Newbie's Breeding Plan....need A Critique

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by usmchomesteader, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. usmchomesteader

    usmchomesteader Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 8, 2011
    I will receive 15 Cochin Bantams later this month...5 black, 5 white, and 5 buff. I preparation for this, I am building 4 large cages, each with a low roost, exterior feed & water cups, and nest boxes. The 3 smaller cages are each about 36" x 72" x 30" and the larger cage is 36" x 96" x 40". I will start the chicks out in a 50 gallon watering tub with screened cover for a few weeks ( I have had great success with this raising Rhode Island Reds and geese). Then, if the chick mix is right, I intend to separate them as follows: 1 black rooster with 1 white, 1 buff, and 1 black hen....1 white rooster with 1 white, 1 buff, and 1 black hen....1 buff rooster with 1 white, 1 black and 1 buff hen with the excess going to the larger cage or separated individually in large wire cages depending upon variety. I am not worried about showing, as there are no ABA events anywhere close to me. I am just interested in seeing what might develop with the mix indicated. Now, this idea may be way out in left field, so I am asking for your honest comments regarding my plan. Thanks in advance for your help.

    Although a newbie to the forum and raising Bantams, I am 63 years old and currently raise a variety of critters....5 dogs, 7 cats, a gaggle of geese & 3 Muscovy ducks, a flock of Rhode Island Red chickens, 2 Emus, and 2 large mixed-breed goats, one six year old rabbit, plus regularly visiting peacocks
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I don't see where you live, meaning what climate you might have, and I don't see any mention of outside runs or space for them. If they are locked in those cages all the time, you might run into overcrowding issues. I think you would be better off including some run space with the coop space. When chickens are overcrowded, they can get bored and maybe turn cannibalistic. The commercial operations overcome that by trimming the upper beak of their chickens so they can't eat each other.

    You may get some comments about your poor hens will be overbred with that ratio of roosters to hens. You might read this so you have the experience of people that actually do things like this. People successfully do that all the time.

    There are some people good enough with genetics and familiar with Cochin that can probably tell you what will happen with each first generation cross. I'm not one of them. Genetically, there are different ways to make white and buff, so I don't know what could be in that genetidc mix with Cochin. Different things can be hiding under that black. I'm not going to try guessing what the first generation will look like. But if the parents are "pure" for the colors, all the offspring of certain parents will look very similar. Where you start to really get a lot of variation is crossing the offspring.

    For example, if you cross the buff and black, you will get black. It’s possible, maybe even probable, that you will get a little leakage of some other color, probably some shade of buff or red, but the chickens will mostly be black. But if you cross the offspring of the buff/black cross, you will get several different colors and patterns, several of which might surprise you. The second generation is where the fun comes in, not the first.

    You may or may not be aware of this. After a mating, the hen will produce fertile eggs for about two weeks. She may stay fertile for 9 days, maybe about 3 weeks. Two weeks is a good average. But to be sure that the rooster you want to be the daddy actually is, you need to keep the hen isolated from any other rooster for at least 3 weeks. Many people use 4 weeks to be very sure. And a hen does not lay a fertile egg until about a day and a half after a mating.

    I’m not sure how you plan to manage them when they are not producing hatching eggs. You could let them run together, only separating them to prepare for breeding season instead of keeping them in their own flock. When you mix two or more roosters with hens after they have been separated a while, the roosters will fight to determine who is top dog. They may settle that without bloodshed or a rooster may get hurt. Having lots of space when you do that makes it a lot easier. You may have your plan worked out for the non-breeding season. I don’t see any mention of that, so just something for you to consider.

    I don’t see anything in your plan for flock growth. With the breeding pens you mention, I don’t see where you will be keeping the chicks that you hatch for future generations. If you let them run with a common flock, you will not be able to tell them apart without marking them some way. A chicken from a black rooster and buff hen will probably look a whole lot like the one from a buff rooster and a black hen. There are different methods. You can get information on toe punching or colored bands for their legs.

    There are certain colors or patterns that are sex linked. With chickens, that means that the hen gives certain genes to her sons but not her daughters. For example, if a hen is barred, she will give that gene to her sons and not her daughters. As long as the rooster is not barred, since barring is dominant, you can sex her chicks by the barring. But if the rooster is barred, he gives barred genes to all his offspring, male and female. There are several other genes similarly sex linked. So you may get some variation in the first generation chicks depending on whether the father or the mother are certain colors, meaning a black father and buff mother may give you genetic differences compare to a buff father and black mother, though in this specific case you probably would not see it in the first generation since black is dominant. Where it might show up is the next generation if you cross the crosses. I’m not exactly sure what your goal is in this project, but I don’t think you will see much if any real difference due to the sex linked factor, especially in the first generation. And you would probably have to produce a lot of chicks from specific crosses the next generation to notice any real difference.

    Not knowing your specific goals, you might be able to achieve what you want by crossing one color of rooster with the other two colors of hens, then crossing those offspring. Make one of the hens black so you can easily tell which are which when you select your first generation of chicks to breed.

    Hope this helps a bit. And thanks for your service. From your screen name, I’m assuming you were career.

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