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Author Topic: When/What to cull  (Read 242 times)

John Scruggs

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When/What to cull
« on: March 23, 2017, 01:25:14 PM »
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. 

Suggestions?  Thanks!

Don

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Re: When/What to cull
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2017, 11:07:09 AM »
John,  Its difficult to choose or cull chicks early in their life except for things such as cross beak.   There are pictures of chicks on the gallery for each of the standard colors for reference.  The one caution that I would offer is that all lines have their own tells that you can learn from watching them grow thru a season.  By documenting the color of chicks at hatch and as they grow, you can tell more how they will mature and feather as adults.  The Breeder who sold you stock might be able to help you with some insights for the first year.  If they have a single strain and haven't added new stock, they will be able to help you in the beginning to know what to expect. But the chick color is not always the same for every line.  It depends on the genetic history of each line.  Once you have a family started you can learn better what to expect.  I agree it makes sense raise as many as you can.  And its always best to learn and find shortcuts to help reduce the numbers as early as possible.  And you always stand a chance of selling really good stock if you cull too early.  That's one advantage in working with several folks in your area working with the same genetic stock.  You can share birds to raise and fill in stock as needed during a breeding season if needed.  Once you add new stock from a different line you may not have the same tells for the next chicks that hatch.   
Don Cash
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..."   Mark Twain

Lindsay Helton

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Re: When/What to cull
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2017, 02:29:54 AM »
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. 

Suggestions?  Thanks!

Hi John,

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!!!
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 02:33:02 AM by Lindsay Helton »
-Lindsay

"If you continuously compete with others, you become bitter, but if you continuously compete with yourself, you become better."