Posts Tagged ‘Gamefowl

01
Feb
10

January 2010 Photo Contest

Lots of pictures submitted this month, thanks for everyone’s participation. Here are the results!

3rd place goes to blackwellsgamefowl for their Saville birchen.

2nd place goes to csoto for their Jap bantam cock.

1st place goes to minime for their KO Shamo stag.

Congratulations to all the winners. If you want to enter a picture of your bird in our free monthly contest so you can have a chance at winning a ribbon, or just to get a certificate showing you are using your gamefowl for legal reasons, check out the Ultimate Fowl Forum.

01
Jan
10

December Photo Contest

First off, I would like to say this month was a very hard one to judge.  There was some stiff competition, and several people that could have easily placed in other months, but only three can win…

Third place goes to Benito09 for his Wingate stag.

Second place goes to tandersphoenix and his Leghorn cock.

First place goes to Hardfeather74 for his strutting stag.

Congratulations to all the winners. If you want to enter a picture of your bird in our free monthly contest so you can have a chance at winning a ribbon, or just to get a certificate showing you are using your gamefowl for legal reasons, check out the Ultimate Fowl Forum.

18
Oct
09

Improving your chickens through breeding

by Chuck Everett

The whole act of preservation of our rare breeds begins and ends with patience. It has often been stated that patience is a virtue. When dealing with rare breeds’ patience is not a virtue; it is a requirement! Certainly patience can be a learned behavior. Maybe it can even be acquired over time. I just wish folks wouldn’t try to learn or acquire it with the rare breeds with which I’m working. I don’t wish to sound harsh: just honest. This year alone I have mailed out somewhere between three and four hundred hatching eggs all of rare breeds. It is always depressing to here that the folks who were so eager to receive the eggs have dropped the said rare breed in a year or so because they didn’t realize how much patience this whole process was going to take. Many of our rare breeds have fallen into a state of mediocrity or worse. It takes years and years of work to bring them back from the brink of extinction to a place where they even approach the Standard description.

I’ll get calls that ask why the leg color is wrong, or why the weight is not up to Standard, or if there is anyone else raising the breed that is further along. Oh, might I add that most of these calls come from the folks that I felt sorry for and I sent them the eggs for FREE. All I ask for many times is the cost of the postage and about half the time that isn’t even sent back to me. I just figure they needed the money worst than I did and write it off: back to the calls. I usually begin by asking, ‘You know these are rare breeds don’t you?’

After I receive an affirmative answer, I then ask what attracted them to the breed. Nine times out of ten that is when I find out that they wanted to be different, to standout at the local poultry show, and to brag to all their “going green” suburban friends that they were saving a piece of living history. No where did I hear anything about patience or hard work or the challenge of breeding for improvement. I didn’t hear any of these things because these folks either weren’t aware of the need for improvement or it never even crossed their little minds. So, this article is meant to inform folks before they call for hatching eggs or chicks.

1. Rare breeds need improvement. The improvement could be related to health and vigor, type or feather color. Possibly it might include all of these things. It is important to remember that there is no perfect fowl. They all have some fault somewhere. Even the best of the show strains still throw chicks with faults. It is only more so with rare breeds.

2. Improvement requires patience. In the first years of working with a breed you will see some dramatic improvements that come about by simple selection processes. However, this all slows down after those first few generations. Sometimes, it even seems that you go backward instead of forward.

3. Improvement requires culling. Culling is a part of the selection process. It begins when the chicks hatch and continues all the way to the breed pen. The harder you cull the faster will be your improvement: provided you have hatched plenty of chicks. If you can’t cull a bird then don’t call me or any other breeder for stock. You are wasting our time and taking away potential birds from our breeding stock.

4. Improvement requires a basic working knowledge of the breed you wish to improve. This may seem rather obvious. Yet, there are lots of folks out there who don’t own a Standard and aren’t planning on breeding to the Standard. How else can you seek to improve a breed unless you have a Standard to guide you? If your breed of choice is not included in the APA or ABA Standard then you should research the breed and find out of there exist a Standard from the breeds country of origin or from another country that has written Standards.

