What constitutes a good breeding program?

BethJ

Chirping
Aug 4, 2019
26
33
65
Stayner, Ontario
My Coop
My Coop
A question for anyone out there breeding rare or threatened breeds off of the Livestock Conservancy list...

What constitutes a good breeding program?

I understand that depending on the breed there will be limited genetics to work with. That can lead to some quirks and deformities; there may be poor fertility, other issues.

I've had a horrible time with a certain breeder and would like to know whether I'm crazy or is their program sub par, if not a total crock.

Thanks in advance.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
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St. Louis, MO
I have an extremely rare breed too. There just are few or no birds to acquire stock from so I have to work with what I have.
Obtain a copy of the SOP if there is one for your breed or try to find standards for the breed so you know what you are trying to achieve.
Then the best you can do is hatch as many chicks as possible. Identify those most representative of the SOP and cull or sell off the rest. Out of every 100 chicks, you may get 5 good birds. Then try to establish 2 or 3 separate lines depending on how much room you have. Multiple housing options is essential.
Ideally try to get some unrelated stock to introduce for genetic vigor. However, if they have flaws, you could be going backwards.
In these separate lines, breed the best male to the best female. Then breed the best pullets of that mating to the sire and best cockerel to his mother. Then best granddaughters to grandfather, best grandson to grandmother and so on for 7 generations and then cross the lines.

I can usually identify almost half of the chicks at hatch that I won't be using for breeding. Then as they grow I narrow it down more as characteristics show themselves.
I have to achieve extremely dark eggs, all black feathers, white earlobes, carnation comb, dark slate legs, 'horn of ox' beak, and then there is the shape of the bird.
I only hatch from the darkest eggs, eliminate chicks with off colors or too much white and legs that are too light. As they mature, roosters that don't have nice white lobes don't stay. The carnation comb for now has been prevalent but they could be better. It takes a really long time to get it right, especially with so many unusual traits needed to achieve.
Then all you need is a predator massacre to set you back years. A few years ago, mink killed $4,000 worth of my birds. :hit

What breed are you working with?
 
Last edited:

BethJ

Chirping
Aug 4, 2019
26
33
65
Stayner, Ontario
My Coop
My Coop
Ouch! Predators suck.

I really wanted Crevecouer and so I advertised and a lady got in touch with me that she had them. I asked her specifically about what kind of fertility rate she expects and she said they're awesome. Out of the first 10 eggs 2 hatched, both had herniated yolks and wry neck and 1 died. So she sent me 4 more eggs. Today I candled them, none were fertile. So I have one lone Crevecouer and I'm not sure if it's worth getting more eggs from her. The problem is I don't know anyone else with them in my area. So I'm thinking that it may not be possible to raise them right now.

I have an extremely rare breed too. There just are few or no birds to acquire stock from so I have to work with what I have.
Obtain a copy of the SOP if there is one for your breed or try to find standards for the breed so you know what you are trying to achieve.
Then the best you can do is hatch as many chicks as possible. Identify those most representative of the SOP and cull or sell off the rest. Out of every 100 chicks, you may get 5 good birds. Then try to establish 2 or 3 separate lines depending on how much room you have. Multiple housing options is essential.
Ideally try to get some unrelated stock to introduce for genetic vigor. However, if they have flaws, you could be going backwards.
In these separate lines, breed the best male to the best female. Then breed the best pullets of that mating to the sire and best cockerel to his mother. Then best granddaughters to grandfather, best grandson to grandmother and so on for 7 generations and then cross the lines.

I can usually identify almost half of the chicks at hatch that I won't be using for breeding. Then as they grow I narrow it down more as characteristics show themselves.
I have to achieve extremely dark eggs, all black feathers, white earlobes, carnation comb, dark slate legs, 'horn of ox' beak, and then there is the shape of the bird.
I only hatch from the darkest eggs, eliminate chicks with off colors or too much white and legs that are too light. As they mature, roosters that don't have nice white lobes don't stay. The carnation comb for now has been prevalent but they could be better. It takes a really long time to get it right, especially with so many unusual traits needed to achieve.
Then all you need is a predator massacre to set you back years. A few years ago, mink killed $4,000 worth of my birds. :hit

What breed are you working with?
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,170
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St. Louis, MO
There is a breeder near me that has black Crevecoeur.

This is from the Missouri Poultry Yearbook.

