Question about breeding within the flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by texas hiker, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. texas hiker

    texas hiker Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2009
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    From what I understand chickens, like most other animals, should not interbreed between mother and child.

    How far down the line is it considered safe for a related birds to breed?

    What I am looking at is a self-supporting flock of birds. My goal is to have around 20 hens (I have 13 hens right now), use 5 hens and a rooster for breeding, and 15 hens for eeg laying. Then rotate the hens out every 6 months or so with the rooster.

    How do I make sure the gene pool does not get contminated without having 4 different chicken yards?

    Or does all of this matter?

    Would it be good idea to keep the breeding hens seperate from the laying hens? Or just throw all of them together and dont worry about it?

    If the hens are all together, I would not want to be eating eggs that are fertilized.
     
  2. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Breeding between mother and child and father and child in chickens is pretty much the standard. It's called line breeding, and done properly it works well. If you do rotational line breeding (keep two or three trios and each year mate the males from each family to the next family over) you won't have to introduce new blood for decades.

    Start doing Google searches and searches on this website for Line Breeding, Rotational Breeding, Spiral Breeding, and Clan Breeding--there's a lot of information out there, I've found. You just kind of have to search. I have some really great information that I printed out to keep. I found it here: http://www.the-coop.org/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=28027 Also, the ALBC website and Yellow House Farm website have very valuable information on breeding methods and how to choose the best birds to include in your program. http://yellowhousefarmnh.com/starting-your-own-heritage-flock http://albc-usa.org/EducationalResources/chickens.html
     
  3. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    It's perfectly okay to eat fertilized eggs. There is no development whatsoever until the eggs are kept at a consistent temp and humidity, which is only achieved by the hen sitting on them or by putting them in an incubator. All the eggs in my Egg Skelter right now are fertile. They won't begin any kind of development, however, because they're sitting on the counter in my kitchen. When cracked open, they look like any other raw egg (except if Iook closely, I can see the "bullseye" where the sperm entered the yolk) and taste like any other egg. There is no nutritional difference between fertilized and non-fertilized eggs, either.
     
  4. texas hiker

    texas hiker Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2009
    East Texas
    Thank you, and I will read through the links you posted.

    My cousin has production reds, while I have rhode island reds, barred rocks and australorps. I thought about talking to my cousin to see if she wanted to swap roosters once a year or so, just to keep the genetics mixed up a little bit.

    But I figured swapping roosters would increase the risk of diseases being introduced into the flock.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  5. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    That was my thinking when I first went into this breeding business (this is my first year) and here's what I've since found. If you are trying to improve and conserve a breed, then introducing new blood is risky because there will be hidden faults which may throw you back a generation or two as you work on fixing that fault. That's not say it shouldn't be done, just be aware of that. If you are not worried about the Standard of Perfection, conservation, breed improvement, or even in perfecting your own strain, but just want a yard full of birds for eggs and meat, then introducing new blood is no problem.

    All my birds are first generation Murray McMurray hatchery Dorkings, so I can assume they're probably all related to one degree or another. My friend has a cockerel and pullet from a breeder (a different line than the one the McMurray Dorkings originated from). Since I'm just starting my breeding program, I'm going to ask my friend if I can borrow her cockerel next year (well, he'll be a cock by then) to lead off one of my "families" or yards. That little bit of different blood will, I think, help my gene pool, as I will be using spiral breeding. Within 3 years, each of my families will have a little bit of that different blood and it's safe to do it right off the bat because all of my birds' genes are a mystery still anyway.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  6. texas hiker

    texas hiker Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2009
    East Texas
    There are certain traits that I like in some of my chickens that I would like to carry over to the next generation, and some I would not want passed down.

    My two silver laced wyandottes, they are mean to the other chickens, there is no way I would want that trait passed down. I would rather see them butchered and on the table then to breed that meanness to another generation.

    Something that I am getting from that the-coop.org link is that its important to pay attention to the habits and behavior of the animals being bred.

    One of my Rhode Island Reds is so tame, it walks right up to me. I would like that trait passed down, so I would not want to have a mean rooster doing the breeding?

    The link at the-coop.org talks about culling out any sign of weakness and sickness in later generations.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  7. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, cull hard, as they say. Breed gentle Wyandottes to your aggressive ones to try and water that trait down.
     
  8. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with what countrygoddes is saying. I separate my breeding groups in winter and collect eggs for hatching in the beginning of spring. I have a group of Brahmas that I am on my second year of breeding. The first year I ordered two batches of eggs and watched them as they grew up. I kept a roo fro one group and hens from the other. I now have 5 hens and one rooster, but I hand picked them for the traits I wanted.

    I would suggest sitting down and making a list of what would be your perfect bird. Are you looking for hens that go broody, or large birds that can be meat and egg layers.

    Decide what you want and keep the birds that get you closer.

    In my Brahmas I want birds that meat the SOP but that are gentle and friendly. I also want good table birds as these are the ones I use as meat birds (I cull my extra roosters at the end of each season), and I also have decided that I would like them to be good mothers. I have one Brahma hen that raised a batch of eggs with 100% viability and was an amazing mother from that time on, another one was great at incubating the eggs but killed the babies when they hatched. She is banded and will be sold as an egg layer to someone just looking for eggs to eat with full disclosure that she should not be allowed to hatch out eggs unless you remove the babies a day or two before hatching. So far those are my goals for this group but as I reach those goals I may add new ones as they come up.

    I do have a trio of Silver Gray Dorkings and they are more of a project for me as I would like to protect the breed and help add to the bloodline so that the breed as a whole becomes healthier. For them my goals are getting as close to the SOP as possible. Increased hatchability and chick health as these tend to be problems with the breed as a whole and of course friendly personality ( which they all have in large amounts ).

    In both groups I will be breeding heavily hatching out as many as I can in a season and keeping specimens that meet the things I am looking for or are closer than the birds I have to add to the flock. As an example I hatched out more than 70 chicks this year and ended up keeping a total of 5 hens and one rooster. The rest were sold to people looking for hens or roosters and those that did not sell ( usually the extra roosters with more pushy personalities) went into my freezer come fall.

    It will always be a work in progress but if you love chickens you will enjoy it the whole way.
     
  9. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: Not entirely true. Development starts while the egg is being laid & while the hen remains on the nest after the egg is laid. By the time the actual incubation process begins the egg contains an 8-16 cell embryo. Much too small to be seen with the naked eye.
     
  10. LilyD

    LilyD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree there is some growth in the blasto disc but it has also been proven that that growth does not effect the nutritional value of the egg at all. So the eggs are safe to eat unless they have been sitting out in a temp of more than 95 degrees then it might begin to incubate with or without a hen.

    When we were kids we used to incubate with a regular light bulb and a plant pot with cotton in it we would just put a few drops of water on the cotton above the egg and turn it every so often. It worked and the eggs grew and hatched it was pretty cool.
     

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