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Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by rancher hicks, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Now as most know I buy and read both the Practical Poultry and Back Yard Poultry magazines. I know that at $8.00 a pop it may not be affordable to some here, so I like to pass on information I read.

    So this is the latest.

    PP pg 22 "Disappointing numbers cause concern"

    "If purchasers end up with show stock , they are going to be very disappointed in the laying performance and I'm sure, would avoid pure breeds in the future. Some of the show stock can barely lay enough eggs to produce the next generation, let alone keep a family in eggs!" "Some egg laying figures in the article were misleading too. The Wyandotte is given as 175 pa (per annum) but the utility whites listed in the PP utility register, average 240 pa. Also the Light Sussex in the register average 240 pa. "

    "Surely the really useful PP Utility Register should have been given as the point of reference for readers, and the time would have been better spent giving a short explanation on how best to make use of it. It will become even more difficult for the UK utility breeds to survive if their reputation becomes tarnished through no fault of their own. "

    So what's my point?

    Heritage breeds and purebreds were developed for "utility" , meat and eggs. Not for looking good running around the yard. Yes there is the SOP but IMO that is just a guideline to the breed. I have been criticize for not "working" toward improving the breeds I have, but I ask in what way and for what purpose? To win trophies or to be useful for the household? It seems to me that the judge can only base his/her assessment on what is before his/her eyes. For all he knows the hen may never have laid and egg or the rooster may have the fertility of a capon.

    If you have purchased a breed and been disappointed it may be in that particular line and not necessary to the breed. Is it possible to have "good looking stock and utility"? Sure, but the reality falls somewhere in between, IMO. Show birds and utility birds are not necessarily the same and I think with this knowledge we all can make informed decisions when buying birds.

    I wish you the best,

    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  2. pampered_poultry

    pampered_poultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2011
    South GA
    You can control what you want between egg layer and show stock by timing your eggs for the incubator by the signs of the moon. (almanac)

  3. Jake Levi

    Jake Levi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 14, 2011
    Harrisville, MI
    Right on Rancher !! Stay your course !

    I think that there is way too much emphasis on showing to the SOP, and not near enough as to the utility of our heritage breeds ! How many people do we know who count eggs from a coop of hens for the year? How many keep track of fryer and roaster weights? How many judges have we seen pick a hen or pullet up and check her pelvis?

    I would suggest that all here get a little book named Call of the Hen, its available from, which is where that I got mine, learn how to evaluate your breeds, and then before you show, ask the judges if they know how to. It wouild be shocking to find out how many dont know.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  4. S.L.Swope

    S.L.Swope Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2011
    San Antonio
    Thanks interesting read. Does that mean pure bread pretty birds are less likely to produce as many eggs and a "barnyard mix" I bought birds from Ideal so not show quality hopefully I'll get good production when thet get big enough to lay [​IMG]
  5. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    If all you want are eggs, then by all means you don't need a "pure" breed to get that. In fact the best layers are hybrids. Back when most of these dual purpose breeds were developed, 150 eggs a year was considered "good." Now, that amount is considered horrid. Blast the breeders all you wish, but if they're heritage breeds, then you're still getting what they were to begin with. Personally I see reverse snobbery going on.

    ETA: I have some SQ birds and some Hatchery birds. I keep a log of their laying. They all lay nearly every day the first year. After that, the hatchery ones have dropped off. My SQ aren't as old as the others but so far, I am seeing no difference at all in laying other than the fact that the SQ lays a bigger egg initially. Why? Because the size and confirmation have been kept up to be what it should be in the SQ birds. The hatchery ones are noticeably smaller, with less room between the pubic bones in general.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  6. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 2, 2009
    Sunny side up :)
    I think if people are just breeding towards a certain standard maybe egg laying ability would not be as important and visa versa if you were only breeding toward egg laying. It is certainly hard to get both as with the Marans breeds etc. where you are breeding for both dark eggs and the standard. It's like a tug o' war between traits lol.
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I do not see breeding for eggs or (fidelity to SOP) beauty to be mutually exclusive. I believe to breed purely for looks in a breed that was a solid layer in its original intent does the breed no particular preservation favors. The egg laying intent of the original breeders is oft times well known and should be equally respected. But as Galanie suggested, the laying originally intended might be pretty low and not meet a modern persons expectation of what is a "good layer".
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  8. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    Another thing that occurs to me is how often people seem to want to re-invent the wheel. While I'd never want to perpetuate a line of poor layers no matter their looks, breeding for laying ability alone has already been done ad nauseum in many breeds and hybrids.

    And another thing: Where are examples of birds whom the article the OP refers to? What breeds? Where? What happened? I've often seen broad generalizations like this but only in one instance have I seen an actual example: That of heritage cornish needing to be AI. No where have I seen something like, say, "My 7 crossed mutt RIR sorta birds laid 300 eggs last year and his purebred foo-foo RIR birds only laid 200." Or, "the stock they came from laid 300 eggs but now they're lots prettier and only lay 200."

    ETA: just to clear up a possible misunderstanding, not all heritage cornish need to be AI. But there are examples of some that do because of what is called "extremes" in breeding certain traits.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Heritage breeds and purebreds were developed for "utility" , meat and eggs. Not for looking good running around the yard.

    You have to also keep in mind that back when these breeds were being developed the breeder/breeders had a idea of what they wanted that breed to look and perform like and that look and perform is out lined in that breeds standard.
    Also keep in mind if it wasn't for these breeders of exhibition stock breeding to the Standard of Perfection most of there breeds would cease to exist, and all that we would have left would be the Industrial Breeds that hatcheries sell which in my opinion are poor example of the breeds that they are being called.

    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  10. acy0029

    acy0029 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2011
    I don't understand the whole "improving the breed". Many of the breed's SOP were written 100+ years ago. Wouldn't the act of improvement in fact cause the breed veer from the SOP? Since the SOP was written with particular birds as examples how can you "improve it" doesn't the term Perfection mean it can't be improved? Maybe it should be called the "Standard Of Mediocrity" [​IMG]

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