I have a blue wheatens roo, 2 wheatens, and 1 blue wheatens hens. My first batch of chicks hatched on the 5th/6th. I have banded my chicks in 3 groups. The first group are those that had a lot of blacks splotches on their backs, 2-3 having what almost appeared to be a ladder on their back. The second group had no splotches on their backs, but had a black dot on the back of their head. The third group had no visible markings at all. Now they are all feathering out, and doing so very differently. Some are very lightly colored feathers and some very dark. A few have dark spots developing on their beaks.
Mrs. Susan told me to watch for dark spots developing on the hackles of those chicks that had a lot of splotches/ladder/chipmunk pattern on their backs, but also that it may or may not be present when they are fully feathered.
I plan to have about 100 chicks by end of May and only plan to keep the 2-3 best cockerels and 4-5 of the best pullets by the end of the fall.
Is there anything that will be visible now that I can go ahead and cull for? Whatever gets culled will be sold as Easter eggers and I already have several friends and neighbors wanting them because they know they lay blue eggs. If there is anything I can cull for now, I'd like to reduce the size of the flock as I will only have one 10x10 grow out pen.
Do you have any pictures of the chicks?
I raise the wheaten, blue wheaten, splash wheaten Ameraucanas as well. Beyond culling for obvious faults like Don mentioned, it is good to hold on to them for as long as you can. The wheaten, blue wheaten, splash wheaten can be slow to develop. I keep most cockerels until they are 8-10 months old, and sometimes even later, before making a final decision. Purchasing the APA Standard of Perfection book is a great way to familiarize yourself with the breed standard. It is expensive, but is a worthwhile investment in my opinion. Over the next few months, you'll want to pay attention to type first, and then go from there. Type refers to things like their tail angle, how they hold their wings, the length of their back, transition from back to tail, etc. You'll also want to watch eye color, ear lobe color, prominence of muff/beard, shank color, ticking in the hackles (black specks in the neck area -a little is okay, but too much should be culled for in my opinion), etc. Just try to look at the bird as a whole and don't get tunnel vision. Best of luck with your birds!!!