Please ... I'd like your input about breeding!

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by myfivegirls, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    779
    89
    206
    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    I don't know why, but whenever I post a question, I usually only get one or two responses. If you have any suggestions as to where this thread would get more views and replies, I'd like your input.[​IMG]


    I have a few question about chicken genetics and/ or if any of you have tried crossing these breeds. I simply want to know as I have several roosters in mind for my mixed flock of hens, and would like to know which ones would have the "better" egg laying & colorful offspring - just for our little flock. I'm not looking to create a new breed, as I don't have the time or space, but simply some good "barnyard mixes":


    • I was originally thinking of getting a New Hampshire roo to make the red and black sex links, but the offspring are pretty "boring" color-wise. Even though it would be nice to tell the males and females apart at hatch, that's not my primary goal, as I'd be raising both together, at least until the young cockerals were big enough to eat.

    • I'm trying to decide which buff rooster would be better - Buff Orp, Buff Rock or Buff Chantacler. I would like to produce some of those "pretty" black sex links using a Buff Orp roo x Barred Rock hens like "Rareroo" and some others did, but would prefer then to have a small comb like a rose, pea, cushion, etc. Some people have reported that Chantaclers aren't as big as other DP breeds and don't lay as well. I would be using Dominique hens, so the offspring would probably all end up having small combs, anyways, whether I used a male with a single comb or not. I've read that Buff Orps have lots of "fluff" and aren't the best for producing male offspring that's a good size to eat. So, that led me to the Buff Rock, which I couldn't find much info on, except for that they lay good eggs and extra roos could be used for meat. But, I can't decide which "buff rooster" would be best for what I want. (I'm also not sure about using "buffs" for the Red/Gold Sex links, as the chicks are harder to sex at hatch, right?)

    • The other rooster I'm considering is the Partridge Chantacler, as he'd be good for both black and red sex-links, as far as I've read. I'd be using a hatchery quality Rhode Island White for the red sex link. But again, I'm not sure about the size (meat-wise) or egg laying ability of the offspring. I also just thought about a Partridge or GLW Wyandotte rooster, as they also have a small comb and are a "bigger" rooster. But, the Wyandotte hens that I have aren't as productive as I'd like them to be, maybe 4 eggs a week per hen, and that was even when they were pullets. But, I've also read that Chantaclers are usually only produce 4 eggs per week, too. So, again, I'm unsure which rooster would be better.

    • The other option is a Speckled Sussex rooster - good for both black and red sex links? Some people say that they're a pretty docile rooster, too, and they get to be pretty "big". Plus, they're a nice-looking rooster. Granted, they're single-combed, so that they're more likely to get frost bite, but I'm not into showing birds.

    • The one thing about the SS is that I'd love to get some of that speckling/mottling on their mixed-breed offspring. But, since it's a recessive gene, it usually doesn't show up when SS are crossed with a solid colored hen. The one idea I had was to try crossing a SS Roo with a Spangled Russian Orloff, but I don't know if that would have the desired effect on the offspring. Is the Speckling on the Sussex and the Spangling on the Orloff different genetically, so that it wouldn't show up on their offspring? Could the best F1 male then be mated to some Easter Eggers, the F1 females and the Orloff mother? Or would it be better to cross the F1 females back to the SS father? I don't really want to get into a multi-generational breeding, just to get what I'd like. Is there any way to reproduce that mottling/speckling in one or two generations, other than just breeding the same breed male and female together?



    The problem is that I have several ideas floating around in my head. I'd like to breed a few sex-links, but also breed some "flowery" or multi-colored chickens that lay a 5-7 large eggs per week per hen, have small combs for cold-hardiness and a decent amount of meat on the young roos and older hens. Kind impossible without extensive breeding and culling, right?

    I like the looks of the "Aloha", "Swedish Flower Hens", "Cream Legbar" , "Basque Hens" (many of the ones Greenfire Farms offers) , but they're too expensive to get some of the stock, and/or they lay smaller eggs or they have big single combs (which I'm trying to avoid).

