A little back story, for some of you who don't know ( most of you ) - My family has been involved with chickens as far back as I can count. We have birds in our care that are 60+ years of bloodlines in the making. These birds are, without a doubt, the pride of the family. Their current care taker, my uncle, has been very depressed lately. He called my mother today ( his sister ) and basically informed her he wouldn't be hatching this year and would be slimming numbers. If I wanted to save any, I needed to get down there ASAP and pick up the bloodlines I don't want to chance losing. I only have room for two breeds, as they are breeds I already have on property and would happily make more pens for... But there are five breeds in question that I am seriously wanting to rescue. The two breeds in question are: Clarets ( whites, 'spangleds' [more like mottleds at this stage in development], and the two brown varieties. - AND - 'Whites' not sure what breed they really are, but since I was a kid I've known them as Whites. I've always been fond of these birds, as they are easy to handle ( considering they're game ) and very hardy. I once told my uncle if anything ever happened, I definitely wanted the clarets. They have been in the family for a LONG time. My great Uncle Slim got them from his great uncle, who got them from his grandfather and that's about all I know about them. Without a doubt, I am taking the rest of the clarets. Most likely going to take on the whites as well since I have been drooling over them for years. These birds are all banded and will come with the 'pedigree books' my family has kept on them. I'm pretty excited. BUT, I'm worried he will start GIVING away birds if we don't get them all out of there. He is very depressed. Hasn't hatched anything this year, has birds running willy nilly all over the property, and is generally slipping. Birds haven't been shown in over a year as he hasn't been feeling 'up to it'. But also, there is about 100 or so ROOSTERS missing. He thinks they were stolen. I am seconding this idea. He has five or six types of Grays, Hatches, Jumpers, Butchers, Sid Taylors, and three types of Blues. There are also 'Pumpkin' somethings, and many MANY other breeds I do not know. We're talking birds into the thousands here. Do NOT want to lose these birds! But, if we have to slim down, I would at least like to oversee who he is selling them to and offer them out with buy back guarantee. I repeat that several of these birds trace back 60+ years. 8+ generations... etc. Fly pens are in the works. My new poultry barn is in the works. But, I'm thinking I'm about to have a LOT of tractors / random pens around my yard. Seeing as roosters can NOT go in the same pen, be allowed near each other, have any contact at all whatsoeverEVER or they will kill/maul each other. So, now that I'm done rambling on about this... If you were in my situation, would you go with breeds you are FOND of and expand your own flocks? Or just stick with the two birds that were already preceeded to be handed down to you for the next generation of raising? I'm MORE than willing to take on more breeds... But I am also unsure. I'm physically shaking after writing all of this, so I guess I will stop here. In summary - Uncle is depressed. Birds are going 'missing'. Flock dispersal won't involve sales, it will involve FREE birds. No hatching in 6 or so months. Birds starting to lose their good looks due to lack of care. Property is starting to fall apart. 110 miles away, no chance in just taking over the whole operation there without moving back home. Wouldn't be able to move back home in a year, and I ( I ) own the property we live now... My grandfather owns 1/2 of the property the Houston birds are on, and my uncle the other half. My grandfathers half goes to me, not sure who Uncle Bubba willed his to.