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Having trouble deciding which of my pekin hens to take

PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 4:32 pm
by gradoc
I am trying to work out which of my silver penciled hens to take to the National Show the weekend after next (I've entered three hens and three pullets).
I've had a rough run this past breeding season and have lost my best penciled hens and a beautiful pullet so I'm trying to figure out what to take from what is left.
The question is - what do I put more weighting on - the shape of the bird or the pencilling when choosing them? I've misplaced my copy of the NZ Poultry Standard so I'm not sure about the judging criteria.
I guess a more general question is, when selecting patterned breeds for breeding from, do you tend to focus more on getting the right shape first, or locking in the patterning?
Cheers, Thomas

Re: Having trouble deciding which of my pekin hens to take

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 9:33 am
by Marina
The shape defines the breed so I would go for the best shape with at least reasonable pencilling. Make sure the edges of the feathers are white (pencilling genetics) as opposed to black (lacing genetics).

Judges like to see good foot feathering, no vulture hocks and bright yellow legs, a good head with an evenly serrated comb and, of course, no faults like missing outer toe nails.

For breeding other criteria apply. You need all required traits in at least one of the breeding birds. One needs to be of good shape with at least rudimentary pencilling. The other should contribute pencilling and everything else that's missing in the other bird. Most often you don't get an ideal bird, no matter how many you breed. So it's one step at a time. You might be able to improve the pencilling in a well shaped bird or get rid of a fault that has bugged you for a number of generations.

In general it's not so difficult to win a prize, especially not in the classes where very few birds are entered. At Christchurch in 2017, the Championship for Cochin was awarded to a white legged bird (not for lack of birds with bright yellow legs), the Championship for AORC Silkie was awarded to a white skinned bird and the Championship for Faverolles was awarded to a bird with duck toes. It always depends on what's on offer and on how well the judge knows the standard - and whether he or she adheres to it.

Re: Having trouble deciding which of my pekin hens to take

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 11:15 am
by gradoc
Thank you Marina!
Wise advice which has helped me to decide which hens to take up with me today.
I hope you are well.