Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Wow, so I spent almost six hours out sorting birds today, which is way longer than I anticipated but that's kinda always how it goes. I handled every single bird I own, which means judging them, trimming toenails, and spraying for mites. Plus just having to catch and move them all takes a long time! This is normally something I would do a few months from now when I set up the breeding pens, but for several reasons I feel the need to simplify my life a little, and this is one area I can pretty easily do that, by getting rid of a lot of birds and really thinning the flock. The numbers surprise me, sometimes in terms of what I'm keeping, and sometimes in terms of what I'm selling.

Not all keepers are show birds. In fact most are not, they are the breeding stock that produces the show birds (which usually just means they are "retired" show birds). Not all show birds will end up being breeding stock. Not all keepers will end up sticking around. For example, there are several BBRed males that are in "wait and see" mode. They did not feather out right, but because I have NO idea if this is genetic or environmental (I do see it in other varieties) and they are superior color to the ones that DID feather out, I'm willing to see how they molt next summer/fall. I will no longer use cockerels (males less than a year old) for breeding stock, I need to wait and see how they feather out in their second year, because they really can change a lot. Females don't change that much.

The birds that are going to auction are not good enough that I want to keep them around as breeding stock, therefore they are not available for sale as such. Which isn't to say someone can't nab them at auction, but if someone is foolish enough to do that, well that's their business.

So here's how it worked out. Counting the new pair that I bought last weekend:

Black Rosecombs:
keeping: 5 males, 10 females
for sale: none
cull: 1 male, 6 females

Black Breasted Red Rosecombs:
keeping: 9 males, 7 females
for sale: none
cull: 1 male, 10 females

Brassy Back Rosecombs:
keeping: 1 male, 3 females
for sale: 2 males, 3 females
cull: 1 male, 2 females

Blue Brassy Back Rosecombs:
keeping: 0 males, 4 females
for sale: 0 males, 2 females
cull: 0 males, 5 females

Black Red (cross-variety) Rosecombs:
keeping: 1 male, 0 females
for sale: none
cull: 1 male, 2 females

Golden Duckwing (in progress) Rosecombs:
keeping: 1 male, 1 female
for sale: none
cull: none

keeping: none
for sale: 1 Single Comb BBRed male, 1 Single Comb BBRed female
cull: 1 Birchen(ish) male

Total Keeping: 17 males, 25 females = 42 birds total (OMG I haven't had this few birds since I don't know when!)
Total Good Birds For Sale: 3 males, 6 females = 9 birds total
Total Culls Going To Auction: 5 males, 25 females = 30 birds total

Crap, I just cut the flock in half! It's good though, this feels like the right thing to do. I remember years ago I had 25 BBRed females, and if I didn't keep 10 Black females per year I felt terrible about it. Well, I'd like to still be getting that number of good Black birds (hence the outcross now) but I'm really cracking down on quality in the BBReds and Brassies/Blue Brassies, so if the birds aren't darn good why keep using them to produce more birds?

It's kinda scary to be doing this, but hopefully it means the birds I hatch this year will be better quality.

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