There is not a ton of information out there on this breed, so I thought I would share what I have learned. If you have experience with these beautiful birds, feel free to leave a comment telling me what you know! First off, about the only history I can find, I have posted on my wikipedia HERE. The following is what I have observed over the last couple of years of raising them.
First off, let me say that I don’t have pure Saipans, and practically nobody can say they do either. There are hatcheries that sell them, but they are mostly shamo, or malay crossed birds. True Saipans are almost non-existent. What I describe is what I have experienced with the fowl I have, which are the closest I have been able to come up with, I just wanted to be clear on that right up front.
The main thing that Saipans are known for are their sheer size. Roosters can cock out nearly three foot tall, and closing in on 18 pounds! Mine aren’t quite that big, but I am working on it. Saipans are also very slow growing birds, it takes about 3 years for them to fully mature. These birds have a degree of gameness to them, but not known to be overly game. If they have been raised together, even roosters have been known to be able to tolerate each other if they aren’t too cramped. Saying that, if you separate them, including the hens, and try to put them back together again, expect the game to show up in them. I have seen hens that were willing to fight to the death when new birds are introduced. The roosters also have a reputation for being manfighters, but the hens are quite docile to people.
As far as laying and hatching, they lay medium sized, cream colored eggs in the spring to early summer, then pretty much quit laying after that. They will go broody, but from what I have seen, aren’t the best for caring for chicks afterward. Part of the problem is the chicks off these larger birds mature very slowly as well, and it takes quite a while for them to grow feathers. I have seen many a baby rooster running around with all the yellow fuzz off him, and only a couple of wing feathers on his whole body! Saying that, that is how you can easily sex these birds as the hens will feather out much faster than the roosters, so it is pretty easy to sex them once they start feathering out. If you want any kind of success raising these birds, I recommend leaving them in a brooder for the first 8 weeks of their life minimum, because the feathering factor makes them quite delicate.
Feeding Saipans can be a challenge too as they are very susceptible to crop impactation, so whole grains need to be avoided. You also need to watch your protein levels very carefully as too much protein can give you problems because of the size of the birds, and how slow they grow. I know some people feed their Saipans, and other large Oriental breeds rice, and fish as their staple diet. I haven’t had trouble using standard poultry feed, I just watch their body development, and adjust accordingly.
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