What is most important when breeding silkies? Silky Breeders Help me!

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by bossynbella, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. bossynbella

    bossynbella Songster

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    This is really long and I am sorry. I just have a lot of questions.
    We have been working to improve our own silky stock and want to be able to have beautiful chicks to sell as well. Last year we decided to go with blue's so we got two "blue" from someone off of here, they ended up black. And we ordered two "blue" from Mcmurray they ended up black. We sold one of the Roosters and Seemed to have a beautiful trio of black silkies. So I sepereated them from the other colors and after two months I collected eggs and started hatching them in the incubator. The chicks hatched and everything seemed great until I happened to notice one only had Four toes on one foot. Upon futher examination there where only 5 of all 14 that had 5 toes on each foot. When I checked the parent birds I realized that our most beautiful puffiy soft and tame Oprah only had four toes on one foot.
    This is a picture of Oprah taken at 8 months old.
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    I assume I have to take her out of the breeding program. Also some of the chicks are coming up with one or two white toes. I never have these problems with the white silkies. If I remove Oprah and just use Gizmo and Grettle (the two from mcmurray) will this solve these problems or is it possible there is something hidden in them as well. The first is Grettle at 7mths the second is Gizmo at 7mths
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    I now have one blue hen I was given free, the lady who had her got her from Mcmurray as well. What will happen if I put her in with the blacks? As I don't have a blue rooster yet. Also we ended up with what I think might be a splash? Should I just sell it or can it be bred with whites? or blacks? I think its a hen.
    Here is a picture of the blue and the splash. Both have 5 toes on each foot. Maybe the Splash is a rooster? If so I will have to find a new home for it anyway.
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    Sorry this is so long. I just want to do this right. So tell me what is the most important thing when breeding silkies? Toes? Skin color? Color of the bird? Conformation? I would like these silkies to be able to be shown if not by me then by the people who buy the chicks.

    Thank you,
    Melissa
     
  2. flyingmonkeypoop

    flyingmonkeypoop Crowing

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    Before many people say anything I wanted to say something about the things that bug me about silkies. It seems like more and more silkie people are focusing on crest size and not body size. I was judging a show last year that had some silkies that looked like alot of silkies I see nowadays. They had huge crests but were huge birds so I decided to weigh them. These birds averaged 5 pounds, the one that met standard weight was a hatchery bird that didnt look too bad so I gave it best. The people that had the huge birds got all mad and said they paid tons of money for them and they were some such and such a breeder. I told them to read the standard before they show and left it at that.

    To the silkie people out there remember that the standard calls for a medium sized crest, not large. And please remember to breed for type and size, not for crest size and all that.
     
  3. NYREDS

    NYREDS Crowing

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    Quote:You're A Judge?
     
  4. flyingmonkeypoop

    flyingmonkeypoop Crowing

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    Not a 'real' APA judge but I judge alot of little fairs around here, I judged the youth show at the rocky mountain show. I know the standard like the back of my hand.
     
  5. CallyB57

    CallyB57 Songster

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    I ordered 2 buff silkies from a lady in CA. I paid $36 apiece for them and $75 for a box/shipment. They are 'pet' quality - they have white toenails and dark mottling in their tail and dark spots on their wings. I ordered 3 more from a lady in IL. They were only $6 for 'pet' and $12 for better than 'pet'. All 3 of the ones from the lady in IL are better quality than the ones I paid so much more for in CA. The lady in IL also reimbursed me $15 on the postage. You just never know what you are going to get, nevertheless, I would not have paid $36 for a Silkie had I known I could get just as good a quality for much less. All in all, I have to say I love them all dearly and enjoy looking at their little white toenails, extra toes, bent toes, spotted wings, etc. They give me much pleasure as they bump chests, jump up and down as if they are on pogo sticks, and attempt to fly without making it more than 6" off the grass. I love, love, love them.
    People who breed Silkies for show keep the best ones for themselves (I would too, if that were my interest) and sell the 'less than perfect' ones..so good luck on getting a 'perfect' Silkie.
     
