I was lucky enough to attend a seminar with breeder and judge, Troy Laroche on the weekend. Topics included: Interpretation of the Standard for the breeding pen and the show room and Breeding Methods and practices to meet goals in your birds. Troy brings extensive breeding, competitive, and judging experience to the classroom. Troy is a licensed APA/ABA judge, a former APA VP and APA District Director. He is currently an ABA District Director. I am relatively new to poultry and very inexperienced with breeding and showing - but hoping to learn and improve. You can see what I'm working with in my signature below. I've followed Troy around at shows before and always found him to be generous with information and happy to answer any questions I might have. He was the same at this seminar. The primary points I brought home with me .... -don't vaccinate if you don't have a problem (except ILT. See post number 8, below.) -pick up your birds. Feel them. Learn how much they weigh. -separate the girls and boys as soon as you can tell them apart. -he often uses pullets and cockerels for breeding -the effects of housing and nutrition on fertility -don't hatch eggs from birds that have just been wormed. Fertility is way down. -the best show birds don't necessarily make the best breeders -type and size comes from the female, colour comes from the male - TYPE first, everything is easy by comparison -he discussed faking v. showmanship - can be a fine line but showmanship IS important. If there is an off colour feather, pull it! (You can take things away, just don't add) -he talked about veterinarian Dr. Peter Brown and how helpful and generous he is with his time and experience -he talked about paying attention to the point system in judging - the head and all its parts really isn't worth that many points in the grand scheme of things (i.e. combs) -he showed us toe punching and why it is so important to keep records (loads of banding too but he lost me with the bands) -talked about breeding mothers to sons and fathers to daughters (and more distant relations.) Avoid brother/sister if possible -understand the difference between faults and DQs -he talked about how to improve self-blue (lavender) (apparently they have feather issues) - keep using black -when buying stock - always try to get 2 trios. 2 pairs will do but trios are better. -mix and match your faults (don't put birds with the same faults together). Complimentary breeding -if you have undesirable results - discontinue the line (cull) and start over Hopefully, some of you will find this helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.