Serious about Chanteclers...

Ted Brown

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Yesterday I made an eight hour round trip to pickup fertilized White Chantecler eggs from a breeder near Granby, Quebec. Most educational, fascinating and successful.

The gentleman who I visited is SERIOUS about both Chanteclers and heritage turkeys; he has more turkeys than Chanteclers but his interest and focus seem likely to be equal. I spoke with him for about an hour about his Chanteclers. He has seven families from which he selects to produce more birds, two of which he discounts and does not sell from as he does not consider them to be to "Standard" (both the official standard as documented by the Trappist monk Brother Wilfrid Chatelain originator of the breed) and his own augmentation of that Standard); he keeps these two families bacause he can reliably trace them back many decades as from authentic Quebec flocks. I believe he is one of about 10 breeders of Chanteclers in Quebec who are responsible for resurrection and nurturing the breed in the eighties and continuing until today.

He breeds from early Spring through September and sells only eggs or layer pullets. He sells breed Standard pullets only although he has about 12 folks who take his non Standard birds at discounted prices for a variety of uses. His coop setup is harshly working class farm level with seven 4' by 6' cages that house one rooster and up to five females plus a closed brooder space where he keeps his chicks and extra working roosters. All enclosures, including those for turkeys, are open air either on one side or fully open and outside in the case of some of his turkeys. During breeding season the Chanteclers are kept in the cages, once the breeding season is over they are segregated by sex and allowed to range in fenced areas in the field next to his barn.

He gave me a very good instruction of the attributes that he uses to judge chicks as "up to standard" and has promised to send along an English translation of Brother Wilfred's 23 page book written in 1923 (I believe) of his Standard for the breed. I have yet to but will write down his comments and will take advantage of his invite to consult in the future as I progress down my own experience with Chanteclers. We also discussed more widely about the breed and chickens in general, clearly his thirty years of experience showed.

He disputes the assertion in BYC's description of Chanteclers as good brood/mother hens BUT this may be because of his preference for breed Standard layers. Certainly I would listen to his knowledge rather than the more general contained on BYC.

I also had confirmed that chickens do not conform to a given breed by virtue of lineage rather if they "look like a duck" and conform to some or all of the APA Standard then they can reliably be considered to be whatever breed they seem. He stated this as due to the fact that reliable tracing over many many years and hatching is impossible. Perhaps a subtle difference but significant to my general understanding of chicken husbandry.

Altogether a most educational and profitable day for me; I came away with 62 fertilized and documented eggs with his handwritten notes regarding parentage of each. More than a casual day at the office.
 
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ronott1

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That sounds like a nice trip!

I do wonder about using the old standard...unless there have been not enough changes to hurt someone showing them
 

Ted Brown

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That sounds like a nice trip!

I do wonder about using the old standard...unless there have been not enough changes to hurt someone showing them

Great trip I learned a lot.

I believe that the old Standard specifies a lessor weight than the APA Standard. I have a call scheduled with David Adkins (Secretary Treasurer of the APA) this week to discuss details, will be an interesting call.
 

Ted Brown

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There is an postscript to my Granby trip.

I called the gentleman who referred me to the breeder of Chanteclers that I visited to say thank you and provide an update. Note that I had spolen with him once previously and had not met him.. He is a farmer near Dorion, Quebec who has passed the farm along to his son. He is also a Director of Heritage Livestock Canada and "Rare Breeds of Canada". We spoke for perhaps 20 minutes at the end of which:

Elwood: "I expect to hear from you in 21 days about how the hatch turned out."
Me: (I chucked) "Well, there is a problem. My incubator only has 48 slots and I have sixty-two eggs."
Elwood cursed and said "You should have stopped on your way home, I have just cleaned and put away three incubators; you passed right by me." [I laughed.] "You live near Pembroke (Ontario) do you not?"
Me: "Close enough."
Elwood "I will bring you an incubator tomorrow." [NB That would be a 6 hour round trip.]
Me: "That is very generous of you but is a lot to ask."
Elwood: "You did not ask I offered."
Me: "Let me think about it."
Elwood: "Call me at 10am tomorrow."

I did do some thinking and also spoke with my sister who said I should accept the offer. I called Elwood back the next morning:

Me: "I will accept your very generous offer but propose that I meet you halfway. Hawkesbury is about that.".
Elwood: "Sounds good, we can meet at the park along the river just as you cross from Quebec into Ontario."
Me: "Perfect."

In fact Hawkesbury is more like 2/3s of the way to Elwood's location but no matter, better I do the driving than him. We met and he gave me a Hova Bator which I will return to him in the fall when my sister/BIL visit again.

Note again I had spoken with Elwood once on the phone and never met him. He is gem and a character for certain, I look forward to our next meet.
 
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Uff Da

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I also had confirmed that chickens do not conform to a given breed by virtue of lineage rather if they "look like a duck" and conform to some or all of the APA Standard then they can reliably be considered to be whatever breed they seem. He stated this as due to the fact that reliable tracing over many many years and hatching is impossible. Perhaps a subtle difference but significant to my general understanding of chicken husbandry.

I think the only chicken breed this isn't true for (and someone can correct me on this if they are aware of other breeds) is Icelandics. Icelandics are only considered to be "real" Icelandics if they can be traced directly back to the original preservation flocks. Lineage is the most important factor in determining whether or not a chicken is an Icelandic. In order to be accepted as a breeder you have to have clear paper trails for all your birds tracing back to the original preservation flocks. This is because Icelandics aren't a breed based on appearance, but in their genetic origins. They've been a closed pool since the 10th century or so.

If course, Icelandics will never be accepted into the APA for this reason, which is fine. Our goal is function and conservation of a distinct genetic resource.
 

Ted Brown

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After some false starts (problem with my incubator) I have sixty-two White Chantecler eggs in two incubators.

I have been incredibly fortunate to be assisted in this effort by the generosity of the gentleman I referred to in my post #4 above. Subsequent to the meet in Hawkesbury that I described above we met for a second time in Ottawa and he has loaned me a 2nd incubator plus a metal brooder from "back in the day" (very cool!). I will provide him with a male and two females from the hatch if it is successful as a way to say thank you in a tangible way.

Fingers crossed!
 

ronott1

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After some false starts (problem with my incubator) I have sixty-two White Chantecler eggs in two incubators.

I have been incredibly fortunate to be assisted in this effort by the generosity of the gentleman I referred to in my post #4 above. Subsequent to the meet in Hawkesbury that I described above we met for a second time in Ottawa and he has loaned me a 2nd incubator plus a metal brooder from "back in the day" (very cool!). I will provide him with a male and two females from the hatch if it is successful as a way to say thank you in a tangible way.

Fingers crossed!
It sounds like you are on your way!
 

Ted Brown

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Today is lockdown for the Chanticlers, mid-week we shall see if I get any live hatches.

Our first hatch was largely shepherded by my sister, this one entirely on my own. I think I have managed heat and humidity properly. I will use net bags to contain the new hatches so I can tag and keep track of which is which. Last hatch we left new chicks in the incubator for several days, this time round I will remove them to the brooder once they have dried and are fluffy.

Apprehensive...
 

aart

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Today is lockdown for the Chanticlers, mid-week we shall see if I get any live hatches.

Our first hatch was largely shepherded by my sister, this one entirely on my own. I think I have managed heat and humidity properly. I will use net bags to contain the new hatches so I can tag and keep track of which is which. Last hatch we left new chicks in the incubator for several days, this time round I will remove them to the brooder once they have dried and are fluffy.

Apprehensive...
:fl :fl :fl

Have you done any candling along the way?
 

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