I penned this cock with a few dark ig females last season. I retained 3 pullets and 2 males that were of the same likeness. The pullets were dark laced.

This season I shall pen him with his daughters. The pullets were out of a number of hens in that pen. They may be all from the same hen or any of the others, ..(That’s why it is always a good plan to just single pair mate to start a line, as then you know exactly what they produced). I know for sure the pullets carry the genes from him, but don’t know which hen produced what chick, so using him as the sire this year will mean the resulting chicks will be 75% of his genetic make-up as all the 3 pullets are his daughters. Hopefully reducing the % of unwanted faults’ and setting the stamp of the male in the bloodline.

The females I used last year in that pen are still fit and healthy, so the best of the other 2 males that look like him..(same colour) will be penned with his mother/aunties.  The resulting chicks will then carry 50% of his father’s genes and 50% of the hen that laid the egg that he hatched from.  In future seasons IF they are quality and as good as the birds they were bred from,these pullets can be mated back to his father to produce another line that will run alongside the foundation male and hopefully fixing the red/black feather colour . You can run these lines together by mating pullets from 1 line (original mating) to males from the other line. (Son of father back to mother/aunts)  Never mate pullets from the same line to cockerels from that line, cross breed from either line, and always select the best birds to breed from.

Red/Black male and Dark Females. Original pen.

So where do you start ?

Cheapest way is to buy in eggs and hatch them. Utility breeders are more likely to supply the best of the breeds they keep , as some exhibition breeders worry about being beaten by birds from eggs they have sold  Utility breeders that have built up a reputation for quality stock take a lot of pride in breeding strains that do exactly what it says on the tin, but there is slightly more to it than that. First and foremost it is a rash keeper that buys in eggs of the same breed from 2 different breeders and cross mates the resulting birds together, thus mixing the genetics and possibly breaking the breeding strain of both sets of birds. Better to try to follow the line/strain and build your own twin breeding lines. If you need to bring in ‘new blood’ only use it on 1 of your lines and evaluate the resulting birds at maturity. It all takes time and record keeping.

You need to consider the amount of work that went into building the line that that breeder is selling, mixing them may result in a selection of genetics that just don’t knit. In exhibition breeding the number of factors are to a certain extent lessened, as the ‘standard’ does not take into account the laying ability and a hundred other genetic factors which go into the makeup of a utility fowl.

Not all my geese are swans. I still get birds not coming up to the standard I want and those are either used for producing eating egg sales or taken for the freezer. Breeding the numbers I do I eat a lot of chicken. Out of say 50 cockerels I need to select perhaps just 12 for the breeding pens,reduced down to the best birds. It takes a year before you know if that pen was the right selection of breeders.

Use the best male you can get. He should be a strong vigorous bird that gets up on his toes, flaps his wings and crows declaring his territory. He will pass on half of the genetics to all his offspring

So male A is penned with say 3 females and the resulting chicks will be 50/50 of that pairing.  Adams family.

In the second year the best females and you have to be very selective are mated back to A

The chicks hatched will have 75 % of male Aand 25% of whatever hen had produced them. Hopefully enhancing/fixing the best qualities of the original male.

You can, in the second year repeat the original mating, if the birds are fit enough or use the best of the males B that were produced by that pen back to the mother/aunties to form a second line.

If you evaluate at POL and sexual maturity of the males and only select the best for further breeding, you are not breeding for quantity your breeding for quality. The birds that do not measure up and you either dispatch for the freezer or run into an eating egg pen. you will improve your strain..and by year 2 they are your strain.

With utility breeding you need to look deeper than just the feather colour . Shape is very important, as is movement, balance and vigour. Without vigour your strain will falter. They should never be unoccupied during daylight hours. Birds need to be actively seeking food not sitting around waiting for the feed bucket.