Selection for Breeding

When the time comes for deciding which fowls to breed together, there are some simple basic rules that can be applied to all breeds.

One of the most important is to ensure you do not mate two birds together carrying the same fault, as in most cases this will only strengthen the shared fault. For example a hen carrying a double seration in the comb would be certainly avoided being put with a cockerel carrying a double serration, however you could get away with putting that hen with a double seration with a good serated comb cockerel.

The term balancing the faults is often used by breeders, this meaning that for example a cockerel may be too dark in his feather colour therefore you would put him to a lighter coloured female. The most simple explanation ever given to me by an old famous breeder was to think of it as mixing paint when trying to achieve perfect colour and remember too much black will ruin all your paint mixtures. This advice has served me well over the years and has been something that has stuck in my head.

When selecting for breeding, ensure to focus on your type, meaning that the birds you are intending to breed from are as close to the correct shape for their specified breed. Some people are dazzled by the correct colour of their breed looking past type. Breed for type first then match up for colour. This way you're well on your way to breeding a true representation of your breed.

All breeds have their own specific rules that can be applied, for example when breeding large sussex, the size always comes from the female. Without using a big female to breed with, you will almost find it impossible to acheive big birds. You can however get away with using a smaller male providing he has the desired colour and type.

The selection for breeding becomes easier with time, as after breeding for your first season you will get to know what outcomes can be expected from different matings. It is for this reason I would strongly suggest you keep records of your matings and their progeny. The most simple way is by use of a toe punch between webbing on their feet. This way you have an instant idea on who is related to who and will assist you in further breeding choices in the future.

Whilst the approach of placing the best with the best and hoping for the best is often adopted, it is wise to look very closely at your breeders when it comes time for matching up.