Turning Hatchery Chickens into Heritage Breeds (New Hampshires)

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Sparklee, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. Sparklee

    Sparklee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is it ever possible to buy hatchery chickens and then work with them until they are good examples of a heritage breed? Or possibly they have to be from certain lines to be called "heritage?"

    Example: New Hampshire (currently heritage hatching eggs or chicks are extremely expensive)

    Cackle has some birds from something called the Newcomer line. ??? Can any of these birds be worked with for a 4+ years ( and selective breeding based on SOP and production also growing out quite a few birds) and then have "heritage birds" or no matter how great they look and come close to SOP (including weights), do you always have hatchery birds?

    I guess I'm asking if this is true: Once a hatchery bird always a hatchery bird.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  2. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think that once genetic diversity is gone it is gone. With many years there may be enough genetic drift to regain much of what was lost in the appearance of a line of birds but it is just as likely to drift in another direction unless great care was taken in selective breeding. Even then I still don't think you will ever recoup what was lost in terms of genetic material.
     
  3. Sparklee

    Sparklee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:But for the sake of argument, harking back to my original question also, what if no genetic diversity has been lost and all the same genes are there? Can someone take hatchery stock and turn it into breeders stock?

    Question 2: What you write is pretty serious. What evidence do we have that genetic diversity is gone in hatchery stock? Are you speaking of Cackle's New Hampshires specifically? Are you referring to any breeds specifically? I'm working under the assumption that hatcheries often proliferate breeds with a little less care that one might wish for. However, I didn't know that they were actually selling chickens that do not have all the genetics necessary for someone to pull the genetics out through selective breeding over years, following standard operating procedures employed by traditional breeders. Have things really gotten that bad? For all breeds?
     
  4. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The answer to your question is a 'qualified' Yes.

    It is possible to get some good birds from the different hatcheries; especially those like Shady Lane that cater to the exhibition folks or Sand Hill which has preserved some show lines.

    Other hatcheries drop ship and the birds might come from qualified breeders; especially of the rare breeds.

    The best way to do what you want is to take the hens you have and breed them to a good cock from a known exhibition breeder. Save the best pullets and discard the old hens and pullets not up to par. Breed them back to the good cock and continue. I would get 2 or 3 cock birds.
     
  5. punky rooster

    punky rooster Awesome

    Jul 21, 2010
    Double post.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  6. punky rooster

    punky rooster Awesome

    Jul 21, 2010
    I agree with Saladin.

    It's possible to breed them up, but with all the expenses it would take to do this, why not just save up and get a clutch of chicks? Or as Saladin suggested; get a good male and cross them with the best hatchery hens/pullets you get.

    Mitch
     
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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  8. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    I would do the good roo over decient hatchery hens method if needed. Breed the best and eat the rest should be your motto.
     
  9. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    If you want nice New Hampshires, it will be much much cheaper to buy quality birds from a serious breeder. If you have limited funds, just buy fewer birds. As soon as you have a couple of nice hens and a quality rooster, you can build your flock very quickly.

    As to whether or not you can breed up, it depends upon what the hatchery sends you to begin with. With the hatcheries, not every breed is the same quality.

    I've bought a box of hatchery birds for my freezer this year because they were very cheap. In no way would I even consider adding any of them to my show stock. I am certain that they are not purebred and they have so many flaws, I'd never be certain I could breed them out. Body shape is wrong, color is wrong, leg and bill color is wrong, temperament is wrong. I wouldn't even know where to begin.

    You can't add correct leg color if you don't have the gene for that color. If all your hatchery birds have the wrong color, where are you going to get the gene for the correct color?

    It takes a lot of breedings and a lot of birds to get rid of some of the flaws to the point that they never show up again. It is a huge project.

    It takes a lot of breedings and many many years to increase the average egg laying of a flock. It is a huge project.

    If you want to buy hatchery birds and try to improve them for fun, then go for it. But I suspect that you will always be far behind those who are starting out with quality birds. Those other guys aren't going to sit still and wait for you to catch up. They will be improving their flock, too, and they will have a huge head start on you. It's like you are going to try to catch the guys racing motorcycles while you have a bitty little pedal tricycle. Not a race you can win.
     
  10. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    By the way "Newcomer line" sounds suspiciously like a re-creation to me. If they aren't purebreds, you can't breed them long enough to turn them into purebreds. I'd find out for sure what "newcomer line" means.

    If you want nice purebreds, start with some nice purebreds. If you just want chickens that look like New Hampshires, maybe you can breed something that looks like a New Hampshire, but isn't really.
     

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