This is a continuation of our weekend series discussing the basic concepts and considerations in breeding game fowls.
It is originally published in the site gamecock care.
Step 2: Identifying and Obtaining Brood Fowl
Finding and obtaining the brood fowl that will meet or exceed expectations is essential to success for a breeder. The fowl the breeder starts his program with are the foundation of the breeding program. A breeder should take his time before rushing out and buying fowl, because finding the good ones is not easy. There are several approaches that can be used, although some methods work better than others.
Identifying a desirable bloodline is best determined by their offspring’s performance in the pit. Fight reports, recommendations from friends and attending derbies are all ways to get an idea of how they have performed for other cockers. The fowl should be very strong in the group A and B traits that were identified when planning the goals of the breeding program, and adequate or better in as many of the group C traits as possible. The closer to the goal you are at the beginning, the more quickly it can be reached. A breeder must be completely honest in his evaluation of the merits and demerits of the prospective bloodlines. The purchasing of brood fowl is a lot like getting married – make sure you can live with what you bring home. If a breeder sees something he doesn’t like and breeds the fowls, chances are that this trait will likely be passed into the future generations of his fowl.
The most certain way of obtaining good fowl is through friendship. Often a good friend is willing to share his best, compete in a combined entry in derbies and swap brood fowls in the future as needed. The advantage of getting fowl through friends is that the breeder has seen the birds compete and knows their strengths and weaknesses and can plan the breeding program accordingly.
Another method is to attend derbies and watch for breeders that show fowl that consistently display the qualities the buyer is looking for. The key is to attend derbies at the same or better level of competition than the level at which the buyer plans to compete in the future (average cocks look good against mediocre competition, but look flat-footed and slow in fast company).
Once the sights have been set on a particular bloodline, it would help buyers to become friends with the breeder. The buyers should inquire how the cocks are bred, how long he has had the bloodline, the origin of the bloodline and the breeder’s opinion on some important traits and qualities. The breeder may or may not be interested in selling any brood fowl. If not, the buyers may be able to purchase battle fowl instead, test the battle crosses, and if they pass the test, continue to try to get some brood stock. Buyers should always be respectful and persistent. If they can find out where this successful breeder obtained his fowl, they may be able to get similar fowl from the same source.
Another method is purchasing through the magazines or from the internet. This is definitely the method with the highest rate of failure. There are excellent, legitimate breeders that advertise and those who are not; it is very hard from an advertisement or website to determine who will ship you the type of fowl that you want. If you can travel to the breeder’s farm, it would improve the chances of getting the good ones, but this, of course, is not a fool-proof method.