5. Improvement comes with hands-on experience. I believe in research and study; otherwise I would never have done the hard work required for my master’s and doctorate degrees. That said experience is the best teacher. Reading about something and doing it are two totally different things. As a matter of fact, don’t believe everything you read: especially on the Internet. Any fool can put something online. It doesn’t make it true just because it is in print. Also, be very careful concerning old poultry material. Years ago there existed many opinions that reflected the wisdom of the day which has now been proven to be untrue. Even the description of our old breeds in these older poultry records can not often be trusted. During the 19th century many writers quoted other writers as if they were speaking from personal knowledge. What they quoted might not have been true at all.

6. Improvement requires an understanding of breeding and breeding systems. One of the great things about raising chickens is that I get to breed they way I want too: so do you. Yet, there are still some basic breeding systems that have been proven through the years. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Read about these systems, talk with others and decide what would be the best fit for you.

7. Improvement requires good management. Management includes everything from feed to housing. I have found that if I free-range my young stock they are healthier throughout the remainder of their lives. There is no substitute for green grass and sunshine. A good start is essential to good birds. Birds need to be routinely wormed and sprayed for lice and mites. There housing needs to fit your particular location. You’re not running a hospital, but the housing should still be cleaned and sprayed periodically.

8. Improvement is enhanced by sharing stock with other serious breeders. Now we were all new once upon a time. I don’t want to discourage you from sharing stock with new folks at all; just make sure they know what they are getting into. Whether you give stock away, trade it or sell it, you need to be honest about the quality of the stock. Sharing stock will give you a person to go back to should your line need freshening up or should something happen to your birds. The person you share with might be a better breeder even than yourself; thus, you can get birds from your on line that end up being better than your own.

It has not been my goal to discourage anyone from raising and breeding rare breeds of poultry. On the contrary, I have only meant to encourage and inform. Raising and breeding rare breeds is my passion. This year alone I have hatched over 400 chicks of the rare breeds I keep. I plan to keep only a few of these birds. The remainder will be eaten by my family, given away to friends, or sold at poultry shows I attend. I begin hatching each year during Christmas week and continue to do so until the first week of June. That means that I’m setting eggs every 7 to 10 days during that entire time. Poultry is my passion; improvement is my goal!

For more information on breeding, and preservation of poultry, visit the Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities. You can also reach Mr. Everett at the Ultimate Fowl Forum.

02
Jan
09

December Contest Winners!

Third place goes to Alpha_K for his beautiful Red Jungle Fowl.

Second Place goes to Pablo Virtuoso for his great looking Hatch.

First place goes to Ogichida for yet another great Thai.

Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to everyone for their great pictures. It was a very hard decision to narrow it down to the top three pictures! I hope to see everyone in next months contest, and make sure you check out the new contest as it has been split into two categories now. We now have one for gamefowl, and one for standard breed chickens, instead of lumping them all together. You can read more about it HERE. Thanks!

10
Dec
08

Shamo

By Julia Keeling

The Shamo is a naked heel game bird from Japan.  The breed was originally brought into Japan from Thailand in the seventeenth century – the name referring to Siam, the old name for Thailand. In Japan it was developed into a distinctive fighting bird of courage and ferocity.
Its posture is very upright, with prominent shoulders, powerful bone structure, muscular athletic build and sparse hard feather, which all together make it an impressive and striking bird.
The term ‘Shamo’ covers all examples of the large fowl, but they can be further divided by weight into Chu Shamo (adult male weight above 3kg/6.6lbs) and O Shamo (adult male weight 4kg/8.8lbs and above). There is a huge weight range in this breed – from a little hen of 4.9lbs to a huge cock of 12lbs or more.
Breeders in Japan name their own lines after themselves or their areas, but names such as ‘Makino’, ‘Osaka’, ‘Teramoto’ etc, often used in Europe, have no relevance once the line has left Japan. Different conditions, breeding choices and breeders mean that they should not continue to carry such names. All are Shamo.
The breed can be found throughout Japan and although occasionally shown they are kept there primarily as fighting birds, with character and attitude being the vital attributes. Cockfighting is legal in Japan, although betting on the outcome is not.
Colour is of no importance in this breed, although the plumage colour most commonly seen is black/red (bbr) and variations; beak – yellow or horn; legs and feet – yellow (with blackish over-colour being normal in some dark coloured birds); face – red; and eyes silver or gold.

