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Should I Breed My Rooster?

Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the Standard o' started by Vermont Poultry, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. Vermont Poultry

    Vermont Poultry Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2016
    Northern Vermont
    I would like to hatch out chicks this spring but I don't know If I should breed my rooster because he has a single comb despite being a Gold Laced Wyandotte. I do not want to affect the breed negatively in anyway, and do not want to breed traits that don't belong. What would happen if I crossed my GLW with single comb, with pea comb pullets? Anyway I do not intend on showing these birds, but still do not want to alter the breed. Am I being over dramatic? Last question: if I want more chicks come spring should I just purchase them? I am relatively new to chickens and may want to show birds later down the line, can you purchase show quality chicks?

    Thanks, I apologize if my questions seem foolish.
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Is he from a good breeder? If not, chances are a single comb is the least of his bad traits, at least from an exhibition and breeding standpoint. Most hatchery birds, if you were to put them side by side with a standardbred bird, wouldn't even look like the same breed. You could probably stick the same two birds in front of any city-slicker who's never touched a chicken in their life and they'd still tell you they look completely different! (No offense meant to any chicken-loving city people who may be reading this). And just the same in any serious poultry show a hatchery stock animal would probably be quickly disqualified for a variety of reasons.

    A single comb is considered is disqualification so technically, yes it would be detrimental to the breed. IF you were planning on in any way using these birds in a show ring or selling them as such. However I see no issue with production quality Wyandottes in and of themselves and if you want to breed them you may as well go right ahead. Are they essentially mixed breeds bearing a vague resemblance to actual Wyandottes? Yep, absolutely. However the vast majority of poultry keepers don't know the difference and couldn't care less, since these functionally mixed breed birds are often fantastic layers who are quite a bit more practical in egg production than standardbred Wyandottes.

    Most breeders will not sell show quality chicks, just because show quality parents don't always produce show quality chicks and any breeder worth their salt will want to know exactly what they are selling and what buyers are receiving. So mostly, all birds who are truly good representations of the breed and can actually compete in a show will be sold as adults, usually in pairs or trios. Beyond that breeders will often look for serious breeders and exhibitors to sell these birds to - no sense wasting a good quality bird on someone who won't use it to improve and further the breed, especially when many of the old American breeds and varieties are in serious jeopardy and there are only a handful (often less than 10) of breeders keeping good specimens from extinction.

    As for what would happen if you did breed your rooster, you'd probably get a lot of rose comb babies and some single comb babies. (Wyandottes should sport a rose comb, not a pea comb - I assume this is just a terminology error on your part, as I've never seen a Wyandotte who has a pea comb, no matter how bad). Single comb is a recessive gene however it's incredibly common in hatchery Wyandottes, so statistically some of your females will have it. This means that you will probably see a good 75% hetero rose combs (hetero meaning they have one rose comb gene and one single comb gene) which will be rather large, thick, and ugly - not nearly as tight to the head. You might get about 25% regular old single comb offspring.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  3. Vermont Poultry

    Vermont Poultry Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2016
    Northern Vermont
    Yes my bad, I meant rose. I was just afraid of possibly altering the breed, because I was planning on giving some to friends. Oh and another terminology mishap, the "rooster" is actually a cockerel, but still old enough to breed. I am soon to be building, an 8x20 add on to the coop, so I will be getting more breeds, and may be interested in more high quality birds. Is there a page specifically for learning about chicken genetics? Thanks.
  4. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    What do the friends want them for? Just layers/pets? Again, chances are your stock (you didn't specify where you got them from but I'm gonna assume a hatchery or feed store) are far enough removed from standardbred Wyandottes - true representatives of the breed - that breeding them just won't have any impact, negative or positive, on the breed. The fact that you looked at a bird with a single comb and said "Hmm, that's not a characteristic of the breed, should I avoid letting this bird reproduce?" puts you light years ahead of the large hatcheries that will let anything with good egg production and a vague resemblance to the breed reproduce. Unless you yourself intend on showing these birds (most likely a waste of time) or selling them for such purposes, there's not really any reason not to let them breed unless they're in any way weakly or lack vigor.

