Getting Started with Columbian Plymouth Rock Large Fowl a Beginners Guide
Getting Started with Columbian Plymouth Rocks large fowl a beginners Beginners Guide
By Robert Blosl
If I was getting started with say Columbian Plymouth Rock Large Fowl today I would get the best birds I could locate even if they were light years away from the top birds say twenty years ago and work on a program of three year goals in breeding. I would always keep my eyes open for a sleeper strain from say a private breeder who has an old strain and never showed them or a strain from another county that is better than I presently have today such as Canada.
First Year: I get say two dozen eggs from the best breeder that I can locate and hatch and raise them up in separate pens as soon as I can tell the Cockerels from the pullets. I would pick two or three of the best cockerels and the best pullets and raise them up to egg laying age or about ten months of age. I would then take the best three pullets and put them in a small pen with my best cockerel of the year. I would hatch as many chicks as I could in say 30 days and then remove the male on the thirty day and on the 40 day and place the other male in the pen with the two pullets. Again you put all the eggs in the incubator I would toe punch one hole in the right out web of these chicks so I know they came from pen two.
I would raise all these chicks up again like the first year and pick the best five cockerel and pullets and raise them up to adult age. I would take the best cockerel l and mate him back to the two females which are hens. I would take the two best pullets and mate them back to their sire.
I would then raise the chicks again just like I did the year before and toe punch the second pen with the old hens as Pen two.
The next year I would take again the best Cockerel and mate them back to the old hens for the next season. The best pullets would go back to the old cock bird for one more final year.
Line breeding the next year. I would take the best pullets from pen one and mate them to the best cockerel from Pen two. I would then take the best cockerel from pen two and mate them two the best pullets from pen one. I would again raise all the chicks up and then toe punch the birds for pen one and pen two for this season.
Improvement in Body Type: With this system I am breeding for body type only. I am hoping I can keep the color going but we are breeding genes for Plymouth Rock body type. Gravy bowl bodies, with good elevated top lines , yellow legs, good head points five to seven head points and excellent vitality.
Breeding for color: When you get two this level in four to five years you should have a pretty good idea of how to breed for type and then you got to take your best typed birds and pick the ones with the closest color to the standard. Your best breeders for color are in your males. You take the best colored males with the best type and find the best type colored females and mate them two your best male. You raise the chicks up and then mate the best colored females back to their sire again. You may have a second male that was his brother they are lookalike brothers then take two of his nieces and mate them to their uncle the next year. This will give you two pens to choose from. Inbreed the best daughters back to the old males for say three years till you develop a Plymouth Rock that has great type and color to match it like the top Columbian Plymouth Rock Bantam strains in America today. There is a person named Mike Michael who is a master of breeding the Columbian color pattern in bantams from Michigan. You need to talk to him on the phone and send him pictures of your birds each year and get his advice on how you are doing and who to breed which bird with whom.
This is what I would do with what I have until something better would show up. This is a rough draft that I fired off tonight. I will sleep on this and post it on my web site and then dig up the articles that Mike Michael has written for our newsletter on the Columbian Color Pattern. Don’t keep a lot of birds just mate in pairs and hatch about 20 chicks per female if you can. In no time you will see improvements and you will also learn from your mistakes as you get to the second and third year level.