By Richard Stevens
What we keep for both the number of breeders and types is determined by many things. The customer, by the orders that come in. The hunt clubs tell us by the performance of the birds and what size of birds they like. The dressed birds by the orders we have coming in. Also how many eggs the hatchery is able to handle and trying to avoid the carryover of eggs between hatches.
When selecting breeders we try to keep the healthiest chicks. By going thru the brooding barn records, only keeping birds with low mortality, not getting overheated and free from any diseases. We also select breeders on their size and weight and coloration, while culling out any bad defects. Those being, does the bird have clear eyes and not blind? Is the neck straight, not crooked? Are the toes straight not crooked? Also we toe clip the chicks so we know if the bird is a late hatcher, jumbo, pure manchurian, Manchurian crossed with a ringneck. We also look at the age, because we would like the birds to be 30 weeks old.
RN breeders we keep the hens between 1.75 lbs. to 2.50 lbs. The cox we keep from 2.75lbs to 3.25 lbs. they must have nice white racing stripes on top of their heads, the sides should be yellow with some orange, the backs should be blue with some green going down the middle.
Jumbo breeders we keep the hens between 3 to 4 lbs. and should have a pinkish color on the neck and shoulder. The cox are 5 lbs. or bigger. They should have deep dark colors. Also all our jumbo chicks are toe clipped, so we only toe clip jumbos for breeders. White breeders we keep the hens between 3 to 4 lbs. and the cox at 4 ½ lbs or bigger.
Pure manchurian we only keep the ones that are toe clipped. Pure manchurian hens will be a dark brown with a reddish pink on the neck and shoulder. The cox must have a wide white neck band, and nice white racing stripes on its head, also a nice white dot below its waddle.
Manchurian cross is the breed that we cross rn hens with a pure manchurian cock. The hens selected are the youngest in age on the farm because the pure manchurian cox take so long to come into production and by the time they are ready the young hens are coming in to production too.
Mutant breeders, the hens will be a solid dark brownish black color without white specs in its feathers. The cox will be a dark blue green color also without white specs in its feathers.