Silkie Breeders, what does your cull/keeper list look like?

Gilded Feather

Songster
May 21, 2019
164
257
116
KY-WV line
Ok, so I have 18 silkie chicks that are just about 2.5 months as of right now. 3 of them were apparent culls by the month old mark, so now I’m down to 15. I know I have a ways to go before I can really get a good guess on who to keep and who to cull but I wanted to get a jump on this and gather as much info and insight as I can before the time comes. So... my question is this: from ‘immediate cull’ to ‘I can work with that’ what is your cull list comprised of?

As of now I believe I have 3 really nice prospects. The others aren’t bad but have yet to stand out. If you don’t necessarily have a cull list, then what does your keeper checklist look like? At this point I’m really trying to get a ranged guess of what I should and shouldn’t be worried about and if I’m being too extreme too soon. I try to keep telling myself that they’re only 2.5 months old and have a lot of filling out to do but I’m also preparing myself to have to cull hard.
 

Hawkeye95

Songster
8 Years
Jun 18, 2011
4,427
50
246
Oklahoma City area
My Coop
My Coop
I don't get rid of any chicks immediately for any reason. Honestly, I grow everything out, and I don't expect to be able to really see their full potential until 8 months to a year. And even then, I have birds that at 2 years suddenly turn into something truely amazing. I have been known to hit around 200 birds before doing a serious sweep of everything-- and yes I've sold before they hit a year if it doesn't look like they are going to pull it together. Once everyone has at least hit a year old, then I'll start bringing what I won't show to the swaps or to sell at the shows to pet them out. There are a lot of things I'm looking for, and depending on variety, depends on what I'm going to keep and what I'm working on building on. I've been breeding Silkies and showing them many years, so I'm probably a little more laid back about removing birds too early than some. I just have seen too many so/so birds turn into something special once they got older and filled in. I don't spend much (or any) time evaluating a bird until they are older just because crests, cushions, and beards take a long time to mature. By winter my pens that had 200 birds will be back down to around 50 or less again... I try to be really picky, and I don't want to over-winter that many birds anyway!
 

Gilded Feather

Songster
May 21, 2019
164
257
116
KY-WV line
I don't get rid of any chicks immediately for any reason. Honestly, I grow everything out, and I don't expect to be able to really see their full potential until 8 months to a year. And even then, I have birds that at 2 years suddenly turn into something truely amazing. I have been known to hit around 200 birds before doing a serious sweep of everything-- and yes I've sold before they hit a year if it doesn't look like they are going to pull it together. Once everyone has at least hit a year old, then I'll start bringing what I won't show to the swaps or to sell at the shows to pet them out. There are a lot of things I'm looking for, and depending on variety, depends on what I'm going to keep and what I'm working on building on. I've been breeding Silkies and showing them many years, so I'm probably a little more laid back about removing birds too early than some. I just have seen too many so/so birds turn into something special once they got older and filled in. I don't spend much (or any) time evaluating a bird until they are older just because crests, cushions, and beards take a long time to mature. By winter my pens that had 200 birds will be back down to around 50 or less again... I try to be really picky, and I don't want to over-winter that many birds anyway!
Yes! Thank you so much for your response! I was starting to think this thread would die before it could start. :bow

But ok, that does make a lot of sense. I’ve heard a couple of people say start culling at 6 months but a rooster doesn’t really ‘bloom’ until he’s at least a year old so what you have said rings more true. I guess I can rest easy then until at least 8 months. Oh, I feel as if a weight has been lifted! :ya I absolutely love being educated by someone who’s had years of practice.
 

MakMurrayFarm

Chirping
May 8, 2019
73
76
87
So I agree with the previous thread post.. Wait to cull. What if you cull something that can blossom? Atleast have a grow out pen, let them grow out keep your "stars" sell who doesnt fit in with your program!!!



Yes! Thank you so much for your response! I was starting to think this thread would die before it could start. :bow

But ok, that does make a lot of sense. I’ve heard a couple of people say start culling at 6 months but a rooster doesn’t really ‘bloom’ until he’s at least a year old so what you have said rings more true. I guess I can rest easy then until at least 8 months. Oh, I feel as if a weight has been lifted! :ya I absolutely love being educated by someone who’s had years of practice.
 

