Where did you get your starting pair?

Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the Standard o' started by Sjeane, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. Sjeane

    Sjeane Out Of The Brooder

    87
    5
    43
    Aug 15, 2013
    Evans, Louisiana
    Looking to be introduced to breeding show quality birds, was wondering where to get started. Most people in my area with chickens, you ask them what kind they have and they respond with "uhhhh, the kind that lay eggs" lol. Should i go with an online dealer? or would a person on this site be a better choice. which do yall prefer for showing? Bantam or full sized?
     
  2. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    7,595
    1,640
    421
    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    All good questions. First decide how much room you have to breed chickens. You will need to raise at least 30 to 50 chicks a year from a top strain to find the best 3 to 5 to run on to the next year. If space is an issue, choose a bantam breed. The chick math works out that you can raise 2x as many birds in the same place if you pick bantams. But the eggs are smaller. Bantams are very popular right now so if you choose them, make sure you buy from a top strain. You want to do that anyway, regardless of the size you choose. Forget the hatcheries. You will not find foundation quality birds there and grading up your stock from hatchery birds takes a lot of time and money.
    Start with the best. How do I ID a top strain? They have several hallmarks.
    1. Is a veteran strain which has been around for years or decades. It takes time to stabilize a gene pool and winnow it to top form.
    2. It is line-bred or a combination of line and some other breeding method. It takes "method" and wisdom to winnow the good from the bad and stabilize that gene pool. The breeder will "know" their stock and its genetic heritage.
    3. Winning in quality competition. That means multiple wins at the big shows, not worried about showing to all comers. Not just state or country fair wins. .
    Caveat: Unless the wins are notable ( Grand Champion and/or at a huge fair like the Texas State Fair ).
    4. Over multiple generations. This means the breeder knows how to keep their winning gene pool stable and can also help teach you how.

    Now these top veteran breeders usually do not sell eggs or chicks. Trying to start a foundation flock with egg or baby chicks is a rookie mistake. You want started birds which the breeder has had time to cull for quality at least once. Or retiring breeder birds which have a season or 2 of breeding left in them. Being sold because the breeder has used their virtues and has descendants so doesn't need them any more. They are not 2nd class birds. Tell the breeder you respect their strain and want to line-breed on it ( and then do it). You will pay more for the started or adult birds, but it will cost you way less than starting from eggs or baby chicks. Plus, you will redeem a lot of time and be on track to hatch eggs with the rest of us this Spring. Do not let "egg fever" get the best of you in this regard.

    How do I find these top veteran breeders ( or someone who has very recently bought from these strains and has birds only 1 or 2 generations removed from the top strain? Start with the APA. Join and buy the year book. They also have back yearbooks for 5.00 each. Buy several of them. Start looking at show records for recurring wins in your chosen breed. Who is repeatedly taking the Breed or Championship of Group or even Show? If your breed also has an egg virtue like the Marans, check the online egg show results to see who is winning consistently. Then cross check that info to see which of the egg winners is also winning at the shows. This all takes research. But it will pay off in the end in time and money saved by choosing wisely. Join your chosen breed's parent Club and ask around there. The top strains are well known and they can help you find them.

    When you find a breeder, listen to him/her. You are not wiser then they. Do not cross strains to found a flock. I cannot stress this strongly enough. Poultry are different from mammals and founding a flock on crossed strains can set you back years in regaining the stability of the gene pool in your flock. There are many sex-linked genes in poultry, not seen in mammals. Plus the color patterns are not just generally described by color , they are specifically written into their Standards. To win you need precise color, not a bird whose coloring "kinda" looks like the drawing in the Standard. Poultry races are founded on a very wide genetic base. This gives you a lot of diversity even in a linebred vintage strain. Plenty of diversity to tweak it to your artist's eye while still breeding to the APA SOP. If you ever decide to strain-cross, get ahold of your breeder and ask the which strains nick with yours. They will know and can guide you in that. After several generations of breeding you will get to know your chosen strain and can start to make some decisions for yourself and double check them with your chosen breeder. It just takes time.
    Best Success,
    Karen
    One other thing. Don't be seduced by the "rare breed" Syndrome. There is a reason these breeds are rare and/or not accepted by APA. Too small a gene pool, too complicated (or unstable) of coloring, not enough production virtues, health problems from improper breeding methods. Not enough breeders interested in them because of flaws in the breed which leads to small scattered gene pools. Look at which breeds are winning at the shows. They are "mainline" breeds with storied histories ( including much writing to study) and a large enthusiastic following which freely shares info and stock. In a breed, small breeders can hold the line on quality, but it takes the big breeders hatching hundreds of chick each year to advance the breed as a whole.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2014
    4 people like this.
  3. Sjeane

    Sjeane Out Of The Brooder

    87
    5
    43
    Aug 15, 2013
    Evans, Louisiana
    awesome information, thanks a ton :) i have an addition on my shed that is about 20'x30' and was wanting to start something worth while. was leaning towards bantams just because i think they are amazing looking birds and wouldnt take up as much space. As far as the Rare breed goes, i was nearly hooked into Japanese bantams, just basing on looks they are some of my favorite birds as far as body types go. Browsing the APA/OEG bantam site atm, so much good info. thanks again!
     
