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Author Topic: Quality vs Quantity  (Read 208 times)

Stephan Roaque

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Quality vs Quantity
« on: May 15, 2020, 05:28:57 PM »
Afternoon,
This has always been a topic that I feel should be talked about more often. And maybe it does. I have set personal goals to not only to breed my birds towards the standard but also be breed quality. Susan Mouw posted recently in regards to this on the FB Ameraucana page. What I want to ask those that have done it respectively is at what point do you draw the line at quality vs quantity? To be more specific when do you or how do you try to not to stray away from quality? Breeders can get pressured to produce volume, its up to the breeder to dictate(in my opinion) how much to sell as far as eggs and day old chicks. I have two birds now that are poor quality. And I am bummed about that. But I have some new ones now from two other breeders that I hope to correct the situation I am currently in. What advice or tips can you give? Please. Thanks. This is for discussion not argument please. Thank you for your time.

Birdcrazy

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Re: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2020, 08:19:13 PM »
Stephan, can you give us a little more info on the birds you judge as poor quality. Are they from eggs that you hatched, day old chicks purchased, started birds, adult birds? What in your opinion makes them poor quality? Do they have an obvious defect? How old are the 2 birds? What variety of Ameraucana are they? Some varieties take longer to mature than others.
Gordon Gilliam

Stephan Roaque

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Re: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2020, 06:47:45 PM »
The birds I had acquired were from a breeder. Got them as day old chicks. I ended up with two cocks and two hens. The blue cock had very bad leakage and there was no question he had to go. We continued to show the blue hen and the black cock. Our other hen was a black and died very young. Since getting serious about quality birds for showing I have inquired a better trained eye to give me feedback on the two we had. The black cock is lacking in his fullness of chest and his tail is a little too high. He is now a year old and went through his first molt and now is showing silver leakage on his hackles and is also shy on the right color of eye. The blue hen is showing some slack spots on her feathers and some are hidden unless you pick her up and examine closely. She is ok but her blue coloring is light and very faded lacing. Her tail is high not bad but high. She has good muffs and beard. With these things mentioned above I was told they were lacking in quality. From my stand point with four chicks and 3 out of the 4 not being better quality that seems a fair judgment to me. Maybe I am wrong. My expectation for other breeders and I hold myself to this standard too is that we must do our best to attain quality vs quantity. This goes for anything in life really but I will stay on topic. Haha! My question really is how do you that are far more experienced not get sucked into that "quantity" column.
Sorry for the late reply. I forgot that I posted this.

Birdcrazy

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Re: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2020, 08:56:15 PM »
Stephan, I think your expectation of having show quality birds out of 4 chicks is extremely high. Exceptional birds for show are not that common. I usually use the rule of thumb that 5-10% will grow out to be exceptional show quality. Then at large shows like the ABC National those with show quality soon drop down in the pecking order. So the Champion and reserve Champion Ameraucana are a very minute % of all Ameraucanas hatched. That's what makes breeding fun, but also so challenging. I do think that you make a valid point about quantity vs quality. It costs just as much feeding poor quality birds as exceptional quality birds. I am paying almost $20 for a 50#  bag of high protein commercial feed. Chances of getting exceptional show birds out the poor quality birds is almost nil compared to hatching from quality stock. I know some sell their chicks as out of breeder quality birds. This can produce some quality birds, but at a lower %. I'm glad you are looking at the physical attributes of your birds with self evaluation. Do you own or have access to a copy of the Standard of Perfection by the APA? This will help give you an ultimate help in culling your birds as they grow out. It will also give you help on eliminating breeder birds that should be culled.
Gordon Gilliam

Penny McDonald

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Re: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2020, 07:57:21 AM »
I started in a similar place, and am not very far ahead of you.  I got 5 chicks off of Kijiji which all turned out to be pullets (good type , poor coloring) and then I became obsessed with the breed, so bought a young cockeral off a breeder (which turned out not that great either). I lost 2 of the original 5, but added some of their chicks.  I am up to 9 hens and 2 roosters, some good, some "meh", but nothing that would be disqualified at a show.  I'm terrified of something happening and losing some birds and having to start again, thats why Ive kept the "meh" ones this long.  This year I have my favorite rooster separated with 3 hens (was 4 hens but reduced for quality) and bought an incubator.  I plan to try to hatch and grow out at least 20 chicks from this particular group, and then cull.

Definitely get a copy of the SOP, talk to Ameraucana people on this group (so many are willing to help!!!), study the galleries and show results photos. Breed the best of what you have, build your stock up, (or purchase a nice trio), hatch lots, cull lots.  But this is just advice from a newbie too :)

Stephan Roaque

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Re: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2020, 11:55:20 PM »
Gordon,
 I tend to do that. And what I will say is my expectation at the time was different then it is now. I just wanted some nice birds for my oldest to Show. Now that I have learned more my perspective has changed a little. Thank you for your advice. I will note it.
Penny, I think no matter where we are we can all learn something new from folks if we stay open to it. Thank you.
As for the SOP already got one and reading it.

Birdcrazy

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Re: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2020, 01:32:35 AM »
Stephan, As you have probably learned by now, the road to successful showing is not short (unless you have enough money and can convince a successful owner to sell his show birds). I entered many shows with my flock starting with 4 and 5th place finishes. Slowly after culling my stock and adding some new stock I slowly climbed up the ladder. Finally I won my first BV BB and Champion AOSB. The next year at the same show I won BV BB and Champion AOSB on a Black Cockerel and RV RB and Reserve Champion AOSB on a Black Pullet. As I said before the road to showing can be hard, sometimes frustrating but also challenging and fun at the same time and may I say rewarding also.  The one unknown to watch for is predators. It seems like they are on the judging circuit. They seem to go after the cream of the crop and put you back to where you started.