    The new pullet chicks I would like to add to my current hens (in my signature) are:
    Rhode Island White, Dominique, Speckled Sussex, Partridge Chantecler,and possibly Buff Orp & Spangled Russian Orloff


    (The GLW, SLW & leghorn hens I probably won't keep once the new chicks are laying well; the Blue Andalusian rooster will go too)
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  2. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    779
    89
    206
    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    Okay, since I haven't gotten a response yet ... I thought I'd add a few things that might help get the answers I'm looking for.

    Has anyone crossed these breeds and what was the offspring like = color of feathers, size when full grown, egg laying ability & meat? Any pictures would be great!

    • Any Buff Rooster x RIW Hen
    • Buff x Red Sex Link
    • Buff x EE (brown colored like Welsummer or Brown Leghorn)
    • Buff x Partridge Hen (Rock, Welsummer, Chantecler, etc)
    • Buff x Silver-Laced Wyandotte
    • Buff x Golden-Laced Wyandotte
    • Buff x Speckled Sussex
    • Buff x Spangled Russian Orloff



    • Speckled Sussex Roo x RIW Hen
    • SS x Dominique (or any Barred hen)
    • SS x RSL
    • SS x EE
    • SS x Partridge
    • SS x SLW
    • SS x GLW
    • SS x Spangled Russian Orloff

    • Partridge Rooster (Chantecler, Wyandotte, Rock, etc) x RIW
    • PR x Barred hen
    • PR x RSL
    • PR x EE
    • PR x SLW
    • PR x GLW
    • PR x SS
    • PR x Spangled Russian Orloff


    • Or an Easter Egger Rooster with above hens
    • Or a Wyandotte Rooster with above hens
    • Or a New Hampshire Rooster with above hens


    Thank you for reading through these two LONG posts!
    I hope there is someone out there who either has done one of these crosses or knows a little about genetics to help me decide which 1 or 2 roosters would be good.
     
  3. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    16,242
    108
    336
    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Okay, so, looks like you're looking for colored barred, laced, and mottled type colors, right?


    Buff x Most of your options = brown and black patterned birds much like your EE's. They will vary though.

    SS x Orloff is the only Speckled Sussex color that will come through as colorful, but really, it will just look like a Speckled Sussex with a beard and more hawk-like body type. The rest will all be variations of brown or reddish with black patterning.

    Partridge x Anything, about the same as the other two.


    They'll all throw a lot of different neat combinations, patterns, and even double-laced and partridgey or even slightly buff colors, but, nothing will turn out mottled or crazy colored like Greenfire has, until your second generation.

    Your Wyandottes will make neat crosses with Easter Eggers and/or partridge colored birds though. They'll be pretty close to laced.

    Buff x Sex-Link will make some nice buff-mimics and some occasional white birds too. (well, mostly white)



    If it were up to me, I'd go with a Buff rooster. Buffs carry a LOT of genes that will be fun to play around with, including a possibility of the dun gene, which mimics chocolate VERY well. Buff also helps encourage Wyandotte type lacing with its Columbian and Wheaten genes, it helps encourage any mottled bird to have more brown markings like an Aloha/Flower hen, and its dun gene can turn a blah looking black-sexlink type color into a neat chocolate, and if further bred, a beautiful khaki-platinum type color.



    Meat abilities all depend on the quality of your birds, really. Most hatchery stock doesn't compare to show stock in meat qualities (weight, fleshy carcass, etc) however some really are nice. So the question is, how's your birds? Who do you personally think will make the best cross?

    Egg laying goes the same, although most of them should be very good layers.
     
  4. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    866
    89
    158
    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    You can get speckled birds in just two generations and then they will always be speckled.

    Step one: Speckled Sussex male to any hen: buff or the new hampshires or the laced wyandottes or the sex links. I wouldn't try it with white or fully black birds because white and black can over powerthings, but the white in your red sex links and laced birds will be just fine. However, a white leghorn is often just dominant white and so you can overcome that with an extra cross or two; it's the recessive white that can be pesky.

