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Discussion Starter · #302 ·
Yeah, the boys definitely have more solid feathers in their tails, but they're not hard like the wing feathers. The girls are all fuzz, though. :ROFLMAO:

Haha, a lot of people say vulture for them, but to me, this little lady so strongly resembles the Australian Bush-Turkey that I just default to turkey for her. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_brushturkey It's really uncanny!
 

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Discussion Starter · #304 ·
The feathers on my Silkies' wings are partially smooth like on the Cochins, but they are pet quality so that could be the difference.

I did get a wing shot of one of the girls today to show what they look like. There's some solid feather to them, but it's mostly frayed at the tips. Not as pretty as the rest of their fuzzy feathering, but they keep them folded most of the time so they aren't visible, so I guess it's fine. :ROFLMAO:

Grass Terrestrial plant Whiskers Snout Wood
 

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Discussion Starter · #306 ·
I got a picture of Dandelion's wing because she recently molted, and this is more what I expect when I look at their wings. I think the other hens are in need of a molt so their wings look rattier than usual. The secondaries are pretty much fully silkied, if a tiny bit more solid than the body feathering, and the primaries are solid feathers with silkied tips.

Plant Natural material Vegetable Flowering plant Terrestrial plant


According to my ABA standard, Silkies should have 'well shredded' wing feathers, but are not disqualified for having non-silky feathers in the wings. I assume 'well-shredded' are more like Dandy's secondaries in that picture than like her primaries, and that her primaries would be considered non-silky. I think I personally prefer the solidity of the primaries on Dandelion overall. The rattier look of the other hen (I didn't see who that was, someone from Pete's group--Bella, maybe?) is definitely less desirable. I will have to take a look at them after they molt and see if that improves. Just another thing to consider when spring rolls around and I start looking at hatching from them, I guess!
 

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I've forgotten so much. Yes, the right side of Dandelions wing is what they're supposed to look like.

Making the choices is not easy. Especially since there are genetics in there that could show up with the pairing. You've got something going on with the breeding I could no longer do. I get to live vicariously through your adventures in growing the Silkied Cochins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #308 ·
There are so many things to look at with these birds! I definitely underestimated that when I got started in this past year or two. This is my first foray into actively selecting breeding groups for the betterment of a variety and it is a LOT! But I definitely want to do it right and keep these birds in such a way that it improves their chances of being added to the standard some day.

The plus side for me is that if I'm very attached to a hen with a flaw I don't want in my breeding groups, I can always just move her to my mixed flock rather than sending her away. It's harder with the boys I've grown attached to, like Gus who will have to be culled if fertility in that pen doesn't improve, because there are only so many boys who can go in the mixed flock and it's complicated by whether they'll get along with each other or not, and on and on... That's going to be the hardest part for me, actually culling birds, whether by rehoming them or sending them to the freezer. I've to date only sent a couple boys to the freezer who weren't aggressive and it really tore me up, so I'm hoping rehoming will work out for these boys. 🙏 They're too cute for the freezer!
 

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One of the things about faults, if they're not major they can be worked with when paired with the right bird. Some are easily fixed. Some might take a couple of generations. At least I remember that much.

If you can pair a boy up with a female in the mixed flock, you know you can have an easier time rehoming them without them being culled in a way you really don't want to do. I could at what I raised so I get how you feel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #310 ·
Yup, I've been trying to pair them up with birds who are strong where they aren't! :)

That's the hard part for me. If they're in my mixed flock, that means I'm attached to them and don't want to let them go! 😅 Generally, I get attached to all of my birds by the time they're old enough to tell their sex, it's just that I know I simply can't keep all the boys so it's at least a little easier to justify to myself letting them go. I do know they'd sell easier if I let some of the girls go with them, though. That's why it's so hard!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #312 ·
Haha, no, instead I developed the 'I have plenty and don't need whatever random breed they have at the feed store' mentality. 😁 I see posts all the time about people who got chicks because they couldn't help themselves, they went in for feed and heard peeping, making up excuses about how they 'jumped into my cart' even though their coop isn't big enough for the addition, etc. I've never had that problem. When I get chicks, I know I definitely have the space for them and the time to rear them, and I only get the specific breeds that I want, not whatever is on sale. When I buy eggs to hatch, it's only when I know have the space for all the possible hatchlings, and I plan for at least half being male and have plans and backup plans for what to do with them. I haven't hit 100 yet, but if I get to that point, it'll only be when I am ready for that many birds and have the space for them. :giggle: It is hard to let some of them go, but I so enjoy the hobby that that little bit of difficulty is worth it to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #314 ·
Oh, what I more meant is that every single addition I make is planned for, obsessively, with backup plans. No bird is added to my flock who I am not ready to care for for at least a few months while they grow out. So I never reach the point where I have too many because I am more than prepared for each addition. Space is a big issue for a lot of people as well, though, which is why I brought it up.



