I cant help but say my BLRW have really come into their own with the 2012 breeding season, how do you humbly/brag on your own birds..but I am very happy with them
For the 2011 breeding pens I finally turned my focus to the lacing on my BLRW, I have been working on type for the last few years and had put lacing on the back burner. I think everyone will be happy with the 2012 BLRW version we are hatching..although I cant guarantee they will be perfect, they should have good lacing, color and type.2011 Pullets
The deep mahogany red is very impressive on our new generation of BLRWs, I have not seen red this deep on any other line of BLRW out there. Both type and color has really improved this year, unlike buying a new truck you cant really trade your old model in....there are a lot of people and hatcheries out there offering my birds for sale, basically second generation Foley's Waterfowl BLRW...but only I have the breeders here that keep improving every year...Honestly, I don't think anyone else is crazy enough to spend the money involved in growing out so many birds, actually 2 generations each year just to improve their birds.
We really focused on type last year and made vast improvements by growing out a record number of 300 + chicks in 2010. We were able to drastically improve our breeding pens so we can offer the best quality BLRW chicks possible in 2011. We will focus more on lacing, color, and combs this year while staying true to the Wyandotte type. This year we anticipate the color, type, and lacing to be the best we have ever seen and so we are very pleased with the 2011 birds in the grow out pens.
2011 Black Laced Red Wyandotte Cockerel
2011 Cockerel showing the desired deep mahogany red
2011 Pullet in the breeding pen
Pictured are some of our 2011 hatches.......the BLRW's are bigger, have a deeper mahogany color to them with improved lacing and I have seen a drastic improvement in type. I recently read a comment from a BLRW breeder that it wasn't possible to breed for good wyandotte type and color, I disagree...the color has been pretty easy to achieve...the type has been the hard part.
Notice how the red is much deeper in the hackles than normal. It is my belief that to achieve good mahogany red on the body, you must keep an eye on the hackle color...if the hackles are brassy or golden color on the males I cull them from my breeding program even if they still have good deep red on the body. Then you also have to keep an eye out for good lacing on the hackles...that has been difficult and still a work in progress. I think breeding the Partridge has been helpful for me when it comes to raising birds with the mahogany red color.
I gathered BLRW from many different sources and parts unknown. I used the ones that had the best type and color, and have been raising as many chicks (were talking 200+ chicks) as I can each year and culling my breeders down to the best 6-8 hens and two roosters. The problem with BLRW in America is...they look like Rocks, not Wyandottes, horrible combs, and small size....oh and not to mention that many do not have that beautiful mahogany red that make the BLRW just stand out from other poultry. A lot of them have that washed out buff color instead of the deep red...
We constantly strive to improve our BLRW every year to the point that I bred two generations of my BLRW within the same year....this makes a lot of work and a ton of chicks to grow out and cull from. Wyandottes fully mature at 18 months....so it is very expensive for me to feed all those chicks to the point I can cull for the best.
White Wyandotte and Blue Laced Red Wyandotte pullets
Sometimes I wonder why we bother to put so much time and money into the BLRWs, but when sitting in the backyard with the kids I glance across my pasture at the BLRWs...well they are stunning birds.
1) When the chicks are growing out, look at the wing feathers...keep the ones with the widest feathers..wyandottes need wide soft feathering...I normally cull the ones with thin wing feathers. Laced wyandottes have harder feathers than solid colored wyandottes, that is why it is so hard to get a good tail on a laced Wyandotte, having breeders with wide soft feathers is going to help you.
2) When they are chicks you can start comparing how thick or wide the heads are, keep the ones with the widest heads Wyandottes should have wide round heads. Also look at how long the beaks are...short beaks are best. Wyandotte roosters should have a somewhat fierce look to them.. and if they have a single comb....cull them, you do not want the keep them as breeders.
3) Keep an eye on how fast they are feathering out...the chicks that take forever to feather out carry the slow feathering gene, slow feathering means better lacing. Don't get to hung up on mossy feathering on the young birds, everything from a wet spring to laying eggs while feathering out can cause a laced Wyandotte to have mossy feathers..but if you have a 2 year old hen with mossy feathers, then I would not use her for breeding.
4) Try to use the BLRW pullets and cockerels that show a good deep red on the hackles...good red on the neck is the key to having good mahogany red through out the bird. Also keep an eye on the lacing on the hackles of the hens....that is really hard to keep on the BLRW hens...so if you have some splash hens with sold white or blue necks...DON'T use them. I am not going to get into a big in depth thing about if you should or if you shouldn't use a splash in your breeding program...I have strong feelings about the subject..but so does everyone else. I will tell you that in my experience if you use a black on a splash you will get blue...but that blue color is going to be all over the range of blue, the only way you are going to get a good consistent blue is breeding blue to blue, and then using a good typed black every 3 yrs or so to darken that blue. I still get birds with light color or brassy color and I have been culling that out for 5 years..but I don't get it nearly as often as I did in the beginning.
5) And most important of all...the tail. Make sure it is nice and open in the back. If you are looking at the back of the bird, the tail should look like a TeePee.. Now the Germans say it should look like a horseshoe...but we are not breeding to the German Standard...we call horseshoe shaped tails from the back..bunny tails. Also you should have nice short back...you should be able to place a golf ball right on the back and it would fit right there between the neck and tail.
This is enough to look for in the beginning and always remember this...every year I always mark what I think will be my best BLRW rooster....and every year at the end of the grow out season that rooster ends up being my 3rd or 4th best rooster...so be patient when growing them out, wyandottes take about 2 yrs to fully grow out.
I could go on and on and even write a book about raising BLRW...but I have to go to work in the morning..The BLRW are beautiful bird and worth all the effort....