Photobucket

KEEPING SHAMO

The main thing to remember when keeping Shamo is that they should mature slowly. A bird of either sex is not adult until about two years old. The stag of ten months will look a different bird after another year. The problems this can bring are:
• The bones can develop slower than the body mass, so if the bird is fed too much protein and/or does not have enough fresh air and exercise as he grows, his body will get too heavy for his legs and result in serious leg problems.
• For the same reason, the breastbone can become bent if a young bird rests on too narrow a perch, and the legs and feet can become damaged from jumping down from too high a perch. Adult birds continue to need wide perches to accommodate long legs and bodies.
• Stags and pullets can run happily together when young, but as soon as they start to mature, maybe as late as seven or eight months old in bigger birds, they can turn on each other. Stags and pullets can quickly kill each other.
So – low protein food and lots of fresh air and exercise; wide, low perches, or none at all; and vigilance at all times re separating birds as soon as necessary.

Despite the aggressive, arrogant bearing, they should be calm and confident with their keepers and easy to handle. The aggression should only be towards other birds. Birds may well occasionally greet their keeper with a ‘friendly’ peck, but this is certainly not man-fighting!

Photobucket


BREEDING SHAMO

Shamo take so long to mature that it doesn’t really matter what time of year they are hatched. They will eventually reach their potential, even if they develop slowly over the winter.
Shamo are a broody breed, but as hens are heavy and bony they can be clumsy with eggs. Usually better to remove eggs and let another hen hatch them.
Running loose, a hen and cock can have their own space and live in harmony. However, if confined, they may fight. More than one hen with a cock may well fight each other, as well as it then being impossible to maintain accurate breeding records if not breeding one to one. Even if they live in apparent harmony, a heavy cock may seriously damage a hen with his spurs/claws. She should be examined regularly under her wings as she will show no signs of being hurt until wounds are really serious or become badly infected.
This is a breed developed to fight and it is the most important characteristic of the breed, and this is what they will do!

30
Nov
08

China Game Fowl

1930’s circa photo (courtesy of Toni-Marie Astin)

The China (Chinese) Game Fowl are truly a magnificent breed in their own. They sport massive tail feathers in length as well as height and saddles that drag the ground. These are also of aggressive behavior, however seem to show the intelligence of tactical defense as well as breed personality. They appear to be showing great vigor and disease resistance as well, producing chicks in numbers that hatch off quite well with little to no problems. These fowl, originating from China, were brought to the states in the early 1930’s. Mr. Herman Pinion had Chinese Immigrants who worked on his farm and these were their birds. It is not unheard of that these were also crossed to Mr. Pinion’s own American Game Fowl, creating some which had pea comb and long tails and saddles. The China Games come in a variety of colors and weigh in the range of 6-8lbs depending on conditioning. The usually have a pea to cushion comb and pearl to white legs. In the last year I have been hatching off mostly goldens, silvers, red pyles, some mahogany and several recessive whites. The hens are good layers of medium sized eggs that are usually white to cream colored and males showing great fertility levels as well as the hens. My intentions are to preserve this breed back to “saddle draggers” as well as keeping the game state. Selections for such type as well as pea comb birds with light colored legs will be my focus in the future. I am still trying to obtain information on these birds through international contacts to research their origin. So far all is inconclusive, but will keep up on the quest.


My  Old Grey Broodcock(in moult)

12
Oct
08

Raising Saipan Jungle Fowl

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.

For more information, check out the Ultimate Fowl Forum!




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