Promoting a healthy flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JackAubrey, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. JackAubrey

    JackAubrey Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, I've done it! I have my very own flock of hens. I have 3 Silver laced Wyndotts and a Rhode Island Red. I want to buy a rooster so the flock will produce it's own chickens rather than me buying them all the time. What I don't understand is the issue of genetic diversity. My hens came from the feed store. I could buy a rooster from another hatchery. Eventually though won't I have to buy a new rooster every so often. I want the family tree to have a fork in it, right? I don't want "deliverance chicks plucking a banjo"! Or is this not an issue with chickens? Best regards, JA [​IMG]
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Parent to offspring breeding isn't really an issue for a few generations, but you'd want an unrelated cock every few years.
    Breeding siblings will cause problems much faster than parent to offspring.
    None of them will play the banjo.
     
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  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    If you bought from a feed store, you HAVE a huge genetic diversity. What will happen over time, is that you loose efficiency in your flock. When considering breeding, low quality birds x low quality birds = lower quality birds. It is slow, as in over ten years, but you tend to decrease your longevity, egg production, thriftyness and meat production. Centuries ago, mankind realized by controlling the mating, you can increase production, and animal husbandry was started.

    In animal husbandry, the cheapest way to improve a herd or a flock, is through tthe male. So if you start with cheap birds, and you want to raise your own, don't use your own rooster. Cull those and look around and buy a rooster from a good breeder. For example, mine were just riff raff hens. This year, (and this is year 7 for me) I decided to get a pretty good rooster. I spent $20 for a rooster! Gasp. The thing is, is people always have too many roosters, so they are easy to get.

    Now I am just hatching out my chicks out of him. So far I am pleased. I wanted better colorization to blend in to the prairie more for better luck with predators. And I wanted more heavier birds for the stew pot. I am using a Bielefelder rooster. This is a German breed that I accidently came on.

    My plan is to breed this rooster back to the daughters, and then the following year, go looking again for a high quality rooster of the same breed.

    It is slow, by next year, I will see if I did get what I wanted, or if I really like these birds.
    This is a fun hobby.
    Mrs K
     
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  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    ps: I would not buy a rooster from another hatchery. Then you are just getting another lower quality bird. Hatchery birds work on quantity not so much quality. You should contact your local poultry club, or look on here for people that breed chickens a bit more seriously. They will have extra rooster that don't meet their standards and needs, but will vastly improve yours.

    Also, take a look at some SOP's, it is good to become familiar with what a well built chicken looks like, examining the skull, the leggs, the back and the breasts. It will help you really SEE quality chickens. There is a difference.

    Mrs K
     
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  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    Aart: None of them will play the banjo.

    [​IMG]

    Once again, Mrs K: to the point, and hitting the nail on the head!!!

    Ditto.

    I might add, that you have the makings for some good sex-linked chicks by adding the right roo to your flock. He'll make some awesome BSL with your SLW. Just be sure you choose a roo with a mellow personality. That's often an over-looked factor in breeding a good flock. Go to the sex-linked information thread for a very in-depth idiot's guide to breeding your own sex-links.
     
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  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    Ridge Runner caught my bad! (thank you RR!) The sex link chart indicates that the right roo over your SLW will produce red sexlinks, not BSL.
     
  7. JackAubrey

    JackAubrey Out Of The Brooder

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    Can someone explain "sex link" to me, is that a different breed? JA
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I would say it's a type rather than a breed. (Hopefully those more knowledgeable about it than I am will chime in.) If I understand correctly, "sex link" is a cross between two breeds that will cause the female chicks to look a certain way when they're hatched, and the males to look different. It's not something I've really dug into, so I don't know much about it.
     
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  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    This should get you started. Initially, it's a bit hard to wrap your head around, but... will open up a whole set of options for you when it comes to breeding your own flock. BTW, IMO, home bred sex links are not fraught with the reproductive issues so common to hatchery produced sex links, and home bred sex links benefit from hybrid vigor.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/261208/sex-linked-information
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
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  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    'Sexlinks' from hatcheries/farm stores are usually crosses from high production birds.....so they 'guarantee' female chicks who will lay lots of eggs.
    But the genetic crossing mentioned above can be done with many different breeds just for gender ID at hatch.
     
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