at least save me butchering time, and it’s much better than wasting good meat by throwing them out. If my culls are especially good, I’ll sell them in pairs or trios.
Do you vent sex your chicks or sell straight run? I don’t really sell chicks because that’s just less chicks to select from, but if I do, I just sell straight run. It doesn’t pay to know what they are, it just leaves behind a bunch of cockerels you don’t know what to do with.
How do you get your birds to the point where they're calm enough to show? Put them in cages and give them treats. I’d tell you to teach them how to display, but Cochins don’t need to. Cochins are docile and easy to show, but they’re very difficult to condition.
Are there some traits that are easier to breed out than others? (e.g. if a bird is great everywhere else but has poorly feathered feet, is it easier to fix the feathered feet, than, say, wrong eye color?) Yes. Unfortunately, I don’t know them in Cochins. The feathered feet is much easier than a recessive trait like vulture hocks. It’s easy to breed a poorly feathered bird to a good feathered one. While it takes effort to combine good traits in a bird, it’s much easier to fix type than any recessive trait. One thing you have to look out for is poorly feathered wings or split wings.
 

Amer

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If you don't want splash chicks, you could breed black to blue. You will get half black chicks and half blue chicks, never any splash. Focusing on one color would be easiest, but black and blue would be pretty doable.
That's a good idea- would it be harder to work on color/patterning on one color (say blue, for instance) if you had to use a black bird to create the blue chicks, instead of being to use two blues? Does that really make sense? Sorry if I'm being confusing. Yeah, it would be harder. While bluexblue gives you splash chicks, it is the cross I would recommend you use. You don’t know the pattern hiding beneath the black. I found out recently that even though I crossed blue and splash birds together, it didn’t lighten or improve the blues at all. The best thing you can do to improve blues is breed the best ones together.
Inbreeding is not a bad thing if done properly. Always choose healthy chicks and never cross full siblings, and inbreeding is great. Inbreeding can reinforce all the good traits of your line. Some genetic diversity is also important, because inbreeding also reinforces bad qualities. Yes, exactly!!! Too much genetic diversity is bad because you will never get consistent type. A good balance is 2-4 sources of stock.
So crossing bird to parent is ok? What about bird to bird from the same hen and different cock, and vice versa? These sources of stock are 3ish different reputable breeders, yes? Yep, all good! You don’t really need to get birds from different breeders as long as there is already genetic diversity in their stock. I would just ask the breeders themselves if there is, and if there are any recessive traits you need to look out for. Hopefully, they’ll be honest.
You can hatch as many eggs as you want, but more is better because you have to cull a lot. If you follow the rule of 10, you get one good chick out of 10, one great chick out of 100, and one exceptional chick out of 1000. It's a good rule to follow, because choosing the best chick out of 10 will improve your birds much faster than if you choose, maybe 5 okay chicks out of 10.
So you would want to hatch maybe 30 at a time? More? Less?
Hatch as many as your incubator can handle.
I personally do not let hens raise my chicks. Chicks need to be monitered as they grow, so you can track heath, rate of growth, and sort out early culls. This is much, much easier when you raise the chicks.
That makes sense. Is a quick growth rate or a slow growth rate better?
Quicker is a little better. Cochins are enormous birds so they’ll grow naturally slower, but among those birds you need to pick the faster growing birds because these birds will eventually reach the correct size. Also it means you are selecting towards less time until they are ready to show, which takes a long time in Cochins.
I'm not sure why you would sell unwanted show quality? Seems like they would be better for breeding. If they need to be culled form your program, you can sell them as pets or layers.
That's what I meant-unwanted girls/boys from the good quality breeding lines that don't quite make the cut.
If you are doing bantam cochins, vent sexing would be dangerous and could kill the small chicks. You could learn how to vent sex them if you are breeding LF cochins. Most breeders sell chicks as straight run, or grow them out to six weeks and sex them. Cochins can be sexed pretty accurately at 6 weeks, so you could do that.
I think I would be doing LF.
Handling the birds a lot throughout their life will make them calmer. x2 I forgot to mention this.
Some traits are easier to breed out than others. For your feathered feed example, I imagine feathered feed would be easier to breed in since it's a dominant gene. I don't know for sure. Well all Cochins have both copies of the gene for feathered feet, but some are more feathered than others.
It means a chicken only carries one copy of a gene. A chicken can be split for any gene.
 

