Sunday, 2 January 2011

Planning for the breeding season

Despite many weeks of freezing temperatures, ice and snow at the end of 2010 and the New Ye
ar starting dull and wet, the cockerels are in fine form and raring to go. Most of last year's pullets are now in lay and the older birds have finished their moult and are looking neat and tidy.

We still have an excess of cockerels. We never managed to deal with all the table birds before Christmas and kept several of the young breeding cockerels back, waiting until they had matured more before making a decision on which to keep.

One of the Exchequer Leghorn cockerels stood out from the rest, making our choice easy. His colouring is good, he matured earlier than the others, is treading the hens frequently and is quite spell bounding, strutting around with an air of confidence and arrogance

Photo: Exchequer Leghorn cockerel 2010 hatch.

The Gold Duckwing Welsummers are proving to be everything I could wish for. The pullets are laying large dark eggs on an almost daily basis. The birds themselves are quiet and friendly, crouching as I enter the pen and happy to be handled. The cockerel I kept from last year's hatch is stunning and despite not using him as this year's breeding cock I am reluctant to part with him and am considering developing a second line.

Photo: Gold Duckwing Welsummer cockerel 2010 hatch with an Indian Game pullet and a crossbred pullet.

I will use the same Indian game cockerel as last year. He is still very young and produced many good birds. We are keeping two of his pullets, the young cockerel will either be advertised for sale along with other birds or put into the freezer.

Photo: Indian Game cockerel in full cry. 2010 hatch.

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