  4. blackred

    blackred Chillin' With My Peeps

    613
    13
    161
    Oct 15, 2007
    Blue Texas
    3 Rivers Chick gave good advice, but just to add a little.

    1- A real breeder doesn't use the term " Show Quality"
    2- It is hard to tell the winners from the advertisers in the APA yearbook-but by all means join it if you raise LF
    3- It is best to start with bantams( for a number of reasons)- The ABA yearbook is quite clear on who wins and the quality of the win
    4 - Have a plan before you talk to a breeder- Nothing pisses me off more than someone to call me and ask what I have for sale
    and then tell me - Oh I don't care any color. "Can you send picture and prices of everything you have for sale?"
    5- Go to a show and look and ask questions- be careful of the sale area
    6- Raise what you like because at the end of the day you are the one that is going to have to feed them.
    7 - Do not be afraid to fail or change your mind- once you have the birds in hand and start to learn you may have to say-
    These are not as good as I once thought they were.
    8- Judges are humans- Just because they tell you something doesn't mean it is Gospel. There are judges that I don't trust their opinion
    9- Remember it is not a sprint- it is a marathon- Have Fun!!
     
  5. Sjeane

    Sjeane Out Of The Brooder

    87
    5
    43
    Aug 15, 2013
    Evans, Louisiana
    Thanks, for terminology, what do breeders call their mediocre-best looking birds? most of my chick buying has come from hatcheries and they have notices on their sites such as "may not be show quality but are pure blooded" ect. others along the same lines. currently doing as much research on the different bantam breeds as i can, will be looking to buy either a pair or hatching eggs in the spring.
     
  6. blackred

    blackred Chillin' With My Peeps

    613
    13
    161
    Oct 15, 2007
    Blue Texas
    It will be tough to buy any quality birds in the spring from a good breeder because he will be in breeding mode and will have sold off all his excess stock to make room for that years hatch.
    Also I can count on 1 hand the number of top breeders that sell hatching eggs, and those are mostly LF.

    I would try to get to some shows this fall and winter and she what is available. Don't be afraid to buy a persons old breeding stock.
     
  7. Sjeane

    Sjeane Out Of The Brooder

    87
    5
    43
    Aug 15, 2013
    Evans, Louisiana
    was cruising the APA and ABA sites, there is a show i can see that is ~20 miles away from me but the date for it hasnt been set yet, that is with the APA though. the ABA doesnt seem to have been updated in a while, all of the show dates i have found are all back in 2013
     
  8. Bo Garrett

    Bo Garrett Chillin' With My Peeps

    369
    54
    161
    Feb 19, 2009
    Show dates typically stay the same year after year, meaning if they fell on the first weekend in October in 2013 they will be on the first weekend of Oct in 2014, 2015, etc.... This is done to reduce conflict with shows that occur within a close distance on other weekends.
     
  9. rainbowrooster

    rainbowrooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    324
    16
    101
    Nov 26, 2011
    I would suggest getting two pair or two trios is even better. If you get just one pair and one bird dies or is infertile or doesn't lay well then your done before you started. This will be an especially good idea for Jap bantams after you discover the genetics behind their short legs. Only 50% of fertile eggs will produce the required short legs. 25% of the fertile eggs will die before they develop. The other 25% will have long legs and are culls. You will need twice as many eggs to get the same number of viable chicks. I'm not trying to talk you out of them but give you an idea of just one of the challenges of the breed.

    Look up the breed club web age for your desired breed to get some connections with breeders.

    Look into getting the Poultry Press. The shows are advertised and the articles are for exhibition breeders.
     
  10. Sjeane

    Sjeane Out Of The Brooder

    87
    5
    43
    Aug 15, 2013
    Evans, Louisiana
    Thanks for the info :) i had read about the fertility rate of the japs, and the seramas, it is a bit daunting but i think that would make hatching good offspring that much more exciting! Had never heard of the Poultry press, will look into it
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by