    I gained most of my base genetics knowledge from reading this page:


    Playing around with this calculator, designed by the same guy:


    and by purchasing myself a copy of Genetics of the Fowl by F.B. Hutt.

    With that said, I also learned more about practical genetics and breeding in one season of actual, goal-oriented breeding and hatching than I did from several years of reading books.
    2 people like this.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Genetic studies are fine. But, breeding birds to the Standard first requires study of the breed's characteristics to Nth degree and to the finest of points. It means training your "eye" to "see" type, type, type. This is a different and unique skill set and is best done with a mentor in the breed who can catapult you forward in ways the books and charts just never can. Once you hang around with a top breeder of pure bred, Standard bred poultry your eyes get opened to what these really are, living works of art. Own the Standard of Perfection (APA) for large fowl, ABA for focusing on bantams. Study it like the bible of the fancy it is intended to be. Commit to complete memory the standard for your chosen breed. Every jot and tittle. Be able to recite it upon request.

    It is a life time journey and not accomplished quickly. Again, this is more art than science and learning under the tutelage of a master is priceless. 90% of the folks who are the very best breeders didn't learn their craft (and yes, it is a craft) from books. They learned it primarily from being discipled.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
    3 people like this.
  6. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    Hi Vermont Poultry,
    These are two very talented and experienced breeders who have given you great advice. If I could just interject just a sec. I started in different breeds with eggs and baby chicks. It wasn't until I started with "started birds" that I found true success with the Light Sussex ( for whom I waited a year). Tho I had to give them up because of our recent bitter winters here in western PA, I did learn my lesson and am currently waiting till next Aug. for my bunch of White Chanteclers to arrive.
    It does seem like a long time, but the birds will be top notch and started by the breeder who developed the strain and understands how they inherit their virtues and faults. So he will cull and raise the birds I need. Not just birds I want. Take time and ferret out a :
    1. top winning strain of your chosen breed.
    2.One which is linebred over many generations
    3. and winning in quality competition
    4.over multiple generations.
    These 4 points are crucial to finding quality birds.
    Contact that breeder and ask for "started birds". A trio ( 1 M, 2F) or better a Quad ( 2M,2F). Explain you want to linebreed that strain and why. Explain the birds need to be related so you can breed them together to form your flock. Do Not cross straisn to found your flock. This is very important!! Chickens have a very wide genetic base and can stand inbreeding.
    Follow the breeders advice on setting up your mating for 2-3 years. By then you will have some nice birds on the ground and begin to understand how the strain throws fauts and virtues. Then you can start to make your own matings and run them by the strain's owner to double check.
    There are a lot of sex-linked genes in poultry and this is the best way to keep your gene pool stabilized until you learn enough about how it inherits to make wise selections yourself.
    Karen in western PA, USA
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  7. Vermont Poultry

    Vermont Poultry Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2016
    Northern Vermont
    Thanks all of you guys! It might be a couple years before I get into showing, but this info will definitely help A LOT. I am relativelty educated in the subject of human genetics, but I have much to learn about chickens. We are going to give our friends chicks for laying eggs, as their flock of 20 was wiped out from an uknown disease. Thanks again for the information.
  8. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    For further study, smile.
    I was breeding Sussex at the time, so that's why the Sussex books are included.
    Here ya go:

    If I could have only 8 books
    in my Library they would be ( the others a also very valuable!) :

    1. Genetics of Chicken Colours-The Basics

    2. Genetics of Chicken Extremities

    3. APA 2010 Standard of Perfection

    4. The Sussex Fowl
    By Sharpe 1920 .
    Sharpe was one of the 3 great secrateries of the Sussex Poultry Club
    in England. The other 2 were Leo Outram and Judge Clem Watson.
    Sharpe was a legendary Sussex breeder and originated the
    Light Sussex. This book is a classic. ( read online free)

    5. 21st Century Poultry Breeding
    by Grant Brereton

    6. Laws governing the breeding of standard fowls. c.1
    by Card, Wetherell Henry. Published 1912
    This is a small 55 page book. A treasure of distilled knowledge.
    Note these are Laws, not opinions or theories. Judge Card was known
    for his ability to take a complicated genetics topic and make it simple.
    (read online free) Love, love, love this pithy little tome!

