Sustainable Meat / Standard Bred Dual Purpose Bird Thread.

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Egghead_Jr, Jan 28, 2016.

  1. Our Roost

    Our Roost Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dorkings track back to the 1900's and were the table bird during that time frame. Italy seems to be the origin in question. Since then!!, a lot more dual purpose bird breeds have emerged. Interesting you should take on such a challenging project with such an old heritage. Nice to see you drew up a wish list. If it were me, I would cross these with a New Hampshire.
     
  2. Fire Ant Farm

    Fire Ant Farm Get off my lawn Premium Member

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    My goals are similar to DesertChics (primarily because we live in similar climates). I will be working with my Naked Necks, which I got as chicks from Ideal this past fall - I will cross in as needed to increase in size. I am ALSO a compulsive record keeper, and have detailed weight charts for all my NNs. Here's an example (not updated with the current weights, but gives you an idea of their trajectory - boys are the upper group):
    [​IMG]


    I kept all pullets for now (though I will only breed from the largest of them). Of the top four cockerels, I kept three - the second largest one by weight was all legs and feet and had a narrow body, so he was culled. They are currently almost 21 weeks old, still growing a bit. The flock lead cockerel, Severus Snape, was 7.7 lbs at 20 weeks - he was 4.64 lbs at 12 weeks.
    [​IMG]

    The two back up boys, Apoc and Tank, are 6.7 and 6.4 lbs, respectively - 4.3 and 4.0 lbs at 12 weeks. (The pullets are currently 4.0 to 4.7 lbs at 20 weeks, mostly in the 4.4 to 4.5 range between them. They ran 2.3 to 2.8 lbs at 12 weeks.).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    So I'm already meeting the 4 lbs-at-12-weeks goal with some of my plain old hatchery stock NNs straight out of the box right now. Should be straight forward to try to maintain this size by breeding only from the largest, and hopefully increase it. I am getting some German New Hampshires from a breeder this spring which should be very large and fast growing (vs hatchery NHs) - I will examine their growth charts week by week, to determine if they will add benefit by crossing in with my NNs (which are already very large and fast growing).

    (Oh, and the largest pullet - 4.7 lbs - laid her first egg at age 20 weeks and one day, so not too shabby. She'll be one of the three or four bigger girls who will parent the next generation.)

    [​IMG]


    - Ant Farm

    **Edited by Staff**
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2016
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  3. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    Totally be interested in your next try!! (B]
     
  4. lpatelski

    lpatelski Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Meat bird Crossbred project

    Since this thread's purpose is data based:
    How are most people keeping their records?
    What extra facts are you keeping?

    I love to create spread sheets...

    I have an egg laying chart/spreadsheet. Disclaimer. I am a small breeder, my pairs are in small groups or single pairs so I can have good data. If you do not have the room for individual hens, you can still run the data as a group. Last year I had my F1 hen groups. I saved back one F2 pullet "Lavenia" DOH 8/26/15 her first egg was laid 1/5/2016 at 132 days of age she weighed 8 pounds(7 pounds 15.3 ounces) at 16 weeks. She is a crossbred - Pure Dark cornish over a Cornish rock Roaster. She is laying 7 to 8 eggs in a row before she takes a break. Her eggs are small. I should be catching a weight on them.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    My spread sheet data:
    Line 1 has my data explained. My Cock birds names with their generation/first letter of name/genetic info. My egg letter symbols/colors. Red if the egg was irregular, Blue if it was a double, etc. Then I have incubating colors/letters F candled fertile, Y yolker, Q quitter. DNH did not hatch.
    Line 2 is the date the group of eggs goes into the incubator. I put eggs into the incubator every six days, so this is nothing more than the data in every sixth box starting with =(O5), then =(U5)
    Line 3 is the date the group comes out of the incubator(18 days) into my still hatcher. =SUM(N2+18)
    Line 4 is the number of eggs in the group.=SUM(P14:U14)
    Line 5 is the running date. Start with your first date in box B5 - mine was 1/1/2016 then =SUM(B5+1) copy and paste in the next 364 boxes.
    Line 6 starts my first Hen's data "Lavenia" she is paired with Redmen "R" they are the only birds in the pen so I can follow my F2 data closely. Every day she lays an egg I put a "R" under the date box. So reading row 6 - box H6 - the color is red and has an R in it. My red box is an irregular egg and R stands for my F2 cock bird Redmen. Box i7 is blue because she laid a double, etc...
    Line 7 Starts Lavenia's egg hatching status. She is a pullet so her first eggs are not expected to be perfect, but I put every one into the incubator so I could candle for fertility. Redmen is a F2 saved back - first time cock bird. Her egg status F7 was a yolker ( I used the yellow color and the letter Y for Yolker), H7 was an irregular shaped egg with a flat side. I did not expect it to be fertile. i7 the egg was a double(blue) it was fertile on the first candle at 6 days so I put an "F" fertile in the box, but at the 12 day candle it had quit "Q" and mustard yellow color. K7 was put into the hatcher but did not hatch "DNH" and purple color. L7 was a double and a yolker.
    Line 14 is the daily count of eggs. If anyone knows how to have a letter in the box and have the formula recognize the box as a number please let me know. I have to count the day's eggs and then those totals are tabulated in Line 4 group P thru U box merged. =SUM(P14:U14)
    [​IMG]
    So each hen has two lines, one with her daily egg count and the second with that egg's status.
    Each egg is marked in the pen as I gather them with a pencil info includes: hen's letter symbol Lavenia = L, the date laid, and the hatcher date so I can easily recognize when to move the egg out to the hatcher.

