Steny03's Great Chicken Adventure Project!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by steny03, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. steny03

    steny03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello,

    I've had chickens for a couple years now, and finally want to start on a project I've been thinking about for a while now. My flock consists mainly of black Australorps, with a couple of black Jersey Giants. Last year I accidently ended up with a blue splash Cochin rooster, and despite not really wanting one, we ended up keeping him. He's been super friendly and good with the hens.

    I've tried some other breeds, but Australorps are my favorite as they are very hardy and lay good size eggs like mad. I'd like to hatch out some of my eggs, which would result in an australorp/cochin cross. However, due to the genetics involved, all the chicks should be 'blue'. :)

    Since my flock is supposed to be a small backyard flock...I'm only planning on hatching out 6-7 eggs at a time (using a small brinsea incubator). We'll eat or give away any boys we get, and only keep the girls for long term.

    My plan is to eventually replace my entire flock with my own hatched eggs, so that eventually I'll have mostly blue hens running around. Eventually, when our rooster goes to the big chicken coop in the sky, or when he's not able to perform his roosterly duties adequately (or when I get too excited / impatient, and potentially just build a second coop :) ), I'd like to invest in a good quality Australorp rooster from a breeder , as my hens are all hatchery grade. I'm thinking this would increase the size of my birds, as well as keeping the blue/splash genes going. I realize that breeding blue hens to a black rooster would give me chicks that could be blue, black, or splash. I'm also open to adding a rooster of a different breed, as long as I could continue the blue color theme, and still maintain good production of nice sized eggs

    Ultimately, my goal is to see if I could produce nice sized blue colored birds that produce a good amount of good sized brown eggs. Since they will be mixes, I'm not too concerned about breeding birds that would exactly fit into a particular breed standard. I'd like to use this thread as a diary of sorts, and a place to ask questions and gain insights from others who have started their own breeding adventures.

    So my first question set of questions....have you ever had an australorp/cochin cross? Are they good sized birds? If I went with a rooster of a breed other than Australorp...what would you suggest?




    Thanks!

    Justine
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Fun plans to make.

    If you want great egg production, one cannot just mix everything together and hope for the best. One needs to breed for that, and to do so, you need a way to keep track of who exactly are your best egg producers. Even though, generally speaking your flock is producing eggs well enough, I would bet that some of those girls are better layers than others. Those are the eggs you want to hatch.

    Color is one of the easiest ways to breed your birds.

    Mrs K
     
  3. steny03

    steny03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Mrs. K!

    I should have clarified more on my plans on how I will choose which eggs to hatch...Egg production is a big reason I'd like to cross back to an Australorp rooster eventually.

    I've been watching my egg production like a hawk recently, as I've been super excited to start my project. I have a couple hens that are fairly large, and produce about 5-6 eggs a week, even through winter. I plan to incubate eggs only from these hens. It should be easy, as both hens produce eggs that are easily identifiable (ironically they both produce speckled eggs while the others do not). I've actually stalked the poor hens in order to figure out who was laying which egg. :) We'll probably use the same crazy methodology to ensure we're actually collecting eggs from the particular hens we want.

    I also will be taking care not to select eggs from a couple different hens that I do not wish to continue on their genetics. I have two hens that are quite small for Australorps, and don't produce very big eggs. One hen has been half blind from the day we got her and while the eye looks normal, we aren't for sure if she was injured as a chick or if it was genetic. Even though she's a favorite, we'd rather not risk passing that along.

    We might possibly add in a couple eggs from our Jersey Giants. They don't lay as well, but might add some size. We typically get 3-4 eggs from them a week. Their eggs are brown, but have a purple-like hue to them.
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    This is a fascinating hobby, I have tried numerous breeds, some I like, some I don't... but you can always be playing with it. My hope this year is to add some buckeye's to see if I like them.

    However, I ordered a couple easter eggers chicks last summer, and they just started to lay the most beautiful blue almost turquoise egg and the other one is green. Ridiculously fun to get in the morning, my Granddaughter was, wow, just like Easter.

    Keep us posted.

    Mrs K
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Do you like the feathered feet? That is a dominant trait, so... Unless you really like those feathered feet, or really don't mind them, go ahead and use your rooster. If you don't care for feathered feet, you might want to replace him with a clean footed roo, so you don't have a whole generation of feathered foot birds. Some folks really like the foot feathers... I've just never cared for them. It's fun to hatch birds, and I have a flock of different breeds with a lovely EE roo over them all, can't wait to see what I end up with. That being said, Mrs K is a wise woman, and we would both be wise to listen to her regarding breeding: you can do it for fun, but it is an entirely different matter when you have a specific goal to work towards, and if that is the case, it's important to choose breeding stock wisely.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    This wise woman has made LOTS of mistakes! Thank you for the compliment
     
  7. steny03

    steny03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Lazy Gardner!

    I hadn't given much thought to feathered feet, but really don't mind them on the rooster.

    I think it will be fun to tinker with breeding and trying to develop my own perfect backyard bird. Color is my first motivation, but it would be nice to continue the good egg laying production as well.

    I've been a long time lurker on this forum, and value the advice from others you are sharing this backyard hobby of mine.
     
  8. steny03

    steny03 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just ordered my incubator! I chose the Brinsea Mini Advanced with the automatic egg turner. I figured the small amount of eggs it holds would help me limit myself. :) It should be here Monday at the latest, but honestly it will probably show up Saturday as I chose overnight shipping.

    Yesterday I started to choose eggs, and have placed two, round bottom up, in a cool dark place. It will likely take me all weekend or more to get 7 eggs from the couple of hens I'd like to breed with.

    Once my incubator arrives I plan to set it up and let it run for a day or two so that I know it's up to temperature.

    I can't wait!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2015
  9. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    This is a ridiculously fun hobby isn't it! I went down, and "Butter" was on a nest, and I am thinking, "Could she be broody???? It is very early to be broody, but!!!"
     

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