I had to really quickly evaluate the babies last night because the mixed color baby is losing his face fluff now and getting hard to tell from the Blue babies. I was able to confidently confirm which one was him and band him, so that shouldn't be an issue from here on. Thankfully the two Blues he's most similar to have bands, so it wasn't too hard, and the last one is Blue 1 who has a pretty distinct comb so I could pick him out easy.

Oh, and I got a picture of Jack a couple days ago while I was out with them and it occurs to me I never posted it here! He's my current 'spare' silkied Black male and the one to which the growout Blacks will be compared to to determine who stays. I have room for one, as the Blue cockerels take priority and I haven't decided if I'm keeping two of them or all three. Jack's not too shabby looking, actually. I think he might be a bit better looking that Pete, even. I only didn't have Jack head that flock because Pete is better behaved (let's just say Jack got his name for a reason :ROFLMAO: ), but should the fertility troubles in Gus's pen continue next year, he might have himself a flock there... unless one of the cockerels grows out with more promise than him.

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He is a good looking boy.

One time I had a young boy that terrorized the girls. OK, fine. Be that way but I have someone you need to meet. I put her in with him. He did his usually terrorizing by rushing her. She immediately pounded him into the dirt. He tried again, rinse and repeat. After that he was a very nice boy.

I was bad about not taking enough eggs from the girls when they went broody. And you know how they are when it comes to hormones saying they need to hatch and raise something. I tried to break one once. Brought her into the house. Gave her a banana as a treat. I thought she had eaten. Nope. She was brooding the hunk of banana.
 

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Discussion Starter · #316 ·
Jack's been more a terror toward me, which I definitely don't like, but I also lost both my Blue boys in short order last year so I was afraid not to have a spare for the Black boys just in case. He has calmed down quite a bit since he's matured, but I still have to be careful about reaching into his pen because he'll charge my hands sometimes, the butthead. :rolleyes: Pete and Gus will come over and peck my feet sometimes, but they've never really been aggressive about it, and Pete at least lets me pick him up and handle him without biting or anything. Gus just runs away if he thinks I'm going to pick him up because he is a big strong man who definitely doesn't want cuddles. He's the one who hops in my lap if I sit down in their pen, but he definitely, definitely is too tough for cuddles. :ROFLMAO:

That is hilarious about the broody! My three silkied Red Cochin hens have been broody since late May now, non-stop. Thus far they're just brooding dirt in broody jail and not snapping out of it despite not having a nest to sit in, man are they ever determined! I guess I know not to give them any banana now, though. :ROFLMAO:
 

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Discussion Starter · #318 ·
I went through and re-banded the rest of the cockerels last night since the ones who have had bands were starting to outgrow them anyway. Took a good look at a lot of them while I was handling them. I think I've decided I'm going to keep all three Blue males, as Blue 5's toe feathering has improved quite a bit as he's feathered in. He will remain a backup because the other two are better overall so far, but I just don't want to risk not having any Blue males if something were to happen to the other two like what happened with the last set. The Black boys all have pretty rough combs, but it's hard to judge type yet on them because they're all partially feathered still. At least all of them have good middle toe feathering!

Guess it's about time I put feelers out to see if anyone would be interested in a cute little cull cockerel in the next month or two... Suppose anyone on here is near enough to northeast Indiana and might want one? 😅

Oh, I also read something quite intriguing the other day, but haven't been able to find any literature or other experiences to back it up. The claim was that breeding Blue to Blue would naturally cause more and more dilution in their color, eventually making them lighter shades some generations down the line, which is why on smooth feathers it's suggested to breed Blue to Black sometimes to prevent that. I'm wondering how true that is! If that's the case, then it shouldn't matter how dark the parents are, and that means Blue 1 could be back in the running for the chosen male for the Blue group! He is such a handsome little guy already, despite that he's a super dark Blue. :love:
 

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I would think that if that were true Silkies breeders wouldn't be so desperate to find blues and not blues that look black. That might be why you're not finding any confirmation to back up what you read.

Well, you know I'm out of the running. Not only am I not nearby but I'm out. Actually none of the folks we see from time to time are near you. PJ is probably the closest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #320 · (Edited)
That is a very solid point, darn. It shouldn't be as much of an issue with Silkies as it is if that were true. :unsure: And I haven't found anything to back it up, but I also can't find anything about breeding for a particular shade of blue in Blue chickens, either, just the same info over and over again about the inheritance of the Bl gene.

Editing, I am consulting with other more knowledgeable poultry genetics people about this, hopefully one of them knows something and I get a response reasonably soon. 🙏 I will post what I learn from them here.
 
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