I give you and your kids best wishes on the show circuit. Take it a step at a time, keep culling with an eye on the SOP and enjoy even 4-5th places on your way to the top. Most of all have fun, reap the rewards along the way, face the challenges but most of all enjoy your Ameraucana flock.
Gordon Gilliam

Stephan Roaque

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Re: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2020, 06:16:26 PM »
Gordon,
 Congrats on the success! That's great! With the birds we have now that I mentioned we did pretty well with so far at the shows. But that's before I saw the leakage. hahaha! So we shall see. I bought some Blue,Blacks, Wheatens and Blue Wheatens and hope to have some good products from those. I am excited about the challenge to breed and achieve a goal like you. Its funny you mention predators killing the cream of the crop. It seems like things whether it be predators or not seem to do that with all very good stock. Horses included! Some good horses have died on the ranch of some people we know by just a regular lightning strike. And I lost my best hound to a car hitting him. So its tough for sure. Good luck to ya this showing season! Hope to meet you down the road.
Stephan

Birdcrazy

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Re: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2020, 09:08:01 PM »
Stephan, I wish you well with your new Ameraucana purchase. Were these chicks, started birds or adult? If they were chicks or started birds, don't cull your Wheaten/Blue Wheaten too early unless you find immediate DQ
traits. Wheaten/Blue Wheaten have a tendency to mature later than Blacks and Blues. Just keep one eye on the birds and the other eye on the SOP! I hope your kids raise some show winners!
Gordon Gilliam

Stephan Roaque

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Re: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2020, 07:41:38 PM »
These are chicks that we purchased. How long would you say it takes for the Wheaten/Blue Wheaten to finish out? What are your thoughts on purchasing a trio as well? Or would that be too much? Thank you for the advice and your time.
Stephan

Lindsay Helton

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Re: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2020, 09:41:09 PM »
Afternoon,
This has always been a topic that I feel should be talked about more often. And maybe it does. I have set personal goals to not only to breed my birds towards the standard but also be breed quality. Susan Mouw posted recently in regards to this on the FB Ameraucana page. What I want to ask those that have done it respectively is at what point do you draw the line at quality vs quantity? To be more specific when do you or how do you try to not to stray away from quality? Breeders can get pressured to produce volume, its up to the breeder to dictate(in my opinion) how much to sell as far as eggs and day old chicks. I have two birds now that are poor quality. And I am bummed about that. But I have some new ones now from two other breeders that I hope to correct the situation I am currently in. What advice or tips can you give? Please. Thanks. This is for discussion not argument please. Thank you for your time.

Stephan,

To maintain quality, always focus on it first and foremost. There will not be any pressure to produce volume if you do not allow there to be pressure.

A true “breeder” always focuses on quality over quantity when it comes to selling hatching eggs, chicks and started birds. Now, to maintain and improve quality in your line, you will need to produce quantity when hatching and raising birds on the farm. Most breeders with a good line hope for around 50% of birds produced to be worthy of breeding and around 10%-25% produced to be show quality. That means in a batch of 20, hopefully 10 will be worthy of making it to a breeding pen and a handful worthy of showing. Sometimes those numbers are smaller. Many breeders will only keep the show quality birds for their breeding pens the following season.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 09:45:18 PM by Lindsay Helton »
-Lindsay

"Strive for excellence, not perfection.”

Lindsay Helton

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Re: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2020, 09:48:41 PM »
These are chicks that we purchased. How long would you say it takes for the Wheaten/Blue Wheaten to finish out? What are your thoughts on purchasing a trio as well? Or would that be too much? Thank you for the advice and your time.
Stephan

Wheaten and blue wheaten are very slow to develop. Males can take up to a year to finish out. I recommend growing them all out so you can become familiar with the line you are working with. That is how we learn. Cull for any disqualifications and for poor type along the way. Females will finish a little sooner and are usually ready to show at around 8 months of age.
-Lindsay

"Strive for excellence, not perfection.”

Birdcrazy

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Re: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2020, 10:16:37 PM »
Stephan, I usually wait until my Wheaten/Blue Wheaten cockerels are 10 months old or so before I make my final cull. Example if I intend to keep 2 for my breeding pens for the next year I will probably have 4-5 at my final cull. Blue Wheaten cockerels I like to give time to evaluate the color hue and edging in the breast. Pullets you can probably final cull at 8 months or so. As Lindsay put in her post I usually put my best show birds into breeding pens the next year. The only drawback to this is usually that means I am showing cockerels and pullets every year and very seldom cocks or hens. The pro side to this is hopefully I am improving the quality of my breeding pens and my chicks. On your question of buying a trio, if you can find one within reasonable driving distance or make arrangements to make connections with a breeder to meet you at a show for the transfer. That  is because the shipping containers and freight is extremely high on adult birds. Hopefully you can find a nice trio out of the chicks that you just purchased.
Gordon Gilliam

Birdcrazy

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Re: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2020, 10:32:51 PM »
Lindsay, you were posting as I was typing (well pecking my way) to Stephan's questions. Amazing that your answers and mine were so close. No Stephan, we didn't collaborate on answers!
Gordon Gilliam

Stephan Roaque

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Re: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2020, 12:41:51 AM »
Thanks for the info both of you. You two aren’t far off from each other. Which is good to me. Lindsay- I’ll note what you said and you make some very valid points. Gordon has too.
Gordon- the closest breeder to me is in Texas. So I’m
Gonna have to have some shipped. That’s the issue with out where I am. Again thank for the tips, both of you.