Depending on where you get stock they really can be all over the map type wise. My hatchery stuff never really panned out.
My breeder birds are looking pretty good, nice and wide good shape - color needs work in some but they've all got black laced tails, and mostly good leg color.
My Del from Cyn is just massive. People ask me how old he is all the time and he's just a cockeral - he's got my last best 2 year old roo beat all hollow. Great shape, mass, width and type, now to improve his crumby comb - at least it's not sprigged or floppy, and he's got really good hackle and tail barring. So between the breeder hens and him I have something to work with. Combs will be an issue. Seem to be in most lines still.
Still even the hatchery birds were busy, energetic good foragers - though yeah I had trouble with hatchery cockeral attitude. Ick. Buhbye.
I think they're gorgeous even when they are flawed. I'll be keeping them.
This is a challenging breed to work with, Joann. There simply is not much good stock out there, period. The tail barring in your pullet could actually mean better tail barring in her sons, but obviously, she should have tail black, not barring. That pops up even in good breeder lines. My Phoebe had some barring in her tail as a youngster, but now, has very good tail black instead. You really don't fully know what you have with these since it takes until maturity for them to get their final plumage and clear out the excess black color on the backs of the males.
In Delawares, it's best to do a double mating system to get the best birds, however, that obviously becomes a bit more complicated, takes more space, etc. Of course, if you have a perfect Delaware already, you have arrived. It is quite a process to breed them for both sexes to be correct per standard.
IMO, the best thing to do is to start with stock from a really serious breeder of Delawares (if you can find one, that is!) and go from there.
Cher, I'm glad you ended up with a great big guy out of that bunch! If folks saw Isaac in person, they'd be amazed at how really huge he is. Even standing near my great big 14 lb. blue Orp, Suede, he doesn't look small in the least!
Wonderful Delawares, all of you! And JoAnn, my hens are hatchery flock and my rooster is breeder flock with a crappy comb. My pullets are MUCH bigger than their mothers and my cockerels are pretty big as well.
Correct combs when you combine lines - for instance my Algernon - a heritage bird was from two good lines combined for the first time - results great size and type and combs allllllll over the place.
Lots of sprigged birds, lots of odd combs, not five points and sort of jagged like the one you mentioned and or many pointed or with a curve or flop. So if you cross any lines you have to totally re-sort and re-cull combs again until you clean up the lines. Tons of culling.
Add that I took a heritage bird and crossed him to actually lesser quality breeder hens - and I'll be doing MORE culling. I plan on hatching through the winter and culling hard to get the next generation ahead of spring.
I don't mind the battle, I think they're awesome even flawed. So they're pretty until they're replaced by better and they LAY exceedingly well so I'm happy.
Especially with a breed with so much new interest and new development each generation is a work in progress. I could have taken ribbons with my birds this year, at the fairs I went to, there were no dels. That makes it easy. But I won't until I've got a better group and then they can "compete" against each other. That will be fun.
Still I think people should SEE the breed, they're awesome. I just wish there were a better pool of good birds to get eggs from. That hatchery stuff - ugh.
I'll work on mine over winter - add in more heritage stuff next year. Do it all again - really going for the standard and very nearly a meat bird. Given Algernon's size I don't think it's unreasonable over time.
I like them, I think they really show promise as an actual dual purpose bird. They're very predator savvy, they're great foragers.
Now by April next year I expect to have replaced every single one of my hens and Algernon for a better son. But that's the way it goes. And by fall again as well, probably at least half of them.
I won't be selling my pullet culls as delawares. I will sell them as mixes. Of course I plan on eating the roos. I won't sell purebred eggs until I have more consistent type. Seeing what's been sold elsewhere as dels, has narrowed my view of what should be sold as purebred.
I'll let people with better stock sell "purebred" dels. But I will enjoy the look of these really magnificent birds free ranging all over my property greatly. Now if they'd just stay out from under the mini-van with the oil leak and stop turning brown on top. Grrr.
Mine are Whitmore, and they are everything he said they would be. No fault to Whitmore, they have been great to work with. I might deal with them again in the future.
I will be keeping the pullets if I cannot find a good place to send them. But the cockerels are currently more trouble than I am willing to put up with right now. With the weather changing, I don't have the ability to winter the cockerels separate from the laying flock and they are tearing up the pullets more than the other cockerels. If I could separate them in good shelter, I might try to keep them longer, but I just cannot right now. Sorry birds.
I don't like to have to keep even half an eye on a rooster. I will try some Sand Hill Preservation Delawares in the Spring I think.
We have their Ameraucana and Welsummers too. Really colorful, pleasant birds, especially the Welsummer pullets.