I couldn't agree more with those Sumatra comments if I had made them myself!A few things based on what I have read here. One is the sumatras. We have a line of good sumatras. They are great foragers and make the best mothers around here. I have been known to go on long rants about sumatra quality. The thing that gets me most with sumatras lately is that so many judges are placing birds that are HUGE and are loose feathered. They shouldn't be hard feathered but they shouldn't look like an australorp either. In the last few years at shows I have gone to, it seems like so many people thing bigger is better. A friend had a line of sumatras that were around 10-12 lbs but he did great with them at shows, it burned me up inside to see and hear judges going on and on about how "these are the best sumatras I have ever seen", which to me is a slap in the face. I have seen horrible hatchery stock that more closely resembles a normal sumatra than the line of giant show birds.
Way back when we decided to introduce blue sumatras into our flock, we got a rooster from a well known breeder. He talked the rooster up so high that I would think it was made of gold. When I got it, I first noticed how plain it looked. It had a boring farm bird look to it, nothing that made me think "look at that great sumatra". He had a reddish face, huge wrinkled comb, greenish legs, loose feathering, and a very large body. But, he did have a long tail and multiple spurs in addition to good blue coloring. I figured if we used him once to get the color into our flock, the bad traits would be easy enough to breed out, I was very wrong. It took close to 7 years to breed out the loose feathering alone, the roosters sickles had a wrinkled look to them which annoys me. We finally culled out all of the birds that had the genetics of that rooster just because it would still pop up from time to time.
When we select our breeders, we first go by type of course. I always use cockerels with a slightly higher tail, just because as they fill out it always drops. Our flock spends most of the time free ranging in the summer. We never vaccinate for anything around here, so survival of the fittest is another key that helps us choose breeders. Along with free ranging comes predator smarts. I have never lost a sumatra to predators. Our line is smart like that. When they are out in the fields chasing bugs and foraging, they always know how to hide when hawks are around. I never select a bird based on production or age. If it looks good, we use it. Some of the hens lay better than our barred rocks and some hens lay 20 eggs a season. If they look good, they get bred from. I think that a lack of production pressure is one reason that we have hens that still produce great as old birds and also longevity. Like our bantams were 12 when they died this past year but they were still going strong when they died from the cold snap.
For showing crazy birds, I have some things that I have noticed. Birds that are really calm and easy going tend to not show as well. Our sumatras have a crazy 'death scream' when we touch them here at home. Birds that are somewhat spooky and cocky tend to show better in my experience. An example was one of our old pet hens. She used to be carried around like a rag doll and was sweet as could be. We took her to a show as a pullet and she was just droopy so she didn't place. The next year after she had a clutch of chicks and turned into a fierce broody, she showed amazingly.
I am a firm believer in watching birds. What my family doesn't understand is that in order to be in touch with the show birds, you must observe them often. I go out and normally take 45 minutes to do basic chores. For me, I am normally out there for 2 hours just staring at them. I am more in tune with the birds than anyone around here. I am able to tell when a bird is sick or anything just by being around them for a few minutes. Even though I leave for work around 6 am and don't get home until 10 pm and am gone before the sun comes up and get home long after it has gone down but because I am so in tune with them on my days off, I can tell when something is up
I planned to post more but I realize I am more tired than I thought. I just got a new puppy (the future farm protector) and I have been unable to sleep more than a few hours a night before going and working 14 hour days in the city.
Lots of Irish blood has been used in the past. Whether you could find straight Black Irish I do not know as I have never looked for it. You could ask at UFF and see what folks have.I hope I'm not out of place , Saladin or anyone that can help. All the old Gamefowl breeders used mostly Irish blood. Is Irish Gamefowl the best? Does anyone breed any pure Black Irish in the US? Thanks if you can help.
THANKS!Chris, I stumbled across this today its a few articles on the Le Fleche I thought you might be interested in it http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/CGK/LaFleche/LaFleSPPA.html
Could be several different things:i bought a pr of samatras back in the summer. she laid a dozen eggs this month.and not a one is firtle. can you tell me why not one is fertile
and what i can do to help
i bought a pr of samatras back in the summer. she laid a dozen eggs this month.and not a one is firtle. can you tell me why not one is fertile
and what i can do to help
When I've had red feathers show up, I pluck them and wait to see if they grow back in red. Most times they don't so I figure it's just a fluke feather?So, on La Fleche.
My best male has two rusty red hackle feathers, but he's staying. He's the best male I've got, and old breeders of Anconas would use males with a little red in the hackle to bring out green sheen in the females. If this works, that wouldn't be a bad thing. I'll just be clear to cull for it in this spring's hatch.