Caroline Abeln 636-271-8449


5815 Hill View Drive E-mail: [email protected]
Pacific, Missouri 63069

H5/H7 Avian Influenza Clean

Large Fowl: Ameraucana; Black Crevecoeur; Delaware; Mottled
Houdan; Partridge Plymouth Rock; Buff Orpington; Bearded Buff
Laced Polish; Speckled Sussex; White Sultan; Welsummer
Bantams: Mille Fleur Belgian Bearded d’Uccle; Porcelain Belgian
Bearded d’Uccle; Mille Fleur Booted; Rose Comb Nankin; Single
Comb Nankin; Ginger Red Old English Game; Silver Sebright
Ducks: Snowy Call; Dutch Hookbilled; Fawn & White Runner;
Gray Runner
Geese: Cotton Patch

http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/CGA/Creve/BerangerCrev.html
 
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BethJ

Chirping
Aug 4, 2019
26
33
65
Stayner, Ontario
My Coop
My Coop
Thanks for the information.
I'm not sure how things work shipping across the border to Canada? I'm in Ontario.
There is a breeder near me that has blacks Crevecoeur.

This is from the Missouri Poultry Yearbook.

Caroline Abeln 636-271-8449


5815 Hill View Drive E-mail: [email protected]
Pacific, Missouri 63069

H5/H7 Avian Influenza Clean

Large Fowl: Ameraucana; Black Crevecoeur; Delaware; Mottled
Houdan; Partridge Plymouth Rock; Buff Orpington; Bearded Buff
Laced Polish; Speckled Sussex; White Sultan; Welsummer
Bantams: Mille Fleur Belgian Bearded d’Uccle; Porcelain Belgian
Bearded d’Uccle; Mille Fleur Booted; Rose Comb Nankin; Single
Comb Nankin; Ginger Red Old English Game; Silver Sebright
Ducks: Snowy Call; Dutch Hookbilled; Fawn & White Runner;
Gray Runner
Geese: Cotton Patch

http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/CGA/Creve/BerangerCrev.html
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,170
27,887
1,077
St. Louis, MO
Thanks for the information.
I'm not sure how things work shipping across the border to Canada? I'm in Ontario.
Between the US and Canada it is fairly simple compared to other trans national exchanges but that is a good point.
You can check your department of agriculture rules on importation from the US and then call or e-mail the breeder and see if she's willing to do the paperwork. It may make them more pricey but to bring in fresh blood may make it all worthwhile.
 

BethJ

Chirping
Aug 4, 2019
26
33
65
Stayner, Ontario
My Coop
My Coop
Thanks for that. I'll look into It!

Between the US and Canada it is fairly simple compared to other trans national exchanges but that is a good point.
You can check your department of agriculture rules on importation from the US and then call or e-mail the breeder and see if she's willing to do the paperwork. It may make them more pricey but to bring in fresh blood may make it all worthwhile.
 

mandelyn

Crowing
11 Years
Aug 30, 2009
2,488
1,146
391
Mt Repose, OH
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Eggs are a tricky way to get started in a breed, with the variables in incubation. Time of year matters too, fertility may drop coming into fall, especially if there is only one rooster in the pen. Some problems can arise if the breeder is feeding them for laying and not for breeding... higher protein and more nutrition is needed for hatching eggs.

A breeder looking to do the breed justice will have 3 pens of them, for spiral breeding, to get birds who aren't SO closely related. If they have only one pen and aren't tracking who is related to who, it won't be a sustainable line.

Not every chick that hatches is going to be correct... with breeding you have to hatch lot's and cull heavy, with the expectation of keeping 10%-30% of a hatch for breeding. You'll find a better rooster in 20 than in a group of 5, for example.

I was recently gifted 7 LF Double Laced Barnvelders, as a start to be a local breeder of them to supply someone who can't have roosters. I love the feather pattern and so far they have pretty good type and vigor.

Of course it turned out to be 1 pullet and 6 boys, so everything hinges on that one pullet. I'll need to pick the best 2-3 cockerels of the bunch, she'll live with one for the first half of the season and the other for the 2nd half. The 3rd one will have to wait for daughters from her. I'll need to hatch everything she lays. Daughters then go to 2 of the 3 original boys. Building up the groups. The original hen, if she's still doing good, could then go to the 3rd rooster for another batch of pullets. I'll need to toe punch or legband the chicks so that I know which cockerel they're out of.

If you manage to get a pair of them, you'll need to hatch everything, looking for those with good vigor and correct presentation for the breed. You're going to get some duds, you might see some weirdness. You'll have to spend a couple of generations building up the strength of the line. Adding an outside line may help, or it may also bring up some recessive things you don't want to see and you'll have to breed through those for 2-4 generations.

Hatch lot's, cull heavy. Build the line. Establish 3 pens of them. Learn which hens throw what from certain roosters, get to know the birds and what they throw through good record keeping. You can be a better breeder than where the birds came from originally.

When getting into a new breed, expect to spend at least 4 years at getting to know them and establishing a start in them if you only have a pair or trio to get started with.
 

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