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Questions about breeding to standard.

Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the Standard o' started by K813ZRA, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. K813ZRA

    K813ZRA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will start off by saying that I do not breed chickens and I really don't intend to breed chickens for any other purpose than maybe keeping my flock populated. However I do have a question about breeding to standard. I see all kind of literature on this topic and it always talks of physical signs such as comb type and color etc. Then I read about things such as testing the gap between the pelvic bones, I think it was, for egg laying qualities. However what I have not seen a lot of information on is breeding for character traits such as temperament and broodiness. Is this something that one would breed for when looking to breed to standard or is it something that is simply expected to be there?

    For example: I have two flocks one of which is buff orpingtons which by what I have read are supposed to be clam friendly birds that have a tendency to go broody. A quality which from my understanding would make them good mothers. However, lets say you have an Orpington that is overly aggressive, would this be a consideration for culling as it does not conform to the expectations of what an Orpington should be? Or say it never goes broody? I say consideration because I know there are other factors involved and I assume you take the birds that come closest to meeting the standard from all aspects. But I was just curious if such characteristics were something considered when breeding to standard.

    Thank you for your time and sharing your knowledge.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    It all depends upon the breeder. Such traits are heritable and should be selected for or against depending upon whether or not they are desirable. That being said many a nasty rooster has made it into the breeding pen because he was physically correct as has a many low production SOP perfect hen.
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I think all things should be selected for, including behavior.
    IMHO, an aggressive rooster shouldn't be used for breeding or his future generations would have that trait.

    Cockers, want birds that don't back down in a fight and don't breed birds without that quality.

    I wouldn't necessarily cull a bird that is useful for other things like egg laying but I just wouldn't use them for breeding.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Agree 100%.
    Excessive attention to physical characteristics like shape and color (while important) has ruined the utilitarian purposes and qualities for which the breeds were originally developed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
  5. K813ZRA

    K813ZRA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you both as that makes perfect sense. As I said, if anything I may like to keep my flock populated without having to buy new chickens every few years. Now that would likely be an act of futility with my current stock as they are from a hatchery but I bought them to dip my toe in the water and I just love having chickens. I have found that I love raising them from chicks and could enjoy that every year if I had an endless supply of land, lol. I enjoy weighing their food in the morning and at night to see how much they have eaten each day and weighing and measuring their eggs. I suppose breeding to keep the flock populated, eventually, would be another fun aspect but I guess that will come in time as of now I know nothing of such things.
     
  6. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    Oh, Spain! Then you have lots of good breeds to choose from for your flock including the White Faced Black Spanish, Pedescansa and Uska Oilia ( Basque Hen). Such pretty breeds, I hope I spelled their names correctly.
    Best Regards,
    Karen in USA
     
  7. K813ZRA

    K813ZRA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am currently living in Pennsylvania. My wife is from Spain and we just moved. No chickens where we were living as it was a large apartment complex, lol.
     
  8. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    I am in Pennsylvania also. Husband Bob and I live just outside of Ligonier in western PA. My show quality pure English strain Light Sussex needed rehomed for the breeding season to Farmer Karl in Blairsville, PA. He is an experienced breeder and will do well with them. Karl will be keeping them as he is very enthusiastic about their quality. I am excited or him and their future. I will be moving on eventually to large fowl White Chantecler. I think they are even a better fit for my program than the Sussex, tho I do miss the Sussex quite a bit.
    Best Regards,
    Karen
     
  9. Sydney Acres

    Sydney Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The SOP only addresses things that can be evaluated by a judge in a show. It does not address things like temperament, broodiness, longevity, fertility, etc, because those issues cannot be evaluated by a one-time viewing.

    All good quality breeders make selections to improve the quality of their line. However, whether a feature is an improvement or not depends on what the individual breeder wants. Some breeders only pay attention to the traits in the SOP. They don't care if the bird is calm or anxious,attacks children, shreds hen's while breeding, lives 3 years or 10 years, broods or not, etc. They only care if it looks right for the show pen, and can win. Other breeders work towards the perfect all-around homestead farm chicken (whatever that means to the individual breeder), selecting to retain the traditional function and overall characteristics of the breed, while still adhering to the SOP physicality of the breed. It's a different mindset between the two goals. A breeder will probably create a show-winning bird faster by selecting only for SOP characteristics and ignoring all else, but the breeder with small children around doesn't want the vicious rooster on the farm. Every breeder has their own priorities. It is very important to ask questions before you buy. Make a list of everything that you consider important, and go down the list. Don't expect to find a flock that has everything that you want, so rank the characteristics in order of importance.
     
  10. K813ZRA

    K813ZRA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    See, that is interesting to me. As someone who is new to chickens I have an interest in only one breed, Orpingtons, particularly of the Buff variety. From what I have read the breed was developed for body, growth rate and egg production. As this was part of the creators plan I figured it would be something that was a focus of preservation. As for things such as temperament and broodiness I can only find more modern references so I know not whether that was the intention of the creator but if it were, would not that be a point of focus as well?

    What I take from this is that breeding to standard is merely for appearance and function is meaningless. That however, is not what I have taken from a lot of threads and discussions on particular breed focus. I am interested in such things because there are many that speak of heritage birds and what does and does not qualify as such but that subject has become clear as mud as it seems that everyone has their own opinion as to what constitutes a heritage bird. The APA says it must meet their standards but if those standards only reflect the physical attributes of said bird is it truly a representation of what the bird once was?

    Anyway, thank you for your contribution as it was very helpful.
     

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