    I also have another spread sheet with stats like hatch rate percentage. I will explain that one later.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
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  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    @Fire Ant Farm Do you make a spreadsheet specific to your growth rate on birds? Do you know of a generic app or template people could have access to? I was contacted by a member who admitted they were horrid at data collecting and was looking for just such a thing.

    @lpatelski Thank you for the spreadsheet. We are looking more for data collection for weights at time interval to show growth curves and feed consumption in time intervals to represent costs and can be easily referenced together for a feed to meat ratio. Things of that nature and meat bird specific.


    Below is a link to a very good article on selection for meat for breeder stock. Covers basics of head size and body width but also gets into the need for weights through growth to make fully educated evaluation. Based on the recent conservancy work of the Buckeye. If you look page 7 you'll see the largest cock reached 9.5 lbs (one year age) but as 16 week cockerel was only 5.13 lbs when others of his brood made 6.0 lbs live weight in 16 weeks. What? minus 1.5 lbs and that's about 4.5 lbs which suggests it would as much as 3.5 lbs dressed in 12 weekish? Not very scientific of me there but that's amazing the work done on a breed that was in serious disrepair. Shows gains can be made with proper management. Go Buckeye!

    http://www.livestockconservancy.org/images/uploads/docs/ALBCchicken_assessment-1.pdf

    If we come across more links like this maybe 2nd post of thread can serve as a "sticky" area to keep them consolidated for easy reference? Email me thoughts on that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
  6. lpatelski

    lpatelski Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As you said the data will come in slowly...my meat bird project F2 eggs are in the hatcher. I will start at day one with chick weights when they hatch, then run my data from there. Thank you
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Do you think you could whip up a template for that exact thing lpatelski? If we could find a link for people to make that aspect easier it would be a great help to people. Some are not computer savvy and myself, well, if there is already a good app or spreadsheet template readily available why reinvent one...OK I'll admit it- I'm very lazy.


    Quick note on butcher weight. That's carcass weight. I've no illusions that a current standard bred bird will make 4 lbs in 12 weeks but the fact is they did in the '50's. What that means is it's attainable. Would take outcross for a standard bred and a lot of work to bring back to standard, likely not doable. But for those producing hybrids or creating a line of meat/dual purpose birds it's the brass ring to attempt to capture in this merry go round.
     
  8. lpatelski

    lpatelski Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Spread sheets can be made for every kind of data, then you can take that data and develop chart graphs. I'll see what I can come up with.
     
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  9. Fire Ant Farm

    Fire Ant Farm Get off my lawn Premium Member

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    I do keep a spreadsheet that I update with my growth rate - I've just done it once, but plan to do it with each hatch that has a meat or dual purpose (e.g., I'm not doing it for my Cream Legbar chicks that are hatching next week, as those are smaller birds intended for egg laying). It was invaluable when making culling decisions at 14 weeks. Of course to keep reliable weights, you have to have good chick identification - I could never get the hang of toe punching. So I gave each chick a numbered zip tie band (source: Strombergs) at age one week. All ties are a single color, allowing me to see who might need their band changed up over time in a full brooder - start with green, then yellow, then blue, keeping the same number. Then weighed every week (also another good way to make sure you get your hands on each chick each week for a health check). Very happy with this system.

    I use an Excel spreadsheet. But when I weigh, I now weigh them standing in a shallow cardboard box perched on the scale, with the number of each chick written on the flap - then I write the weight for each chick on the flap with a Sharpie as I go. (Sounds like a minor detail, but trying to use paper in the coop was crazy! And it's too dirty of a process to enter the weights directly in my phone with large numbers of birds). Then I photograph the (dirty) box flap, and enter the weights from the photo into the spreadsheet when convenient. I only tracked weight of the chicks this time, because I was struggling with several feed and feeder types, leading to greater than usual wastage. I've settled down on those, and so will try to track feed going forward (that's a bit more of a pain to do, though).

    I would be happy to gin up a template (not that there's anything special or unique about it), but the chart part of it requires fiddling with each time if you want each growth line labeled...

    - Ant Farm
     
  10. Fire Ant Farm

    Fire Ant Farm Get off my lawn Premium Member

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    Wanted to add: We can look at feed conversion, but unless birds are confined, that may not be reflective of the whole picture. Because they were born in the Fall, my Naked Necks have had access to huge amounts of green grass as they have grown. There will be differences if birds don't get to range (not everyone can do that). Indeed, I will also likely have differences related to the seasons - not only because of the vegetation available, but also with the summer heat, birds may become more stressed and also eat less.

    Just some things to consider, as we think of what goes in to the final product...

    - Ant Farm
     
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