Just wanted to share photos of our 6-week-old hatch!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Achelois, Oct 30, 2014.

  1. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2013
    We're just a family raising for eggs, looks and fun for the children, so we have a mix of mainly heritage breeds crossed to first gen hybrid mutts - but we are raising extra this year hoping for some rugged, pretty hybrids to sell and hubby is going to eat the roos while I'm not watching! We hatched several clutches last Spring but they were all with bought eggs. This is the first time we've hatched from scratch.

    The first hatch was a bit of a surprise though. Our roo is a Light Sussex so all babies are his.

    I hatched some from our gingernut girls expecting some pale ginger Sussex looking hens, but unfortunately they are virtually indistinguishable from the three purebred LS we hatched out! She's 3/4 Light Sussex & 1/4 Rhode Island Red.

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    This was my experiment with a sex linked cross. I wasn't sure if it would work mating my LS roo over the barred rock girls. I hatched three of those, and two of them looked exactly like barred rocks, starting out with a spot on their little dark heads. Those are roos without a doubt. This one I believe is a girl and she's patterned quite differently. Her back is completely dark, unlike the boys:

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    This one was the biggest surprise of the lot, but perhaps that just shows my naivety when it comes to avian genetics. I hatched her from my purebred lavender Araucana girls (British standard, so they have tails). Now, I would have thought if you cross a white bird with a grey bird you'd get a bird that's grey, white or in between, but clearly not! I think she's gorgeous with her pea comb, head tuft and white ear lobes...husband thinks she's just another brown chicken. Her brother is somewhat speckled all over, so I'm not sure this look is something I can repeat - I'd like to, though. Hoping their eggs should be a pale blue/olive, given that gene IS dominant, right? We're keeping this one as she's pretty and we'd like to see what she lays.

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    So, I've also hatched some purebred Light Sussex as I mentioned before, which are much harder to pick from the crosses than I thought they'd be. They seem vigorous and healthy but is it ethical to breed these to sell, since they're half-full brother-sister crosses? I've heard you can breed up to six generations before getting a new roo but that sounds like a lot. Mind you, we are small town folk now ;-)
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    They're cute. You had me at 'mongrel' haha, I love my mongrels. How strange that your last one has a white ear patch above her earlobe, that's unusual. Her coloring you should be able to recreate, but watch out for the barring taking over the partridge/duckwing patterning if you cross them. I had to eradicate all barred birds to retain the laced/partridge/wild type patterned ones. Her legs look unusually short, too, or is that the camera angle?

    Most people inbreed. I inbreed all birds at least once, usually more, to see what bad genetics they're carrying, even when you get new unrelated stock in it's best to test breed because there is always something lurking. Every breed has some bad genetics, basically. Even crossing unrelated birds you're still going to have some bad genes getting passed on, often invisibly. Sometimes a new cross between unrelated birds produces a new defect neither parent line showed in offspring with others.

    The problem with everyone saying inbreeding is ok for a few generations is that they're assuming you're starting with completely unrelated stock, but in reality, since so many people are already inbreeding for those few generations (or nonstop in many cases, too) you're often actually starting off with all-inbred birds in the first place.

    As a general rule of thumb inbreeding to produce birds you're going to allow to breed or sell as breeders should only be done with a good idea of what genetics they carry and what outcome you want, and with preparation to cull ruthlessly, as it's rather likely you'll produce some birds with problems sooner or later. Often a heck of a lot sooner than you expected, unforrtunately. I would not do brother-sister myself. The last thing you want to do is produce a lot of lovely, beautiful animals you get attached to, then later on with more education under your belt, look at them through new eyes, or see their offspring, and know you've got to stop breeding their faults on or even cull them.

    Sorry to be a bit of a downer there, I found some of this sort of stuff out the hard way so I hope to help others avoid doing the same. My biggest mistake was not inbreeding to begin with, ironically; everyone says unrelated stock is pretty safe but that was so far from the truth in my case. I got the most stupendous amount of bad genetics from a few unrelated birds, and how amazingly dominant those genetics turned out to be. Sometimes I'd cross unrelated lines and something new and virulently fatal showed up in their cross; that happened to me with early-onset leukosis between unrelated parents.

