Seney breed - they were real!

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by SeneyMaker, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. SeneyMaker

    SeneyMaker Out Of The Brooder

    13
    2
    24
    Oct 21, 2014
    Hello all,
    I am the original creator of the Seney breed that was mentioned on this board some time ago. I ran a website for the breed for several years. A thread surfaced in 2012 that was a bit controversial. Many did not believe that they were a breed or I didn’t spend a good part of my life (and income) creating them. There were a few believers that stood up to the non-believers. I want to extend a warm “thank you” to those valiant people that took the heat for me.
    Final answer: They were real and they did exist.
    Yes, they “did” exist. Maybe they still do. I haven’t heard from one of the breeders that took them over in about a year. I have no idea what state they are in. I ended up giving them away to a few poultry hobbyists so some 4-H kids could have some fun with them. They had some pretty big smiles on their faces! It’s all good. I needed to pass the torch to a new generation. We must remember to share what we have with future generations.
    So now, I will answer a few questions you might have:

    • Did Seney chickens really breed true? You bet they did! They bred true to type. And there was a strict type. Some colors were stable while others were in-progress. I was always unlocking color genotypes created by our ancestors and playing around with genes to see how they worked. The last discovery was never documented and unlocked a mystery to at least three incredibly difficult standard color varieties. Segregating that gene was the most difficult thing I have ever done. But man, did that gene make some cool colors! My biggest problem was having enough room to make so many color varieties. I had all of the keys and not enough money or room to make them all.
    • Why did I discontinue the breed? Nobody cared about them. (or didn’t believed that they really existed) That’s the simple truth. And yes, I did spend thousands of dollars and many years to make them. Look at my avatar and run some statistical numbers on the gene combinations that it took to create those birds. Every Seney made was created from scratch. My last color variety was porcelain. My favorite was the Comets and Meteors. Truly stunning! (They used that magical gene) I’ll save you the trouble with the numbers. The statistics to get all genes homozygous for all of the features in a Seney is in the realm of millions-to-one. Really. I did find some shortcuts, obviously, after I learned a few genetic tricks. But still, it was one heck of a project. Just to get long outer toes on an extreme feather footed bird was nearly impossible. I had to hope for just the right split of a tight linkage. It was excruciatingly difficult. I ate a lot of chicken back then. I have six gardens now and I eat deer instead.
    • Heck, even the owners of the poultry magazines blew me off when I offered to write a story about creating a new breed. For free! I was one of the very few people at the time that understood the entire chicken genome enough to “use” that knowledge to create something truly unique in this world. Some of the genes I discovered are now discussed world-wide over the internet and I bet nobody knows that I identified them and told people how they worked. I know some of them are discussed on this board and I have seen some of the genes listed in tables around the world. Cool! For a bit of trivia, I was one of the charter posters of poultry on the very first poultry website. I answered questions for thousands of people for many years. I quit when I no longer had time to participate and I found myself repeating myself every day. I handed the torch over to others that I had helped for years. I bet some of those people made it here.

    Thank you for your time and I wish you all the very best with your poultry projects. Don’t give up on understanding your birds. Like Jeffreys said in his poultry genetics book, it is identifying the finer points that are the keys to the genome. Someday the knowledge you glean will be useful beyond what you may realize presently. And keep your children involved in raising animals and gardening. I can’t stress enough how important that is. And I know many of you understand why.
    Best regards,
    RJ Seney


    edited by staff
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2014
  2. MeghanChickLady

    MeghanChickLady Chillin' With My Peeps

    105
    3
    63
    Aug 6, 2014
    An entire breed constructed and few believed. Amazing. If I may, could I ask you a few questions? This article/post truly interested me.

    1.) Do you have any means of contacting the owners of your Seney birds? If so, do you think you could post that information(if they are alright with that) on this site, or privately message me? I would love to own and continue--with your permission--that line of birds. I'm amazed that you were able to put so much into this project and finally make it true and worth it.