Gilded Feather

Songster
May 21, 2019
164
257
116
KY-WV line
So I agree with the previous thread post.. Wait to cull. What if you cull something that can blossom? Atleast have a grow out pen, let them grow out keep your "stars" sell who doesnt fit in with your program!!!
Oh I most definitely will wait and then cull. Now I have a reason to keep my babies even longer. :celebrate
 

BreanneRN

Crowing
Jun 8, 2017
1,043
2,005
252
Central CA
Well, so far the respondents have all been experienced people who have been breeding a long, long, time, so their quality is (most likely) really high, i would imagine. Undoubtedly, they have eliminated a lot of problems or bought birds from people who had already, like missing toes, poor melanism, excessive feathering, lack of turquoise in the earlobes, twisted beak/crossed beak, atypical combs/big messy irregular combs, breakthrough color leakage, and hopefully, bad disposition. I have no idea where you are starting from or where your foundation stock came from, but if you have any of those things, they will not get better with age and they are some of the things I have seen in birds claimed to be "show quality" (buyer beware). Maybe you post some pics of your birds?
 

NNYchick

Crowing
Jun 15, 2017
1,338
2,258
251
Harrisville, NY
I’m a newbie too with only 2 year in so far. I don’t show and only have played a little bit with breeding. As im still learning A few things that have really helped me is 1) get a copy of the ABA or APA standard and study the first 30 pages, silkie SOP, and the description of the variety you want to start with. 2) join the American Silkie Bantam Club lots of information on breeding and showing, study pictures of birds that have actually won at sponsored events will help give you an eye for what your looking at when comparing what you read in the SOP. And get you familiar with the names of the serious silkie people 3) be very careful with the information you find on social media like Facebook a lot of misinformation being regurgitated. I like the group silkies pure and simple 4) if someone tries to sell you show quality eggs or chicks run any respectable breeder knows there is no such thing, they are hatching out hundreds of eggs to get a couple worthy of the show cage. Instead they should talk about their show experience, what faults in their birds they are working on and what attributes their birds have in order to help you figure out if their lines are going to work towards your goals.
Remember there are no perfect birds every bird has something that needs to be improved on for the next generation but knowing how to spot that and learning how to fix it will give you a big leg up. Most breeder birds wouldn’t do well at a show but mated correctly could produce a show bird.
 
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BreanneRN

Crowing
Jun 8, 2017
1,043
2,005
252
Central CA
I’m a newbie too with only 2 year in so far. I don’t show and only have played a little bit with breeding. As im still learning A few things that have really helped me is 1) get a copy of the ABA or APA standard and study the first 30 pages, silkie SOP, and the description of the variety you want to start with. 2) join the American Silkie Bantam Club lots of information on breeding and showing, study pictures of birds that have actually won at sponsored events will help give you an eye for what your looking at when comparing what you read in the SOP. And get you familiar with the names of the serious silkie people 3) be very careful with the information you find on social media like Facebook a lot of misinformation being regurgitated. I like the group silkies pure and simple 4) if someone tries to sell you show quality eggs or chicks run any respectable breeder knows there is no such thing, they are hatching out hundreds of eggs to get a couple worthy of the show cage. Instead they should talk about their show experience, what faults in their birds they are working on and what attributes their birds have in order to help you figure out if their lines are going to work towards your goals.
Remember there are no perfect birds every bird has something that needs to be improved on for the next generation but knowing how to spot that and learning how to fix it will give you a big leg up. Most breeder birds wouldn’t do well at a show but mated correctly could produce a show bird.
Really excellent advice! :goodpost:
 

Gilded Feather

Songster
May 21, 2019
164
257
116
KY-WV line
Well, so far the respondents have all been experienced people who have been breeding a long, long, time, so their quality is (most likely) really high, i would imagine. Undoubtedly, they have eliminated a lot of problems or bought birds from people who had already, like missing toes, poor melanism, excessive feathering, lack of turquoise in the earlobes, twisted beak/crossed beak, atypical combs/big messy irregular combs, breakthrough color leakage, and hopefully, bad disposition. I have no idea where you are starting from or where your foundation stock came from, but if you have any of those things, they will not get better with age and they are some of the things I have seen in birds claimed to be "show quality" (buyer beware). Maybe you post some pics of your birds?
Oh I most definitely will post pictures of them... some day. Lol I get the idea to go out and take some time to do so but inevitably end up doing the complete opposite. Right now I’ll have to clean some faces as I’ve been giving them fermented feed. But once they’re ready for their close ups I will make sure to come back and have opinions be made on them. :)
 

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