Trade-off in fertility for show quality?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by itallstartedwithhamburgs, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. itallstartedwithhamburgs

    itallstartedwithhamburgs In the Brooder

    Oct 2, 2009
    Northeastern NC
    I am not going to name the breeders name here, because the breeder has been great with communication (both phone and email) and I had a great hatch rate (7 of 12 hatched, 5 roos and 2 hens) considering the eggs came from the Midwest to practically the outer Banks of North Carolina but...

    The beautiful trio of Golden Penciled Hamburgs (only 2 hens hatched in the dozen eggs I ordered) hardly lays eggs and didn't even start until they were 8 months old!

    The breeder admitted to struggling with fertility problems while trying to develop for size and correct penciling.

    I just wanted some Hamburgs that looked like the pictures but didn't even consider I might be trading off for egg-laying ability. The last GPH hen I had that was not from show lines layed an egg every day. They are frequently referred to as the Dutch Everyday layer.

    Should I just Craigslist these beauties to someone that wants to show birds? I don't have time to show I just appreciate looking at them but they need to pay rent with some eggs! [​IMG]

    So, is this typical for the show birds? Beauty and type but not as functional as the hatchery birds?

    Maybe I could add some hatchery GPHs to the mix and see what happens next year?
    Here is the young roo-the breeder wasn't thrilled with him:
    The trio:

  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    It often happens when you are selecting for certain traits. Many of the hatchery and non show birds lay lots of eggs, because they are effectively chosen for their egg laying abilities (to make more chicks to sell). Without the selective pressure of humans picking out good layers and instead picking out things like the way they look, along with a bit of inbreeding, the lay rate will go back down to levels of "normal" birds. They may lay a dozen or two eggs, raise a clutch and be done for the year. Another factor with some show birds is lethality genes, where chicks that get two copies just don't make it.
  3. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I would agree there is often a trade off...... show quality & birds that look like the APA standard or laying ability, but not both in the same bird.
  4. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

    Feb 10, 2008
    Eastern NC
    We have run into the same problem when looking for nice dark cornish. They have been breed to the point of requiring AI. It is a shame that the Standard of Perfection leds to a bird that can not self reproduce or forage on its own. In some cases the Standard of Perfection means a Standard of Extinction. It is so sad that you can not have both, a nice quality bird that will also lay well or produce well.
  5. standardbanty

    standardbanty Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    When you buy show birds they are meant to be bred to show and breed. You rarely find both. 8 months is normal for show birds to lay.

  6. becky3086

    becky3086 Crested Crazy

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thomson, GA
    I think they are absolutely beautiful and I would not get rid of them. Buy some hatchery hens to put in with them if you have to have eggs too.
  7. Krys109uk

    Krys109uk Songster

    Fertility & number of eggs laid are not the same thing.
    Your birds are pretty in themselves, but I can't see them doing much in a show as their markings are poor.
  8. itallstartedwithhamburgs

    itallstartedwithhamburgs In the Brooder

    Oct 2, 2009
    Northeastern NC
    Thanks everyone. I am not going to show them. I think I will probably Craigslist them and get some hens that pull their weight around here instead. [​IMG]

    It is interesting that breeding for the SOP can lead to infertility. I used to show dogs and I always thought the breeds that required AI and c-sections to reproduce shouldn't even be bred.

    I guess I will just settle for close enough to the standard to be identified. [​IMG]
  9. Krys109uk

    Krys109uk Songster

    It is interesting that breeding for the SOP can lead to infertility.

    It is not breeding to the standards per se which causes the infertility. Breeding for any trait(s) to the exclusion of all else can lead to issues including infertility, reduction in productivity, susceptibility to various illnesses etc.etc.etc.

    The "pencilling" on the is also called "autosomal barring"; on the females it is supposed to look like lines, or bars going around the bird. [​IMG]

  10. Ryu

    Ryu Songster

    Jan 6, 2009
    I raise Standard Cornish and they have a rep for being difficult to breed. The Standard is open to interpretation, but it is the Breeders practices that lead to a loss of vigor and extreme body types within the breed. Vigor must be the first characteristic selected for, always. No one wants to raise birds that aren't healthy and have trouble reproducing no matter how pretty/striking they are. That's bad for flock numbers which leads to less birds, which leads to less new breed enthusiatists--it's just a downward spiral and that's when the breeds really get into trouble.

    The good news is that you can breed for Vigor in your birds. I have had great luck with my out-crosses this year. Egg quality/quantity is is significantly improved, and my young hens are laying at 6-7months rather than 9-12months. My flock still needs a lot of work, but if I'm getting eggs, my roos are fertile, and my birds are healthy--I'm going to get there.

    If you like the look of the bird, stick with it.

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