    Now, I have multiple different family lines, and when I get new stock in, I cross them with every line I can, then inbreed their offspring back to them, perhaps even their grand-offspring too. Then I eat them all, lol. ;) Well, actually, I rehome the best as pets or layers for others, but I always tell them they're inbred and whatever other faults I found in them. Most people don't want to know, unfortunately, which only perpetuates problems. I've learned to vet who I sell to carefully, so they're not going to go breeding on a bad trait. Anyway, after inbreeding I will have a solid idea what sort of likely issues they have.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2013
    Thanks for your advice! You're not a downer; I like realists.

    Quote: I love the ear patches! That with the araucana hairdo...she reminds me of a 1920s flapper which makes me smile. I'd love to get just the breast pattern, the neck ring and the ear patches without all over speckles. There's no barring in her history that I know about, which is why this surprised me - I can see the sussex neck ring on her and the barred rock cross, but that wee girl (Tweet, as named by the 10-year-old) is 50% pure lavender araucana and 50% light sussex. I have more of them brooding to see if it happens again as I can see them being popular little birds, although I do feel a bit sorry for the roos who won't have much on them for eating. For some reason, the thought of killing little roosters makes me sadder. It seems wasteful somehow, although I know that's a silly way to think. Not that I eat chicken anyway ;)

    Legs look the same as all the others, I think that's just the camera angle. Here's another one, still with some foreshortening:

    [​IMG]


    Quote: That's the thing...I really don't know how many lines these birds had been bred for before I got them :/ I really only bred the two together because I was begged for a light sussex just for looks and no one around here is selling them - a friend wanted to steal my Betty White! But now I know I can get a virtually identical looking bird that's 1/4 rhode island red I think I'll go with that - most folk around here are lifestylers or backyarders who aren't wanting to breed their own but just want a pretty flock to look at. Which is how we started out, I guess. The only birds that have gone to breeders are some of last year's roos, but these ones are for the pot.

    Quote: How soon do these problems show up, generally? Are they obvious deformities and things that will kill them as chicks, or horrid things that shorten their lives later on? That worries me a lot more.

    The only peculiar thing I've noticed - and I don't know if it's a 'thing' at all - is that the 1/4 rhode island red chicks have the ugliest beaks. It's apparent when they hatch, that the beak is huge and follows the curve of the skull rather than abruptly narrowing down...like a dinosaur or a puffin. Not sure if you can see it in the first photo, but geez, those beaks were ugly. It could be the Rhode Island red, perhaps...I know when my gingernuts come inside I get flashbacks to the 'raptors in the kitchen' scene.


    Quote: I'm also aware that being in New Zealand, an island nation of 4 million people...everything and everyone is a little bit related ;-) Import laws are strict as we have a lot of endemic bird species, and there are breeds I'd LOVE to import and breed - like Marans - ones that are simply not available here. One day, when I have a lifestyle block and a few spare thousand I'll take the gamble!

    Quote: Faults meaning health issues, or just not perfect breed standard? We're just breeding pretty backyard layers really, not going towards any kind of show quality bird - we don't have the space for it. Of course, I'm indebted to those who do or else all our birds would look like red junglefowl. There are people I won't sell to though - like someone I know who has about as many roosters as hens and the hens are miserable and their backs scratched bare, and I've told her, but nothing's changed :/
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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  5. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote: I didn't know this - hence my surprise at getting a bird that looked like a thrush! I hope I do get more. She's more docile than the pure araucanas, more like a Sussex. The araucanas are the most wild of the chickens we have - even more so than the skittish orpingtons we adopted.


    Quote: Oh, the dad's big enough - I think they'll be okay eating. Not like supermarket chicken, but we're foodies anyway. Pity I'll only do fish.
    It's the araucana X male I have - he's docile and he won't be very big, so I feel sorry for him somehow. I think the barred rock crosses will be the easiest to do in - barred rock boys are so angry after the first few weeks!

    Quote:
    No, I don't think so, but they are light birds. I only put half a dozen eggs under those girls. They are the most like wild birds of all the ones I have, really built for flight. That's one of them as a chick in my avatar. They flew up into trees at four weeks and were nearly impossible to get back. Learned my lesson then...

