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My White Leghorn - What to improve?

Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the Standard o' started by mrjoltcola, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. mrjoltcola

    mrjoltcola Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2016
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    [​IMG]

    My girls are starting to get interested in showing some of our birds, and I'm not sure if what I have is good to start them with, or if I should be looking for a breeder for new stock.

    This is my White Leghorn rooster. I've just ordered the APA Standard, but would like to hear opinions from anyone with a good eye. Thanks!

    PS: I am new to the site, and this my not be the forum for asking opinions on my birds as I am not a "serious" breeder or judge. If I should move these posts to a different forum let me know. I did read the description for this forum and it seems maybe I should post it elsewhere but I'm not sure.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  2. RCleghorn

    RCleghorn Out Of The Brooder

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    No picture?
     
  3. mrjoltcola

    mrjoltcola Out Of The Brooder

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    Oops sorry. Updated with pic.
     
  4. RCleghorn

    RCleghorn Out Of The Brooder

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    That bird is s very poor representative of the standard bred leghorns that you will see in apa sanctioned shows. Here is a picture of what you will see in shows[​IMG]
     
  5. mrjoltcola

    mrjoltcola Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. I'm more interested in what specifically about these birds is of low quality. My goal is to learn. I do see a difference when I look at them vs pictures of show birds online, but I don't know what to look for. I ordered a copy of the standard but haven't received it yet.

    The first thing that jumps out at me is the tail feathers are really short in my bird
     
  6. RCleghorn

    RCleghorn Out Of The Brooder

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    Comb is too large on your bird. Back slopes straight down. When you get the standard look up squirrel tail. Your bird has it. Leghorns should have a nice clean sweep with no breaks from neck to tail like the one pictured. Where are you located?
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. mrjoltcola

    mrjoltcola Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you, that is the feedback I was hoping for.

    What causes squirrel tail? Is it simply a feather issue or is it structural?
     
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    It's structural. Hatcheries do not do selective breeding at the level required for proper, standard bred birds. They tend to flock breed, or mass produce birds for sale. Backyard propagators often do pretty much the same. A dedicated breeder would cull such birds as soon as they see these faulty traits and never use it such birds in the breeding pen.
     
  9. Sydney Acres

    Sydney Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's so difficult when you start to evaluate birds. As a newcomer, it is natural to concentrate on the obvious things -- the color, the comb, the beak, the feet, etc. Those are the "finishing details." They can't be ignored, but the basic structure of the bird is what is most important. If you look at your bird, it is primarily an upright bird. He is more vertical than horizontal. If you look at the picture of the ideal Leghorn, it is more of a horizontal bird. The back is horizontal, the wings are held horizontal, the tail extends back in a graceful arch, not jetting straight up at the base. If you're "building a bird," those details are like "framing a house." You can't put up the frame for a Tudor style house and end up with a Ranch style. It doesn't matter what kind of siding or doors or windows or paint you put on it. If you have a Tudor frame, you won't end up with a Ranch house. It's the same with birds. You've got to have the right frame first, then work on the finishing features.

    I would recommend you start this project by learning as much as you can, read the first few chapters of the SOP (not just the individual breed descriptions), go to a few shows, take a lot of pictures of show winners, talk to the owners of the birds, make some new friends. Eventually you'll find the right person to sell you some good quality birds, and to mentor you when you have questions. Quality birds are definitely worth the investment, and make the hobby much more fun. Starting with a rooster that is so far away from the SOP will be quite disappointing and frustrating for your girls.
     
    2 people like this.
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    So very well said. @Sydney Acres

    On another thread by @mrjoltcola about a different bird, I wrote a similar response.

    "Like other standard bred poultry, it is almost never, ever wise to try to "breed" up mutts and hatchery stuff. You'll waste too many years and still the end result will be discouragement. Here's to hoping you get a chance to attend a sanctioned APA/ABA exhibition and see the great birds and the opportunity to meet, greet and talk to the breeders. Best to you."
     

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