Lack of Uniformity From Big Breeder?

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by comish83, Oct 12, 2019.

  1. comish83

    comish83 In the Brooder

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    I am roughly 8 weeks in to having chickens for the first time and I noticed two of the 5 breeds (I got 2 of each breed) don't appear to be uniform or look too similar. The pictures show my 2 Cream Legbars (bottom rung of ladder in 1st pic) and 2 Golden Buffs pullets are relatively different colors? Is this because I purchased from a large hatchery and their is less consistency due to many bloodlines or is this because these breeds are crosses and that is generally what happens with crosses?

    FullSizeRender.jpeg DarkerCreamLegbar.png Lighter Buff.png DarkerBuff.png
     
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  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Welcome to the forum, glad you joined.

    Do not confuse hatcheries with "breeders". They have different goals and use different methods.

    Each hatchery is a separate small business with different people managing them and different people selecting which chickens get to breed. So there will be some exceptions to my generalizations, but, in general, a hatcheries goal is to mass market chicks that generally follow the breed guidelines. But the breeding method is typically the pen breeding method. They may have 20 roosters in a pen that randomly mate with 200 hens. They exercise no control over which rooster breeds with which hen. That makes a huge difference. And yes, I have had a lot of difference between individuals of the same breed from the same hatchery, let alone the same breed from different hatcheries.

    "Breeders" is much less defined. Different breeders have different goals. Some are breeding to win a grand prize at a chicken show. Many of these carefully follow the qualities that a judge will see and select one rooster to put with one or two hens to give them the best chance of winning a prize. Even with this careful selection of which chickens get to breed only a few actually are good enough. One breeder on this forum said 1 in 5 of hers was show quality but most others say it's closer to 1 in 10 for them. They also feed special diets. It is not easy and their prices are certainly not mass market prices if they are even willing to sell.

    Other "Breeders" do all that but also select for traits the judge does not see. That could be behavioral or production traits, even egg shell color. This is even harder. For many common breeds there may only be a small handful of people in the country with flocks like this.

    Then you have breeders that have different goals. They are not interested in showing their birds but concentrate more on production or other traits with their flocks. They may favor egg production or meat qualities instead of sticking with the SOP. SOP is the Standard of Perfection which defines what a breed is supposed to be. Some don't even worry about the SOP.

    Others may be breeding to develop a new color/pattern for a recognized breed (I got some Ameraucanas from one of those) or they may be breeding to develop a totally new breed.

    You may even get people that get hatchery birds and sell the offspring as purebred. Many of these don't even know what is in the SOP.

    The last I've heard the Cream Legbar had not yet been recognized by the American Poultry Association. There is at least one group of people (could be more than one group) trying to get them recognized. I don't know if they have settled on a proposed SOP yet or not. Some were pushing to require the eggs to be blue, others want them to be either blue or green. They may or may not have settled on other traits, even appearances. Since there are no recognized breed standards in the US you can expect them to be different.

    Golden Buffs are not a breed. They may be a cross between two different breeds or even based on commercial laying hybrids. Consider it more of a marketing name than anything else. If you can tell us what hatchery you got them from we may be able to tell you more about them. They are in that group that are typically bred for egg laying qualities, not appearances. Sometimes with crosses you can get birds that all look really alike, depending on the quality of the parents. But often you can get birds that really vary in appearance.

    Probably a lot more reading than you really wanted but it is totally normal to get differences in hatchery birds of the same breed from the sane hatchery.
     
  3. comish83

    comish83 In the Brooder

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    Thank you for such a detailed response! All of it was useful. I got my birds from Meyer. 10 day old chicks that were all supposed to be pullets (2 Barnevelder, 2 RIR, 2 Barred Rock, 2 Golden Buff, 2 Cream Legbar) turned in to 9 pullets and potentially 1 Barnevelder cockerel.
     
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  4. Acre4Me

    Acre4Me Crowing

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    yes, I think variations will occur from the hatcheries. @Ridgerunner covered it well.

    I got some birds from Meyer. All were healthy, two mis-sexed, all appeared to be decent representations of the respective breeds (so no crossing apparent). However, one was a Salmon Faverolle pullet, and was really quite dark in salmon coloring, way darker than any pics they have on their website, but it was female. This year we got 2 Salmon Faverolles from another source, which I’m pretty sure has a much smaller breeding pen. And still, from this second source, came color variation! Both are much lighter than the Meyer SF, but one of these is noticeably darker than the other. And even now, the lightest one may still be darker than what one might win with at a show -having recently been to a poultry show where there were some lighter and beautiful SF. Not trying to show my SF, so am more interested in healthy birds that lay eggs.

    another hatchery we’ve used also has some variations in their egg-laying stock (they also sell a few exhibition quality breeds). We’ve gotten 2 batches of barred rocks and black australorps (all pullets) and they vary somewhat in size, comb uniformity, carriage, etc...but they are the breed stated, and they lay eggs reliably, and they are healthy, just wouldn’t necessarily get show quality out of them. Although, 2 of the BR this year were exceptionally nice, uniform in body, size, and were very full and fluffy!

    So, can be a lot of variation. Some people start with hatchery stock and through careful selection will end up with some nice birds a few generations down the line too.
     
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  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

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    I can't really add anything to the excellent explanation that has already be offered. I just have one question for anyone who knows the answer. I hate hijacking this thread but here goes.
    Meyer is in Ohio and the OP is in Virginia. I'm assuming they didn't drive there to pick up the chicks so how is Meyer allowed to ship 10 day old chicks?
    I thought PO regs required shipped chicks be under 24 hours old.
    I deal with that constraint all the time and try to set eggs on Sundays and Mondays to satisfy the requirement.
     
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  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    To me it looks like the Meyer Golden Buffs are based on a commercial hybrid, not simply a cross between two different breeds. I'm going from their write-up and the adult weight. As such, you should get a lot of eggs from them.


    This is probably a typo. I've done typo's like that. If you look at Meyer's site they say one day one.
     
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  7. comish83

    comish83 In the Brooder

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    This is where my wife would be reminding me to properly put commas. I got 10 chicks that were 1 day old.
     
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  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

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    Thank you both. I feel better.
     

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