    I like having a range of breeds not just for looks, but I know exactly who is laying what. Really hope this new girl will be some kind of olive-egger.
    Quote: Good to know! I don't know if there is a single brahma in NZ though. Buff orps more likely. I really want to get Welsummers from down South before that line is gone forever here...nice dark egg layers. It's the problem with having only an average urban section. We're not even supposed to keep a roo, but he was our first hatched and we fell in love...you know how charming roo chicks can be. He's an angel with the girls; climbs in the nest box to show them where to lay and clucks to sort out any disputes until they share the favourite box. And he's well-trained, never aggressive and wouldn't run at or threaten the toddlers.

    Quote: I think it was more pronounced when they were younger. I was dismayed at their ugliness. They're pretty enough now, but to me, a bird should have a proper defined beak. It's from the mum's side though...the other babies don't have those beaks, just the ones from the gingernuts. Those girls are funny looking too though, and they must be our healthiest birds and do all the right chicken things, so who knows? The behaviour is definitely important to me. We're going for free-ranging, pretty, happy birds that know how to be chickens. Egg-laying, yes, but then all the breeds are dual-purpose or egg-layers - if all people want is peak production units, there are hilines and shavers for that, but I'd get bored looking at a dozen of those - the kids like to name and identify the ones we keep :)

    Gutted that they'd destroy all those birds for salmonella! I'm a conservationist at heart and I really do get the need to protect our wild birds...but salmonella? Geez :/
    Quote:
    The alpha rooster is a bully. He runs at the owner when she enters the pen. I told her to cook him and she was horrified. Some of the other males should have been culled outright as they are strange deformed things with curved spines and they can't run properly. They were rehomed from a farm elsewhere and the owner is well-intentioned but really just not at all knowledgeable when it comes to chicken care, and I really am a relative newbie myself. They are not well-nourished at all, infested with mites...I chicken-sat and tried to improve things, gave them a nipple waterer I made, put up a perch (they weren't aware that chickens roosted, thought they were supposed to sit on the ground at night, city people I think). It's interesting what you say...perhaps the ratio is not as big a part of the problem as I thought, which makes sense in light of the many, many other problems with that flock. My first instinct on meeting them was that they were very sad and discontented. Whichever way you look at it though, the roo is a bad roo, but unfortunately he's pretty and she's had him a long time so she won't part with him.
    Quote: This is why I love my guy! I just adore the conversations he has with the girls. He really spends time with them, not just for mating but for foraging and egg-laying and sorting out disputes - he's a gem. He hates me because I have to pick him up every evening, fuss over him then shove him in a box in the garage so he doesn't annoy the neighbours. But the girls love him. My latest broody gave up at 6 weeks and she's gone 8 before - I think she really just missed him.

    I really wish I could run them all together. I'd love to see him father chicks as I have complete faith that he'd do it. Unfortunately, we live very close to bush and last season I lost a week old chick and an egg in an enclosure that wasn't sufficiently rat-proof, plus we have some badly behaved cats including our own (seriously, if this cat doesn't stop chasing chicks and start chasing rats SHE is going in the pot!). It's just not feasible to rat-proof our entire section and I'm not sure The Colonel is man enough to kill a rat. The rest of the chickens need to be able to graze the entire section so we're between a rock and a hard place. We have so many wanting to play mother this time around that we had a clutch hatch in our upstairs shower. Fortunately, my husband's very tolerant of this sort of thing!
     
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Sounds like your rooster is a decent one, he has all the hallmarks of a good father. I've not seen a rooster who treats hens well but attacks chicks. Doubtless some exist, but it's generally a good bet that if he's kind to the hens he will also have the instincts to be kind to the chicks. Many newbies cop a terrible rooster to start with and either give up on the idea of a good one or just give up on them entirely, which is a bit sad.

    Funny that your chooks didn't kill the rats, mine would hunt down and eat rodents if they saw them in the daytime, lol. If you get some young mice, as in furred but still not full adults, and let your chooks have at them, they may learn to chase/kill rodents. Not necessarily a very humane method though... But sometimes one comes across nests in the house they have to dispose of. Well, we do, because we don't use rodenticides due to the threat to natives as well as our pets.

    Shame about that woman keeping a vicious rooster and a bunch of sorry hens producing deformed messes... But that is the way it goes sometimes. That's exactly the sort of 'breeder'/propagator I got my very worst genetics from, lol.

    Best wishes.
     

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