    2.) What birds and genes did you "mix" together to create this breed? I fully understand if you don't wish to share this. Again, creating an entire breed of your own must have been a long, thoughtful, time consuming project, and I fully thank you for your efforts. I don't know you, but I should like to; and if you do reply to this, I would be very happy to know the answers to my questions. Like I said, though, I fully understand if you don't answer or don't want to.

    3.) Lastly, what inspired you to just up and work to make this breed true(if it hadn't already been bred)? How did you decide to scrounge up the money and efforts it took to construct the breed?

    These are my questions. I do hope you`ll answer, or if not, at least reply. I enjoyed reading your post, and was surprised that someone had done the job and made the Seney breed exist. I haven't heard of this "Seney breed" before, and if you do not answer my questions, I do hope you`ll tell me about the breed, the colors, and(if you can) post some pictures if you have any.

    Thank you very much!

    --Meghan
     
  3. SeneyMaker

    SeneyMaker Out Of The Brooder

    13
    2
    24
    Oct 21, 2014
    Hello Meghan,

    Thank you for your interest in the Seney breed. I am more than happy to address your questions.

    I have not had any contact with the people that took my birds in over a year. The last I heard was they were planning to hatch some this year. I looked over some chicks that they hatched the same year that they took them from me and saw that they were experiencing incubator problems. I advised them to change a few things for incubating and they said that they would make some changes. The people did not get many chicks that year. However, the ones they got were really nice looking.

    The people are very nice and extremely interested in poultry and farming in general. However, they do not know anything about genetics. Most people don't. They also placed some of my birds with other families. I have no idea who those people are. I can contact one of the people that have my birds, but I doubt that they have any for sale. My birds were also co-mingled with other birds and brought to a county fair. I expect they may have sustained losses to disease by now. My breed was under strict bio-security when I owned them and did not experience many losses at all. It is a tough call when a family has youngsters that are into 4-H. They look forward to showing their birds and you don't want to train wreck that by keeping all of your birds home. It is what it is.

    In regards to the genotypes, each color variety was different. However, the breed did have a strict type that I adhered to. They had to have yellow legs, extreme leg AND foot feathering, long outer toes, beard/muff, tassel, pea or single comb, a semi upright carriage, a large tail carried high, but not like a squirrel, and vulture hocks. They were VERY large birds that were very gentle. Roosters could be penned together and children could play with them. Cold hardiness was also part of the breed. They could outlast any breed in subzero weather, bar none. In-fact, all coops were not enclosed completely even when it was -40 below zero. The Seney chickens would actually do better in below freezing temperatures than when it was cold and wet. With that said, they were always healthy because of biosecurity measures. To put it more correctly, it was easier for me to keep the pens dry when it was below freezing. Hens would lay eggs down to -20 degrees. They would stop temporarily when it got below that temperature. If their water froze, they were smart enough to go outside and eat snow. When it is below zero, water freezes very quickly and I normally did not use an electric water heater to keep it melted. I only used electric water heaters in the late winter when the hens began laying more eggs for breeding purposes. I wanted to be assured that they stayed hydrated.

    My avatar is a picture of the wheaten variety.

    I was inspired to make this breed when I went to a poultry show in Springfield Mass. and saw tons of very fancy bantams, but no fancy large chickens. My ultimate goal was to make a large porcelain and Mille Fleur from scratch that would rival bantam d'Uccles. I made many Mille Fleurs and a couple of Porcelains before I decided that I was done. That was when I tried to sell them so others could move them forward. I only received one request from Saudi Arabia. No joke. I did not follow-up on that one. Color varieties included Wheaten, Mille Fleur, Porcelain, Meteor, Comet, BBR, Golden, white, barred, crele, black, speckled mahogany, partridge, lavender, and creame. There were more color projects that played with the color genes, but were never perfected. Not all of the colors were brought forward. I had a habit of making a color and then switching to make another one. There was no color I could not reproduce, especially after identifying a "new" gene at the extended locus point. (The gene was not really new, but it was never documented)

    In regards to money, it was very expensive to keep the number of birds required to not get them too in-bred. That was going to be a problem and I saw the train coming. That was another motivator to get them into other breeders' hands. I needed to have competent breeders that understood genetics so we could exchange birds and keep a pedigree running. Larger birds eat a lot of food and feed is not cheap. That was the outflow of money. I worked on the birds for over 20 years. I'm sure the cost was in the tens of thousands over that amount of time. I have the utmost respect for our ancestors that created the breeds we have now. It must have been very difficult.