    7. The Light Sussex
    by Broomhead, William White, 1875-
    Published 1921
    W.W. Broomhead was one of the three Broomhead brothers who were noted poultry men in England. He was a Sussex expert and Judge for the Sussex Poultry Club. He later went on to become President of the Poultry Club of Britain. This little 8 page gem is a classic because of the author's distinguished reputation and his insightful knowledge of the breed. W.W. Broomhead also edited one of the editions of the Poultry Club Standards as well as the Sussex Standard itself.
    It matters not which variety one has, this brochure's study of breed type applies to all. Type is the breed. Blood tells. ( read free online )

    American Poultry Advocate - Volume 26 - Feb. 1918 - Page 202
    The Proper Color of Speckled Sussex
    An article written by Mr. A. J. Falkenstein,
    the leading English breeder of Speckled Sussex,
    A speech given in 1917 ( read free online)
    During this period, many Speckled Sussex had a more ginger colored
    ground color rather than the desired dark color. Mr. Falkenstein
    popularized the darker color and, following his lead, the Sussex fancy
    moved the Speckled Sussex to the lovely mahogany bay ground color
    we see today. You can see the change in the tobacco cards issued:
    1911 : http://tinyurl.com/ppo2ske
    1930's : http://tinyurl.com/mo6aaw2

    And for deeper study

    9. the 3 DVD set
    by Danne Honour
    which includes much rare lit on the "Art of Breeding".
    1000's of pages ( articles) on breeding for type and color by the Dean of the color Buff,
    a legendary breeder of prize-winning poultry, esp. Buff Leghorns. ( Get the set from him)

    10. Art and Science in Breeding : Creating Better Chickens
    by Margaret E. Derry.
    A fantastic book on the development of poultry breeding by a
    talented author who writes on the various histories of animal breeding.
    Ms. Derry has a wonderful turn of the pen when writing about
    the history of animal breeding. She has had published a total
    of 6 books. These 3 books are listed in order of year published:

    Bred for Perfection: Shorthorn Cattle, Collies and Arabian Horses since 1800 (2003)
    By Margaret E. Derry

    Art and Science in Breeding: Creating Better Chickens
    By Margaret E. Derry

    and in Nov. 2014:
    Masterminding Nature: The Breeding of Animals, 1750-2010
    By Margaret E. Derry

    Bookfinder is a massive mega booksearch database. Been around a long time.
    Some of these books may be available as used editions for a good price. Beware if you find SOP's tho. The APA never relinquished their copyright on the SOP. Some fly-by-night reprinters have taken the old pre-1926 editions and reprinted them illegally. Nabu Press is one of them. Often they are cheap OCR copies with many typos because of the cheap scanning.
    For me, the first 3 books are simply essential.

    I have found the HathiTrust Digital Library to have a great selection of poultry books. It has a nimble search engine. Can search for full view books. And keyword search inside them. Lots of great books and magazines there. Including Hutt's Genetics of the Fowl and poultry yearbooks. One great reference is the Bibliography of Grit. A great little volume which also includes abstracts of each cite. https://www.hathitrust.org/

    Best Success,
    in western PA, USA
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  9. Vermont Poultry

    Vermont Poultry Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2016
    Northern Vermont
    Thanks, this pretty much sets me up for success. I will be reading in to most of those sources, when I can afford it I may even purchase an APA copy. It could be years before I step into breeding, but I love learning and this should give me a solid foundation in what I need to know. Haha I just asked a question and only expected a simple answer, got more than I expected. This site is great[​IMG]

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