Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
Purpose of Breeding a Chicken
There are a number of reasons that breeders work with chickens. Firstly, they may want to
improve the traits in a chicken and secondly the breeder may want to make the chicken more
· Dual Purpose: Dual purpose birds are good for meat and egg laying. When
breeding these chickens the breeder will look for good egg laying traits as well as
fast growth. They will also look for flavor and the size of the chicken. To enhance
these qualities they will use these breeding techniques. Grading will be used to
bring out the best traits in the bird. Crossbreeding can also be used to improve the
traits. These birds tend to be a little heavier to accommodate meat traits. They will
also be cross bred with birds of good egg laying qualities. Inline breeding tech-
niques will keep the traits of the chicken. Examples of dual purpose breeds are
Plymouth Rocks and Rhode Island Reds.
· Egg Layer: The birds will be bred in the same way as above. However in-
stead of looking for meat characteristics the breeder will just look for better egg
laying traits. They can be crossbred to bring out the best egg laying traits and
graded. Once strong egg laying traits are established inline breeding can be prac-
ticed, using the best pairs of birds. The egg laying breeds are usually lighter birds
like Leghorns. The Aracuna chicken lays colored eggs and is a fun and profitable
laying chicken to keep. Sometimes when you cross breed one of these birds with
another good laying breed you will get a good laying chicken which lays colored
· Meat Production: The breeder will be looking for fast growing, heavier
birds. They will use crossbreeding techniques and hybrid breeds. Genetic engin-
eering has been used for this type of breeding, as it is a huge part of the chicken in-
dustry. Large birds like Jersey Giants have been created. Chickens breed for meat
are ready for the table in 5 to 8 weeks.
· Ornamental Purpose: In order to create the most beautiful breeds of birds,
cross breeding was practiced. An example of years of painstaking breeding is the
bantam Sebright chicken. This bird is difficult to duplicate because of the breed-
ing techniques.
· Competition Purpose: The first competition breeders were the “cockers”
who were interested in cock fights. They used a 6 point method of breeding. They
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