Egghead_Jr

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Breeding Blues is a good choice as you can concentrate on one variety and still enjoy diversity of color in your flock. The down or up side of blue varieties is they are a challenge getting to SOP. IF you relish an uphill battle then blue is a great color to work with. The quality of birds usually can't compete against a solid color bird. Personally showing is not my thing. I just like to work with the birds attempting to improve them or at the least maintain the quality they are.

Blue varieties must be laced. The standard tone of blue should be Pigeon to slate blue. Not too dark and not too light. It's important to use a blue bird in every mating. If you have the depth of quality then all parents should be blue but that's not likely. Body type is everything and if you've a fine specimen that happens to be black or splash don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Use it but mate it to a blue. It's the lacing and tone of blue that make for the SOP of variety. This is why showing splash is undesirable and should not ever win. How can you tell if it's laced or will result in proper blue color offspring? Black from Blue matings can be shown as black birds but they will not compete against a true black.

The two things you need to monitor with mating of blue are the tone of color and that they are fully laced. You'll not know if a black has complete lacing nor can you tell with a splash. To not lose complete lacing all together a blue with proper lacing should be in every mating. The proper color is easiest to achieve with two blue of near the SOP color, one slightly darker one slightly lighter. This way all the chicks should be close to the mark. If you breed a really dark blue to a very light blue the offspring's color range will be just as varied. So this notion of simply breeding black to splash to beget all blue chicks is actually counter productive. The chicks blue color will range from light to dark with very few of proper color. You'll achieve better quantity of correct color and lacing if a blue bird of correct standards is used every mating. Breeding blue to blue over generations will lighten the blue. If there is ever a need to darken the birds simply breed to black. Breeding to a black bird will always darken blue.

I really like blue varieties. And no mater how many you hatch there will always be better body type in a black or splash. You must use them if the blues are not as good. In the end a breed is all about it's shape and type. You can't sacrifice quality body type for color. There in lies the difficulty of breeding non solid colors. Likely the answer as to why they can not compete in shows against a black or white bird of same breed. I kept two black pullets and a splash to evaluate for breeders next spring. I only kept one blue pullet, the quality and for some odd reason the quantity of blue pullets was lacking this year. I had plenty of blue cockerels to chose from thankfully.
 

Egghead_Jr

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1606488771845.png

Above picture taken from this link-
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/chicken-breed-colours.72479/

This bird has good color and proper lacing. All blue varieties MUST be laced. It's improper breeding of the variety that leads to them looking closer to Lavender. Washed out light color and no lacing. This bird is proper though a persons personal slant of blue tone is up to them as long as it's not too far from Pigeon or Slate. Slight range there for preference.
 

JacinLarkwell

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View attachment 2427002
Above picture taken from this link-
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/chicken-breed-colours.72479/

This bird has good color and proper lacing. All blue varieties MUST be laced. It's improper breeding of the variety that leads to them looking closer to Lavender. Washed out light color and no lacing. This bird is proper though a persons personal slant of blue tone is up to them as long as it's not too far from Pigeon or Slate. Slight range there for preference.
Huh. I always thought that was an individual feather edge. Learn something every day.

So then lavender and self-blue. Are they the same because Self Blue I've seen definately doesn't have that pattern
 

Amer

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Huh. I always thought that was an individual feather edge. Learn something every day.

So then lavender and self-blue. Are they the same because Self Blue I've seen definately doesn't have that pattern
“Self-blue” is a term for a pale, even shade of blue. Usually it means lavender but if a blue bird is pale and even you can show it as self-blue.
 

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