Russian Orloffs

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Mrs. Fluffy Puffy, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. kahlua

    kahlua Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NJ
    Really lovely birds, I will have to get some from you once you're ready to sell some!
    I have a question - I see a lot of the chicks with lots of white. Do the ones with too much white as chicks have too much white as adults...or I guess the question is, is there a link between the amount of white as chicks vs. their final color, or is it a complete surprise til they molt into their adult coloration?

    I have a cockerel who has too much white, but he is only 12 weeks old and I am wondering if some will go away as he gets older. He's been very slow to feather in - at 10 weeks, down the middle of his back was still pretty much bald, so I switched to a feed with higher protein and he is finally feathering up.
    To my inexperienced eye I like how he looks...very tall and gamey and it seems like in my birds more will have too little spangling than too much so maybe it will work out.
     
  2. happyhens120

    happyhens120 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm drooling over here! Lol. They are beautiful. Since I'm just starting my breeding program, would you mind if I picked your brain every once in awhile?
     
  3. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    I'm far from an expert happyhens, but I'd be happy to answer any questions that I can. What little I know I've learned from trial and error over the past few years. I am still learning more every single day.

    Kahlua, The chick / juvenile color is the most aggravating thing I deal with. This is the first year I've tracked chick color, so until spring I won't be 100% sure of the results. This spring we toe punched our matings but put colored bands on the chicks regardless of matings by day old chick coloration. Example; the chipmunks got a blue band, dark chicks a green band, light chicks got orange... etc... So far, it seems the "chipmunk" stripped chicks grow out having less white as juveniles and have better dark mahogany coloration as adults. The lighter chicks are all over the place as juveniles, but have better spangling at maturity. The darker chicks run to mahogany with very little spangling when grown. But in my experience, neither chick color nor juvenile color has any real bearing on adult coloration.
    I have had near solid white birds molt into adult coloration and have almost no spangling and excellent mahogany coloration. I've had good colored juveniles molt to having several solid white feathers and dark beards.
    [​IMG]

    Now, I can only speak for myself, my birds and my strain. Other breeders might have totally different results. But here, I never cull for feather color until at least a year old in roosters, pullets I can cull just a bit earlier. I personally would hold on to your cockerel if you see something there you like, otherwise you might make the same mistake I made when I started out. I gave a few (well, about 50 head [​IMG]) that had too much white in the plumage to a friend of mine in Alabama a couple of years ago. The following year I saw one of those cockerels after the adult molt and it was the most perfect colored rooster I'd seen. I got in too big of a hurry to cull and I paid the price.
    I have noticed that if you want decent spangling on adult roosters that the juvenile cockerels with a bit too much white have good adult spangles and the cockerels that are nice colored as juveniles will tend to be too dark with almost no spangling as adults. Pullets are more forgiving in my opinion. Also I've notice roosters after they are several years old look much the same as they did as one year old's. Pullets spangling actually improves each year for the first four or five years, then after that, the mahogany tends to start getting lighter and a bit smutty.

    I am a heavy culler. I cull straight from the incubator for leg color, comb, toes, genetic defects, If I see right away it has no use to me as a breeder, I don't see any point in feeding it. I know a lot of folks find that practice cruel and heartless, but I raise thousands of birds a year on the farm. Obvious faults have no place in my flocks. But with Orloffs, again, just in my opinion... You just have to give them time.
     
  4. kahlua

    kahlua Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NJ
    Thank you, that is very helpful! My Orloffs are all straight from Ideal, so I know they will need work, but I think it will be rewarding and I think they are such beautiful chickens. Hopefully I can bring some nice breeder birds into the mix at some point but for now I don't mind working with what I have.

