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Author Topic: Keep or Cull?  (Read 216 times)

Lindsay Helton

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Keep or Cull?
« on: June 25, 2020, 11:57:34 AM »
Keep or cull?

An important task when breeding towards the standard is to narrow down your birds each season. Breeders that have a good line of birds and breed towards the standard hope for roughly 50% of chicks that are produced to be breeding quality and 10-25% to be show quality. Many breeders will only keep the show quality birds to put in their breeding pens the following year.

I have attached a picture of “keepers and culls” from a reputable breeding program to signify the importance of narrowing down your birds each season if you want to breed towards the standard. Remember to select for quality over quantity when selecting breeding stock and setting up your breeding pens.

A breeder has taken the time to share their comments on each bird below. A special thank you to that breeder. 

Keep in mind that a bird that is considered a cull in one breeding program may be considered a keeper in another breeding program depending on the state of that breeding program.

A - Splash pullet - definitely a keeper. While the color standard is yet to be accepted for Splash, the type on this bird, overall, is very nice. Although we can't really see her breast outline very well, because of the other bird's tail, the beginning (top) of that breast looks like there is a nice curve there. Full muffs and beard, good skin color (look at the beak). Hard to tell from this pic, but her tail might be a bit pinched, but I would need to see it from the back to know for sure.

B - Blue Wheaten cockerel - definitely a cull. Let's start with the overall body type. First, that tail set is too high, he has some significant black striping in his hackles, his beard and muff look to be single-gened. I can't tell much about his comb, but I like a nice tight pea comb and his looks to be a bit high - especially for a bird this young - his full tail feathers aren't even in yet.

C - Black pullet - absolutely a keeper! Even from this angle, you can see the roundness of the breast, the overall substance in the body, and the balance. A beautiful length of back with a very nice transition into that perfect 40 degree tail set (Remember - 40 deg. for hens, 45 for cockbirds). There might be a bit of excessive fluff back there, but I wouldn't toss this bird for that, when everything else is so nicely tied together.

D - Black pullet - I actually could go either way on this bird, depending on where I was in my breeding program. I'd like to see a bit more breast, a bit shorter back, and nicer transition from neck to back. Of course, if I had to choose between this pullet and Pullet C - it would be Pullet C, hands down.

E - Blue pullet - definitely a keeper. I can't fault this bird for type - that tail will come up and she probably matured very nicely. The transition from neck into back is already there, the balance is there, substance is there. The blue color looks a bit splotchy in places, but that could molt out and nothing to be overly concerned with at this age. Very nice lacing overall, too. Nicely defined lobes in those muffs and beard, too. Overall, a nice pullet.

F - Blue pullet - definitely a cull. Poor balance, lack of substance, lack of breast, and that tail set is already too high. Add to that the color issue with lack of lacing, and this bird is out of here!

G - Blue cockerel - nice! He's apparently young, as that tail hasn't come up all the way yet, but I would bet that he ended up with a very nice tail set. Good substance overall, good balance, and look at the fullness in that breast! That comb is a bit high for my tastes, but I would just make sure he is bred to hens with nice tight combs. Full muffs and beard, though not as well defined as F above, but he's young yet. On color - very nice! You can just see the beginning of the breast and the lacing there above his hocks, but this bird is a keeper.

H - Blue pullet - another one I could go either way on, depending on where I was in my breeding program. Overall type is actually decent with good substance, proper tail set, good transition from neck to back to tail. Can't tell anything about her muffs and beard in this pick, except for that one area on the cheeks, but it looks fairly full. Tail might be pinched - again, hard to tell from this angle. The biggest issue I would have with this bird is the almost complete lack of lacing - but, again, if I needed to set that type in my breeding program, I wouldn't throw her out just for the lacing issue - especially if I had a male like G to breed her to.

I - Black cockerel - definitely a keeper, but out of condition. That tail isn't fully in yet, but I like the transition from neck to back to tail. Decent breast and substance. Nicely balanced. Again with the comb - I like a nice, tight comb, but I could work with that.

J - Black cockerel -Completely lacking in substance overall, back too long - this is just not a good example of type for an Ameraucana. He'd have to go.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2020, 01:24:56 PM by Lindsay Helton »
-Lindsay

“We love because He first loved us.”

Birdcrazy

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Re: Keep or Cull?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2020, 01:34:52 PM »
Nice article Lindsay. I enjoyed reading and looking at the photos. Hopefully this will be a learning tool for myself and others interested in promoting and furthering the rise of the Ameraucana Breed. Thank you!
Gordon Gilliam

Lindsay Helton

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Re: Keep or Cull?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2020, 08:03:10 PM »
Nice article Lindsay. I enjoyed reading and looking at the photos. Hopefully this will be a learning tool for myself and others interested in promoting and furthering the rise of the Ameraucana Breed. Thank you!

Thanks Gordon!
-Lindsay

“We love because He first loved us.”