    Step two: All the chicks that carry the speckled genes will start showing up speckled around 8 weeks. They won't be super speckled, but you'll be able to tell. When they turn into adults, they will lose their speckles, but they're still there hiding in their genetic makeup. So you need to mark them somehow or split them off into their own group and keep them separate so you can tell them apart.

    Step three: Take the marked female chicks (that were speckled as juveniles) the next spring and mate them back to their Speckled Sussex father or another Speckled Sussex male (it's always good to have a backup male or two just in case and two boys that grow up together can usually live together quite peacefully). The results of this mating should all be speckled.

    Step four: From then on, only mate speckled birds to speckled birds and you will always have speckled birds.

    Interesting note: The speckled-laced birds will be very colorful, too, because they will maintain their lacing along with the speckling.

    Sure it's okay to mate to their father. It's much better than mating to their brothers.

    That's about all I can definitively help you with.
     
  5. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    16,242
    108
    336
    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Great advice! :) That's how I do it.


    However, you can also mate the speckled-looking pullets to a cockerel who's half Speckled Sussex, too, just try and aim for mating the girls with a male of a completely different parent hen/breed, even better if you had two SS roosters, and chose a male from the second SS rooster.

    Breeding back to SS does indeed get you mottling again, but it loses any other color you might want other than the SS color. Breeding F1 x F1 offspring, best unrelated or only partially related, gives you a spectrum from anything at original purebred mom to dad and everything between.
     
  6. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    866
    89
    158
    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    Yes, you're right.

    So, I guess then I would try if I were the OP (Orignial Poster), to save out a Buff(ier) or lighter male or maybe a laced one from Step Two (one that shows speckling during the juvenile weeks of 8-14 (or around that). He will pass on speckling 1/2 the time to his chicks. Use him with the daughters of his sisters, which means he will need to be kept until he's right around 24 months old before he's used in breeding (if you want to avoid a sibling cross, which is usually ill advised if you want a lot of variety).

    However, that ends up taking an extra year instead of just two. The results will be more variety.

    Anyway, with this information, a similar system that works for other situations can be cobbled together to get the desired speckling.

    Using the laced birds (with rose combs) will help get the smaller combs while increasing the variety. With the lacing, you get the results right away with each hatch.
     
  7. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    779
    89
    206
    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    Thanks everyone for your responses! So, if I did keep one of the GLW and bred her to a SS roo, they'd be rose combed, semi-laced with the speckled recessive genes?

    You're helping me think!

    Also, what if I kept two rooster but two different breeds? Would only one of them mate with the hens? Would I have to separate them to get chicks out of both roosters?
     
  8. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    866
    89
    158
    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    The lacing will show up stronger if both parents are laced. If only one parent is laced, the lacing is visible, but not as well defined, with more stippling. At least that's what I've seen.

    I almost always have two roosters with the hens. The less dominant rooster does get a chance to mate with the females when the other rooster is not paying attention. I see it all too often. My chickens are outside every day, so logistically it's easier for the less dominant rooster to get a chance. If they are cooped up in closer quarters, it may be a little more difficult for the less dominant to find a chance.

    To be absolutely 100% sure that you got chicks from both roosters, you would have to give each rooster a separate chance with the hens where one rooster would be put in a temporary pen.

    Now, the hen can actually like one of the roosters better and be more receptive to his attentions. So some hens will probably like the less dominant rooster. If a hen doesn't like either rooster, she can eject his deposit. I'm not kidding. I haven't seen that happen, of course, but I have read that studies have been done on mating habits of chickens. It was mentioned in some study on how domestication has changed chicken mating habits. It had hens that were white-crested polish and it tested whether or not the hens would prefer to mate with red leghorns roosters or white-crested polish roosters and the hens preferred white-crested Polish roosters.
     
