Somethings not adding up.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by dbjay417, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. dbjay417

    dbjay417 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know a lot about genetics, and I'm hoping some one here can clarify for me.

    I've read that "broilers" aka cornish x rocks are f2 (second generation) hybrids. Mustering all of my common sense I can only reason that their parents must have been the f1 (first generation) hybrids, and their grandparents were pure breed.

    I'm hearing that hybrids dont produce offspring with the same characteristics as the parents. I dunno what the F1 cornishx chickens look like, but i do know what the pure breed grandparents look like, and they are pretty different from the F2 cornishx i have.

    So does anyone know from experience what the F3 hybrid would be like?

    As far as i can tell, it doesn't revert to the form of its grandparents but if it doesnt stay true to its parents, then what does it do?

    are they born defective, or do they exagerate their parents genetic traits?

    i think i may be too curious for this hobby.
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Cornish x's are F1 Hybrids. Parents are LARGE special rocks and cornish. IF you can get the F1 to breeding age, and get them to mate right, the F2 will probably not be as big.
     
  3. dbjay417

    dbjay417 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    looks like i'll have to check my sources.
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Oh, and with the parent strains of the rocks and cornish... they don't look like hatchery rocks and Cornishes, they are in themselves bred to be large, so will be much heftier than what you would normally see. 40 years of selective breeding at work.
     
  5. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    As far as I can understand, you are both right. The best information I have found about it is in this ATTRA publication:

    http://tinyurl.com/2xxd7t

    The issue is that they are not creating F1 hybrids from two purebred parent stocks. The parents are both 'hybrids' in the sense that they have been linebred, outcrossed, and selected for size for over 50 years now. Becuase of this, they are hybrids that 'breed true' because the genetics for variation no longer exist in their DNA. You could almost call them breeds themself, except that the actual genetic make-up are tightly guarded secrets.

    For commercial producers, it is more like a chemical reaction between Element AB and Element CD creating E which is our jumbo cornish cross.

    For us who breed in our backyards, though, you bet we create F1 Cornish Crosses. What I'm currently finding, though, is my best results are siring a purebred Cornish (in my case Dark Cornish) on a hybrid hen (either Freedom Ranger or Black Sex Link). There is some diversity in the offspring, but you know, I'm only eating them myself now so I'm don't have to worry about absolute consistency in the end product.
     
  6. Stephen in SoKY

    Stephen in SoKY Chillin' With My Peeps

    Greyfields, How do your Dark Cornish over Black Sex Link birds perform against average hatchery broilers? In particular, feed efficiency and days to slaughter at a given weight? Thanks!
     
  7. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    I really couldn't tell you because I raise them all together. I'm just basing it on visual observation of how big they are, so my analysis is qualitative.

    We've only done a few runs so far (and I still plan on using Freedom Rangers until I have it perfected) and the body shape has been right at around 9 or 10 weeks. Wild birds also get into the feeders, sometimes the geese get inside the netting and will pig out on the broiler feed.

    I imagine in the worst possible case scenario, they would have a 3:1 FCR. I can live with this and could always raise them to a smaller size if I were to do them for sale and the economics weren't working for me. I could have farm bred fryers while using commercial broilers until I get it all worked out.

    I also have some old school customers that swear that a black feathered chicken tastes better than a white feathered, so the color isn't an issue. These are the kind of people who shop at Farmer's Markets, so I'm not trying exactly to clone commercial Cornish crosses. But, I must keep in mind that the chicken must look and taste right, or they'll never come back. That's why I'd never sell an old hen for stewing, becuas it could affect their impression of our purpose raised meat birds.

    And to be honest, my largest Dark Cornish is not as big as I'd like to be using. He has a really foofey Leghorn tail on him, so his ancestors were outcrossed with Leghorns at some point to improve the Cornish laying (since retail hatcheries sell mostly layers, not meat birds). What I really need to be doing simultaneously is breeding more Cornish and holding back the largest cockrels to get a larger sire into the mix.
     
  8. Buster

    Buster Back to Work

    Quote:How fast do these crosses grow and what weights and ages are you dressing them at? I am very curious about this. I would like to try something similar.
     
  9. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    As noted above it varies. All mine sired by a Cornish will give me 4-6 pound roasters at 10 weeks, speaking in rough terms.

    Let me just tell the story of how I got started down this road. My wife and mother are both from England, and I started discovering my family over on that side of the pond. I found many of them to be smallholders who raised some of their own food, aside from being professionals during the work week, like my wife an I. Except, at that time, we had never farmed a thing and didn't even realize their (enviable) lifestyle was possible!

    I mentioned maybe wanting to do chickens someday for ethical reasons, since I had worked at a chicken farm a teenager. It took me roughly 15 years before I ever dared eat a chicken again, which I did in England being assured their free range & little red tractor food labeling actually meant something.

    My relatives were simply floored when I said I would bring in day-old chicks from hatcheries. I was asked "Why on earth would you do that?" I was then shown on multiple farms that it seemed *everyone* had a few Indian Game cockrels strutting about. When they need a batch of meat chickens, they simply gather the eggs from the hens... but instead of eating the eggs, they incubate as many meat birds as they want.

    Being an engineer, I had 100 questions like; how do you know what you crossed? what am I eating? what are the economics?

    I was just told essentially "Who knows? But doesn't it taste good?" I could only reply "Hell Yes". I believe I sampled Indian Game (which we call Cornish) cross Dorking, Sussex and Maran. All were delicious!

    So, all of us, with minimal effort could be making our own meat chickens as I'm starting to do. At this time it's only for our own consumption; but there is nothing offensive about growing some crossbreds for yourself and your family. You can't beat the flavor and you know they were raised and fed properly.
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    The general, non meat chicken specific answer is: breed the F1 generation with itself and you get a mess o' different types of chickens (which are the F2 generation), and if you then breed the F2 generation with itself, you get a REALLY BIG OLE mess o' different chickens. Few if any of which will carry the combinations of desirable traits that you liked so much in the F1s.

    Pat
     

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