White Leghorns

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by minister man, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. minister man

    minister man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My dream has been to have a "conservation type" flock of white leghorns. The only pure breds I can get around here are show birds, and then there are the 4 way shaver cross commercial layers. I started with 2 differnt strains of show birds, but they don't lay worth a darn. So it would seem that I am trying to conserve a group of birds that don't lay well enough to be production birds, and don't look good enough to be show birds. My goal is to have a flock of white egg layers that I can hatch my own replacements from.


    I am considering two options.

    1) Up grade the pure birds with 4 way cross shaver roosters for a few years and then use those birds.

    2) get rid of the show lines, buy some commerical white layers complete with roosters and just raise my own.

    I know Hybrids don't breed true, which as I understand it means that they don't all look and lay alike. But I am wondering how they are differnt than what beef farmers call a " composite Breed" which is breeding from cattle that are 1/2 of one breed and 1/4 of another and 1/4 of another, and breeding them like a true breed ( to each other). The beef producers claim that the cattle all look differnt but they produce better because hybrid vigour is built right in.


    What do you guys think would be the best to do? Anyone out there breeding from commercial hybrids?

    Thanks
     
  2. minister man

    minister man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    no opionions out there?
     
  3. chickensrfood

    chickensrfood Out Of The Brooder

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    Why not just buy the single comb white leghorns and work with those? Not the 'mixed' hatchery ones with the dark spots.

    I have a 'nice' IMO flock from hatchery stock. I am personally going to hatch my own from them when they mature enough to lay the larger eggs. Also I plan to only hatch eggs from the hens with the larger combs and higher production.
     
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    get rid of the show lines, buy some commerical white layers complete with roosters and just raise your own.
     
  5. minister man

    minister man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As I understand it the "Commercail white egglayers" that the feed stores sell around here are a 4 way cross, but they are not a cross of differnt breeds, but they are a cross between 4 inbred lines of white leghorns. So I think what ever hatches from them are white leghorns.

    From what I can find out they line breed one line for egg size, another line for production record ( # of eggs) one line for size, and one line for feed to eggs layed ratio. When they mix all those inbred lines together, they nick in a way that produces a bird that is almost a clone of the bird beside it so that the size, egg quanity and feed ratio is very predicatable in all the birds. So if I breed them to each other ( males to females of course, lol) Then the genetics of all four "lines" are still in there they jsut come to gether in differnt arrangements making the outcome less predicatable. Is there anyone out there that knows if my understanding of this is correct?

    To me that means that the future generations don't all look as much a like, or necessarially lay eggs of the same size, and some may eat more than others, but they will still be white leghorns that lay well. Then through selection they will become more a like? and new blood is not to hard to get, just another trip to the feed store.


    I have put a lot of thought in this, but just becasue I can think it doesn't make it true. What do you think? Does it sound like I am on the right track?

    To me is sounds like they did something similar to what this article recommends (http://www.dominiquechicken.com/Establishing_a_Strain.html ) only they have already done the hard part and put all the gentics in the pot. That article recommends starting a strain with 4 lines, each with a certain speciality.


    Right?

    Thanks for the help, If my thinking is wrong please chime in and help me understand why.
     
  6. chickensrfood

    chickensrfood Out Of The Brooder

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    I think your thinking is right but I don't think you need to make it so complicated. For one a commercial leghorn (Hen) should be around 4 lbs. This makes them a smaller bird which automatically means it should consume less feed. So if it lays consistently almost all year then your egg to feed ratio will be good.

    As far as the outcome being less predictable if you were to get offspring that produced less or grew to large (ate more food laid less) these birds could be culled out of your breeding project. You could then breed for your own specific traits and choose the roosters and hens accordingly until your happy with your outcome. You are always going to get some birds with the positive sides and some with the negative.

    It is just like the Cornish crosses. All the different lines and breeding that go into make that one egg that produces the incredibly fast growing bird is unrealistic IMO for most home breeding projects to duplicate.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  7. minister man

    minister man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am kind of thinking that even a poor commercial bird will out lay the show strains. And like you say, a few years of selection presure will make them look alike any way.

    Ultimately my goal is to have a flock of white egglayers that I will Call "Tripple P Leghorns"

    P - Practical ( lay enough to pay for thier feed)
    P- Presentable ( beutiful to look at while not show birds)
    P- Pleasing ( a good looking bird that pays it's way would be pleasing to me)

    Since those are my only goals, I believe I can create that our of commerical birds.

    Thanks for the encouragement, open to any other thoughts or comments.
     
  8. chickensrfood

    chickensrfood Out Of The Brooder

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    What if you added the commercial line to your show birds. That may speed up the type while adding in higher production..?
     
  9. minister man

    minister man Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I have one group of 6 pullets and 2 males that are 1/4 one show line, 1/4 commercial whites and 1/2 the other show line. Those pullets lay quite well. Very well compared to the show birds, I am just not sure how to base a flock on them. They are hatched from a group of 12 females and one male, so they are quite related to each other and I am not sure who to breed them to. maybe I will buy some more commercial birds and recreate them, and start from there.

    Thanks
     

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