    This is the cockerel, at about 12 weeks. I would love to hear your comments, although I know he will change a lot.
    He's the only cockerel in the current group - I do have a 2nd batch that are 3-4 weeks old now. I'd ordered 3 cockerels 12 pullets originally, but 2 of the chicks died, and they were the 2 other cockerels. He has always been much bigger than the other chicks and was always super tall and gamey looking.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    And my favorite pullet. There are 2-3 others whose type I like although they don't have as much spangling. There are a few I don't like but I am thinking I might want to grow them out to see if they mature differently, to help me make my choices about which to keep in the future.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. NCSprout

    NCSprout Chillin' With My Peeps

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    MFB wrote: "chick / juvenile color is the most aggravating thing I deal with. This is the first year I've tracked chick color, so until spring I won't be 100% sure of the results. This spring we toe punched our matings but put colored bands on the chicks regardless of matings by day old chick coloration. Example; the chipmunks got a blue band, dark chicks a green band, light chicks got orange... etc... So far, it seems the "chipmunk" stripped chicks grow out having less white as juveniles and have better dark mahogany coloration as adults. The lighter chicks are all over the place as juveniles, but have better spangling at maturity. The darker chicks run to mahogany with very little spangling when grown. But in my experience, neither chick color nor juvenile color has any real bearing on adult coloration."

    This is so true. I am trying to track chick down color with relation to adult plumage patterns and what I am finding is all over the place. I really believe that at some point the original spangleds were crossed with the mahogany which resulted in some of the variation. The solid colored chicks are turning out to be what I think is a wheaton based bird and results in more black in the breast of the male. The chipmunk (wild type) chicks seem to have more of the mottling but are still all over the place as far as mature feathers go. Like MFB I like to cull from day one if I can, but the Orloffs are proving to be difficult to do using chick down, at least until we have worked out a definite pattern relation. I am very interested to see how things work out for us in the future.
     
  6. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    Thanks NCSprout, I'm glad to hear you are trying to get a handle on the chick color / adult plumage relation too. We'll get there someday as long as we keep our passion for these beautiful birds! That and keep tons of records. [​IMG]

    Kahlua, I like those birds. For 12 weeks they show lots of potential. I just found out (NCSprout can correct me if I'm wrong) that all the different hatchery birds originally came from a single breeder. The only real fault I see at this age might just be the picture, and that's the eyes. They look greenish yellow in the pictures... according to the old standard they should be bay I believe. Mine are a bit more reddish bay than the pictures I posted, so it might just be the camera.


    I have a question for all the Orloff breeders here. I've read that several breeders are having feathered legs pop up in their chicks fairly regular. Has this been a problem with your stock? Personally I've never ran across that particular problem.
     
  7. kahlua

    kahlua Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NJ
    Thanks - good call on the eyes, I will double check tomorrow in daylight but in the pics it looks like their eyes are sort of olive green. I will keep my fingers crossed that the color might change as they grow. They seem a little more brown than they were in the pics I took a few weeks ago, so maybe...
     
  8. happyhens120

    happyhens120 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have run across that problem here. Probably 1 in 15 chicks have feathered legs, only one with full feathering, and a few others with just a single feather. I am in the process of separating my hens to see which of the hens is throwing the feather leg gene, and I've also crossed the roo with Ameraucana to see if it's the roo that's got the gene. I culled a few from the flock yesterday that had feather legs. My hens are from Ideal, so I'm wondering if anyone else has had that problem with their hens??
     
  9. desertmarcy

    desertmarcy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 26, 2011
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    I have one hen that has stubs, but not actual feathers. That is one out of the 8 I started with (5 hens and 3 roosters). I have not seen any on the ones I held back this year.
     
  10. NCSprout

    NCSprout Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Both of my birds from Kummer have feathering between the toes. I had one hatch from Casper that had shanks feathered, but I culled it for crossbeak. I have been going through different standards and some call it a fault where others don't. I think we should try to breed away from it, personally.

    As I understand it, Curtis Flannery supplied a majority of the hatcheries with their original Orloffs after his 1984 import. That being said, I have come to learn that there were a few people with Orloffs prior to that import. I am trying to gather more info on that. What ever the case, I believe we have a limited gene pool her in the US and the only solution aside from importing more is to acquire different strains from the start and attempt to have a more diverse flock. I hope to one day be able to import a bit of new blood into the states, but that's a good ways down the road.

    Take care
    Ivy
     

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