  9. myfivegirls

    myfivegirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    779
    89
    206
    Jan 12, 2009
    Delhi, NY
    I found this photo of a "laced" EE. Do you think there's a possibility of getting one of these by crossing a GLW rooster with a "normal" brown EE?
    I'd probably get a lot of variety, and it would be hard to say what would come out, right? Is this what you mean by "stippling"?




    One more thing. If I got several "extra" roosters to compare how they grow out and which two "final" roosters I'd prefer, could I tell by 6 or 7 months old which ones were the "best" size wise and coloring wise? Because, I really don't want to keep the "too many" roosters (causing bare backs, etc) over the winter, just to find out which ones would make the best breeding.
    For example, IF I got 1 Rooster each of Buff Rock, Buff Chantacler, Speckled Sussex, GLW Wyandotte & Partridge Chantacler in early April and "grew them out" with the other chicks,
    could I tell by October or November which 2 roosters I liked the best - size, color, temperament, etc. They probably wouldn't be "fully grown" until 1 yr old, but would it still be obvious when they're younger?
     
  10. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

    866
    89
    158
    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    All the questions make my head spin. :)

    First, before I forget. You can get lacing from the Partridge Chantecler if you don't want a GL Wyandotte (remember you said something about them not being great layers). With the Chantecler, though, it's double lacing, right? The GL Wyandotte is single, though. I think the GL Wyandotte has Co (Columbian) on a base of ER, while the double lacing of the Chantecler is not a Columbian effect. But with heritage-style dual purpose breeds, you don't get the great egg layers anyway. Best production these days is about 180-200 a year. The best layers are going to be the hybrids or those breeds (which includes hybrids, too) that companies worked with for years to get the numbers up. Basically, best layers are ISA Browns, regular (not heritage) White Leghorns, Red Stars, Black Stars (and similar sexlinks and crosses), non-heritage Barred Rocks, and non-heritage Rhode Island Reds. I'm sure you already know that, but, for those reading along, I mention it. I wish it weren't that way, but it's 150 - 200 for most of the dual-purpose layers we buy from a hatchery. That's what nature is giving us (so to speak). If you buy from a breeder who's working on showing the chickens, fewer eggs is often the result since the focus is on plumage instead of utility or production (so to speak).

    If I were to see that EE chicken shown above, I would guess, that yes, that's a cross with a GLW. However, I haven't a clue what a normal brown EE is. I have a number of green egg layers now (and in the past) and I'm not sure that I've ever had one of the normal browns. The ones I've had most often are the white with gold highlights or the gray with lots of red/gold highlights. I think that the green egg layers I end up with are often a Blue/Black/Splash with lots of red highlights. What the photo above is reminds me of the black version. And yes, it looks like partial lacing of some sort. But it's all just conjecture on my part.

    As for stippling ... it's difficult to find a photo of that. What I understand it to be is that on each feather ... a brown feather with lots of black on it. It looks like a heavily-peppered brown feather and the pattern (lacing) is blurred. So a chicken that is the result of a laced bird and a solid bird will sometimes have some lacing showing and some blurred lacing and just some blurs. I hope that's clear as mud. But the few I've had have been pretty and you can tell them from the other hens.

    As for the roosters ... yes, you'll be able to tell size, coloring, and temperment by six or seven months. Sure it could change after that, but you'll know enough by then to tell who works well in your set up. I can sometimes figure it out by 10 weeks on temperment who is going to be too active. And I'd bet you would know enough by 14 weeks to make your decision. Middle of the road roosters, ones that doesn't seem all too interested in me or the hens, have been the ones that cause less trouble for the hens' backs. Size-wise, they can keep growing after 6 months, actually they often do, but by sizing them up in comparison with the other roosters, you'll at least be able to avoid the runts and the undersized. The good news is that you can always pick new roosters from the babies these roosters next year.

    With the Chanteclers, hopefully you'll get some with the smaller wattles in the next generations because that goes along with their comb (cushion/strawberry). The smaller wattles are a nice feature because they don't drag in the water when they drink and then get frostbit. Buckeyes are nice that way, too.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by