  6. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Ther are many silkie breeders out there, and they have differing qualities. Bigger names bring larger prices, and the reasonable price of anything is what people are willing to pay. There are certain names I would purchase from at any time if they had a bird I was looking for, and others from whom I wouldn't ever purchase.

    Shipping can be quite expensive. Depending on the box, it could easily cost $75 to ship birds from California to Louisiana. However some sellers do pad their shipping costs. You should be able to look at the mailing label and see what the actualk cost was, then go online to find out the cost of the shipping box (not cheap!).

    You may get better quality birds by going through an American Silkie Bantam Club member. There are a lot of silkie breeders in north Texas and Oklahoma, so shipping would be considerably less than purchasing from far off. If you can make arrangements to meet at a show you can cut out the cost of shipping altogether, although you will have to add in the cost of gas (unless you are already planning to attend independent of purchasing birds). Plus, you SEE and SELECT the birds you are purchasing.

    If you plan to breed and sell, then you NEED to have quality breeding stock--that means spending probably at least $75 per pair, not counting shipping. You also need to know which faults are easy to deal with and which ones are hard to correct.
     
  7. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Can you post photos of your birds? Dark in the wings and tails of buff silkies is pretty common--it is hard to get ones that are clear--they do usually clear up some as they age. However there are a lot of breeders who call birds buff when they should really be labeled "light partridge" or "yellow partridge."
     
  8. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    IMHO, hte standard needs to be more specific in describing crest size. I personally feel that the size of the crest should be dependant on the overall size of the bird and tail: a ratio between body, tail and head, with each being thought of as a circle. You should be able to look at a bird and not wonder when end is which, but on the other end of the spectrum, a large tail needs a larger crest to balance it.

    Yes, many silkies are getting too large--and I can put part of that blame on judges--the smaller birds tend to lose to larger ones of otherwise equal quality. So exhibitors breed for the larger birds that are more likely to win--it's a bit of a vicious cycle. Also,the volume of a bird and its mass are not always equal--I have some birds with very long feathers and others with more moderate feather length--two birds that weigh the same will not appear to be the same size, the one with longer feathers will look larger.
     
  9. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    This thread seems to have gone off on its own tangent [​IMG]

    Anyway, to answer some of your questions, both blue and splash can be bred to black, that's probably how you got 4 blacks from orders that were supposed to be blue. Many people that breed blue/black/splash keep all three colors together. Only the splash and the black will breed true 100% of the time. Blue to blue breeding will result in all 3 colors (blue [50%], black [25%], splash [25%]).

    I wouldn't keep the one with 4 toes in the breeders, but considering that the others came from a hatchery they probably aren't all that good either.

    I can't tell for sure, but it does look like your splash is a roo. If he is better quality than your black, I would use him instead. It is very time-consuming to breed quality birds of any breed from 'scratch'. You are better off spending a little more for show quality breeders to start. It may seem like a lot in the beginning, but it works itself out in the long run.

    I'm not sure if I covered everything, if you are wondering about something else, please ask away [​IMG]
     
  10. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Sorry this is so long. I just want to do this right. So tell me what is the most important thing when breeding silkies? Toes? Skin color? Color of the bird? Conformation? I would like these silkies to be able to be shown if not by me then by the people who buy the chicks.

    Type is most important. There is a saying, "build the house first, then paint it." A bird with four toes and excellent type will give better quality offspring than one with poor type but correct toes. However, if you are going to use a four-toes bird, the mate must have at least five toes or you will not get 5-toed offspring.

    Count the number of defects in a bird when deciding to use it or not--if there is too much to correct, then you will be a long time chasing one thing or another. Any more than three things wrong and it may be a wonderful pet, but should not be a breeder.

    Most silkie traits are dominant (silkie feathers are an exception), so even with one copy you are heading in the right direction.

    Keep birds in colour-matched groups: white to white, partridge to partridge, buff to buff, etc. Keep records of the offspring from each mating so that you can see what works and what doesn't. A male with one female may not produce good chicks, whereas with another the chicks are dynamite!

    A red comb is hard to correct; however comb shape is pretty easy. Toe separation is pretty easy. Number of toes is easy (your 4-toed birds got that from BOTH parents, not just one).​
     

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