large chickensCreating a chicken breed can be a fun way of developing your ideal chicken race. Are you looking for the best meat bird? Perhaps you want the ideal layer? Here are the things to focus on when creating your Chicken Master Race.

1. Identify Your Goals
How successfully you breed your master race will depend on what stock you start with in comparison to your goals. Once you have your overall goal in mind, break it down into smaller, short-term goals that you can use to gauge your success over time. Take the time to set quality goals and prepare yourself to remove any birds that don’t meet them. Pick one trait at a time to improve and raise the bar every year.

2. Be Picky about Your Selection
Look for two things when selecting your breeding stock, good lineage and individual superiority. And you want to be sure you’re selecting birds on BOTH conditions. No matter how excellent a bird appears, if they have bad ancestry that can be seen in later generations.

3. Limit Your Options
Trying to change too much in a breed or working with too many breeds will lead to frustration and less than desirable outcomes. Limit yourself to one breed and one or two varieties within the breed. Your goal is to make the best chicken possible and that means not trying to change all the chickens, just yours.

4. Show Breeding
Birds that are bred for show will require you to look for exemplary type as type defines the breed. You want to pick starting birds of excellent lineage with beautiful plumage, color, and those that meet the breed ideal as closely as possible. It is also important to breed for temperament. You want chickens that are lively but tame. Good show hens like to talk and are perky, while good show cocks are show-offs without being aggressive. Avoid selecting two birds that have the same fault, ie. don’t pick two birds with dull coloring. Look for birds with contrasting strengths and weakness, but remember, you do not want to breed bad genes so avoid any bird that has serious defects.

5. Breeding for Eggs
Good laying is not a trait that is high heritable, and show birds are rarely good layers as they tend to be more inbred than the crossed varieties used in commercial egg production. However, with careful selection, a small time flock owner can breed a chicken that has better than the original egg production. The best way to choose good layers to breed into a line is to look at the family average. Though the trait is not passed from mother to daughter, it is passed between families. If one family of hens has excellent egg production, it is likely that the next hen in the same line will be an excellent producer. It is important, however, that a breeder not assume that a single excellent layer in a family of poor layers will pass this trait on. It is more likely that any hens resulting from this mother will be poor layers.

6. Boiler Breeding
Breeding for meat is similar to breeding for egg production. Both require careful crossbreeding and genetic tracking, however unlike with egg production, rapid growth and efficient food conversion are highly heritable. Fast growing birds pass this trait directly to their off-spring and are chosen by having the greatest weight among its flock mates when they reach 8 weeks. Use these birds to improve your dual-purpose and meat strains.

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