Which Ones Should I Breed?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by The Monkey Mama, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. The Monkey Mama

    The Monkey Mama Songster

    Jun 12, 2008
    Kennesaw, GA
    This is long, but if anyone has an opinion or advice I'd love to hear it!

    OK, I had a grand master plan to breed 7 different types of chickens [EEs, Ameraucanas, Cuckoo Marans, Black Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Silkies, and OEGs.]

    My husband and I made up this plan last year, and this plan required that he build me 7 breeding coops [in addition to our existing laying hen house that we already have].

    Well, it has become clear that this is not going to happen. Right now I have two usable but unfinished breeding pens [he hasn't finished the runs on them yet] and it looks like that's about all I'm getting. [​IMG] DH LOVED the idea of building them, but not so much the actual building part. [​IMG]

    So, I need to decide which ones to breed and I don't know how I'm gonna choose!

    For EEs, I have an EE Roo named Prince and quite a lot of EE mutt hens [all hatched from supposedly "show quality" Ameraucana eggs I bought LOL!]. I'm gonna keep these guys because of Prince - he is the best roo in the world and I plan to keep him till he dies of natural causes, hopefully at a very old age. [​IMG] And my EEs are all really pretty & interesting birds, I enjoy them a lot.

    So really I have to decide among the other 6 breeds and I'm having a hard time.

    Buff Os are out because I never could hatch out a roo - for some reason I managed to get poor hatches on both sets of eggs I incubated and both produced only pullets. So, I have 1 Buff O hen I bought and 2 buff O pullets that I hatched. I have decided those are just going to be my layers. [Plus, Prince's favorite is the adult Buff O hen and it would break his heart if I took her away to breed her to someone else!] [​IMG]

    I'm keeping the OEGs and breeding them, but I've been able to construct them their own little breeding pen out of a dog house and a dog crate - I just have 6 of them.

    I've decided not to breed the silkies and just keep the hens I have for broodies.

    So, that means I have to choose between the Ameraucanas, Cuckoo Marans, and the Black Australorps and I'm just having a terrible time!

    I have hatched over 100 "Ameraucana" eggs from 7 different sources in the last year. This has yielded a TON of mutt EEs, but it has also yielded a few very nice quality Ameraucanas.

    I have one beautiful Blue Wheaton Ameraucana cockerel and one Blue Wheaten hen. I could breed those two.

    I have 3 Blue Ameraucana hens/pullets, 1 Black Ameraucana pullet, and now, finally at long last, I have one beautiful Blue cockeral [which was the whole thing I wanted all along and why I hatched so many eggs!]. So, I could definitely do a Blue Ameraucana breeding pen and I am very happy with the fine quality blues I finally have. [And blues are my favorite, so I'm partial to these birds for sure!]

    Then I have 3 adult Black Australorp hens and 4 BA pullets and 2 BA cockerals that will all be ready to breed soon. I have to admit that I am also partial to this breed - they are pretty, laid back, and they are some of my best layers [My BAs lay almost every single day]. I really want to breed these guys, but in looking around, there is almost no money in selling BA eggs, so I'm not sure that's my wisest option. [I'm not looking to even make a profit on selling chickens/eggs, but I'd like to just get help on the feed bill to help fund my addiction and it seems smarter to sell eggs that fetch a higher price to do more to help with that, right?] But the BA roos also make a nice meat bird too, which I consider a bonus for sure.

    Then there are the Cuckoo Marans. I have hatched many batches of these and have culled pretty hard and have ended up with 2 very beautiful and *NICE* Cuckoo Marans roos [the nice part was the hardest thing - I've gotten rid of a bunch of previous CM roos because their temperaments were awful]. And I have 4 very nice quality Cuckoo Marans pullets - also selected for temperament as well as pretty, dark eggs. Aside from laying pretty eggs, these Cuckoo Marans also make an excellent meat bird, again something I like.

    So, who do I breed? Do I keep the:

    Blue Wheaton Ameraucanas
    Blue/Black Ameraucanas
    Black Australorps
    Cuckoo Marans?

    Who would you keep and who would you get rid of and why?

    Anybody got any sage advice? I'm just going crazy trying to decide!!!! [Because, I promise you, I've worked so hard to get great stock and I love them so much, I don't want to get rid of ANY of these chickens!!!! [​IMG] ]

    Last edited: Feb 26, 2009
  2. Majestic Lane Poultry

    Majestic Lane Poultry Heart Strings Animal Rehoming

    Feb 9, 2009
    If you are in it for a hobby, I say breed what you like.

    I get interested in improving the quality of my flock. But I too have decided that I have branched out in areas I don't like and now have to make decisions - SLW. Don't like them. I bought 15 pullets and 1 cockerel last spring. A mistake on my part.

    Anyway, start culling your decisions. If you don't care for a certain variety or personalities - don't go there.

    Good Luck. [​IMG]
  3. sandypaws

    sandypaws Songster

    Nov 12, 2008
    desert of calif
    if it was ME...
    cuckoo marans
    and blue ameracaunas..
    i think that is what i am heading for... selling off several of my other breeds and looking for good quality blue ameracaunas.. i have a few cuckoos already (got their eggs in the bator now)
  4. herechickchick

    herechickchick Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    Memphis TN
    If you are not breeding for show then go with temperament and it sounds like you are in love with your EE roo. A good quality flock of EEs with a higher percentage of throwing blue egg layers will draw peoples attention. You could mix the true blue, black and blue wheaten Amer. girls with some of the EE girls. If your pen is large enough you could keep your EE roo and the Blue Amer. roo together with about 20 - 25 ladies provided they get along. So I would mix them up and create a wonderful EE flock. Next I would focus on the Cuckoo Marans. Marans are HOT right now and I think they will have a strong following for a long time. If you are selecting for egg color then that is what will sell your stock. People seem to respond to egg color and many love the rarity of the blue and dark colored eggs. I would let the Australorps go, sorry, but you could look into them again if and when you get another pen. I think just focusing on 2 breeds right now is a good thing and I think you will have a better time working with and improving them. Just take some time if you have not already and write out your goals and start there.

    Best of luck
  5. momma-hen

    momma-hen Songster

    Jan 25, 2007
    I say, get a new husband [​IMG]
    Not an option? LOL.
    I currently have 3 coops, 2 breeds walking around, and three different breeds in the incubator, so I can sympathize! And my hubby has NO handyman skills, even if he were willing!

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