I saw a post from some one who wanted to know more about breeding and how to handle faults within his line of chickens. I hesitate to give this but I was a sheltie breeder for 0over 65 years and wanted to offer back some of the things I learned from 1-Study 2-Hard work 3-Piratical Application 4-Being mentored 5-Taking good advice from Contestant Winners who were out to improve the breed and NOT to bring self glorification to themselves. Under study I went to Sir Issac Asimov who's books were astounding . He studied the effect of Heat and protein on genes as an interracial part of gene manipulation. Which is what we as breeders and would be breeders are trying to do. To start KNOW THE HAND WRITTEN STANDARD WRITTEN FOR YOU SUBJECT be it dogs, horses or birds. If you are raising Chickens and are promoting a specific breed of Chicken find out What the people who came before you had in mind to create! This is a simple start to an increasingly difficult journey which You are about to under-take. Memorize the standard and go to breeders who have in mind as goals the things you want to accomplish at this stage. 2- That should be to accept the standard as written by the Breeds founding Fathers and fashion your work as a continuance of their work. This is the Learning Stage and should continue the rest of your time in this endeavor. If you lose sight of this goal and make it about gaining wins then you are simply adding to an over abundance of miss-knowledge and are only attempting to force your Ideals which cannot be founded in knowledge but only in speculation which dose not come from knowledge but supposition based only on a foundation of guesses. 3-Make John Gregor Mendel your second read of the day,the first The Bible to help you Govern your life in Righteousness . This little monk learned of God far more working with the humble little plants Peas and opened for us the foundation of genetic studies which was considered Magic and of the devil prior to His earth shaking discovers! Learn how to manipulate Mendel's Chart and once you know what you are trying to achieve "a better Representative " of your breed and variety then Learn from Mendel What to improve and how to apply his methods . This will continue ONLY if some one wishes to follow along and I am not blowing hot air on an already list.