    The Seney breed is actually trade marked by me. With that said, I would like to see them continue if people are interested. I'll see what the status is on them in the next couple of weeks. If the person is agreeable, I will discuss with him the idea of coming over here to post about them and/or put some up for sale in the buy/sell/trade section. Fall is always the best time to find homes for over-flow birds. Hopefully he is doing well enough by now to have some. He was going to cross into something else, though, just to see what was going to happen. But I would imagine that he still kept some pure.

    I do want to mention one very important bit of information. If a person is going to create a breed, do not go through a winter with just one rooster. Three is a bare minimum and five is better. Obviously, the more you have, the better, but cost is always a factor. If he did not keep to those numbers, he might even be out of the game. I know he got hit with attacks from raccoons during the first winter and he was down on birds. Another good point is to hedge your bets and spread them across several buildings. One never knows what could happen in one building.

    I am contemplating putting my website back up so people can see some old pictures of the birds. I might also write a couple of articles on that site if I get a chance. I'm presently in the middle of editing one book and writing another, but maybe I can find a few minutes to get the old site up if I need to take a break. I would have to move the pages to my new web hosting company were I have pages for "something else" and then make it compatible. With that said, my first post on this forum was edited by the staff here and they took out some links I posted. I might not be able to point you to my website if I do decide to put it up. At this point, it isn't an issue because I might not even resurrect the site. My plate runith over with work from two jobs and many hobbies.

    Again, I am happy to see somebody that is interested in resurrecting the breed. They were amazing birds. Hopefully some of them survived. If not, I might be able to guide people as to how to make them again. Expect it to take many years, though. (and a lot of chicken feed)

    Take care,

    RJ Seney
     
  4. MeghanChickLady

    MeghanChickLady Chillin' With My Peeps

    105
    3
    63
    Aug 6, 2014
    RJ Seney,

    Thank you(lots and lots) for replying to my post and answering my questions. I am deeply grateful, and if you do find the time, you SHOULD bring up your old website or at least post some pictures on this forum. If you don't know how, I(and others I know)could help to teach you. They helped me!

    I would like to let you know, I AM interested in obtaining, breeding, buying, etc. Seney birds. I did not expect that they were large birds, but size to me is of no matter; I love my poultry all the same. What you said about them being absolutely fine in winter interested me. My own chickens, silkies and Rhode Island Whites, are going through their first winter as of now and are not very happy at all. Their pen is muddied and rather gross, and because of crammed spaces(we need to lengthen the yard) they most always have smudges and mud spots on their feathers. Because of the mud, their water is almost always dirty, even within minutes of changing. Me--and the chickens--are going totally crazy!

    So, as you said, I would enjoy having a bird that, while not good in mud, is at home with colder conditions. I will admit, I was shocked to hear that they could lay eggs in such cold temperatures. At around 40-45 degrees a day, my hens egg production is just starting to decline. To be able to get eggs year round would be a luxury. The production would be wonderful and we would most likely be drowning in eggs.

    As for breeding purposes, I am extremely interested. I planned, just this year, to breed silkies come summer time. I only have whites, but I wanted to purchase other varieties of color and breed them, within that single color or within other colors. For example, white with black. What I'm wondering is, would this make Splash? Or would the offspring be a simply grey, or just black, or white? I have a certain fascination with creating things and learning things on my own, finding it out through mistakes and success. I still plan on doing so, as a more "beginner" attempt at seeing how it would work out, money-wise, bird-wise, etc. But, in a few years, if I had money available, I should enjoy to think that I might own a few Seney birds or be on my way to owning them.

    If you should hear of a possible sale of your Seney chickens, please do contact me. I would love to buy the birds. A quick question: what, averaged out, do you think the prices would be? I have hopes of breeding or owning Seney birds, and hopefully with your help, I might.

    Sincerely,
    Meghan
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by