Blosls Rhode Island Reds

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Getting Started with R I Red Bantams Part 1

How to get started with Rhode Island Red Large Fowl

How to get started with R I Red Large Fowl

By Robert Blosl


In getting started with R I Red Large Fowl there are many ways, but the fool proof way is to go to a Master Breeders farm and have him select a breeding trio for you. I am about to illustrate to you such a method and maybe it will give the beginner an idea how they can get started as a friend of mine did last year.

You go to the breeders home and he has in some show cages in his barn a male and two females that he has all  ready for you to purchase and he is about to discuss with you the reasons he chose this trio. He also is going to discuss with you what you should be looking for in their chicks for next year’s breeding. It will go something like this:

The male I have picked out is one of three very nice males I raised this year out of a male that is about four years old and a pen of three old hens. I sold some eggs to a fellow about 50 miles from me and he raised one cockerel that looks very much like this one and I really wished I had him as a breeder for next year but I did keep one of the brothers for myself and he will be a great show bird and breeder. This male was raised in a pen with some bantam cockerels older than him and I forgot about him and the bantam cockerels ganged up on this little guy and tore his comb all to pieces ruining him as a show bird. However, he will make a great breeder. He has classic Rhode Island Red Brick type, excellent color and true to the stain which I have been breeding for over 15 years.

Next, I have a pullet I really like take a look at the spread in her tail as you view her from the rear. This is about as good of a spread as I have seen on a Red female. She has a good head nice comb and points are symmetrical with the classic long brick shape and level top line you want in a Rhode Island Red. Wing color is good not strong, but the male has very strong wing markings with just a little spill over in the primary black area and she will help absorb some of this excess black that he has which is a defect to some degree in color. She has one fault and I don’t think it’s a genetic defect she is a little nock kneed  and I think it may be more of a vitamin  deficiency  as she was growing up as I have never seen nock kneaded birds since I have been raising this strain. She will make a good breeder and I would mate her best cockerel to her next year for your pen one mating.


Next I have a two year old hen that is not really related to the cockerel and she has produced some real nice pullets over the years. Her mother was a eight year old hen mated to a five year old cock bird that I bought from a junior a few years ago that is part of my original stain which came out of Georgia over 30 years ago. I would mate her best cockerel back to her next year and this would give you pen two.


If you get a super nice pullet or two from either one of these females I am selling you mate them back to their sire the cockerel with the damaged comb. You could mate say the best pullet from the hen and this would give you pen three and the best pullet from the knock kneed female to this male and that would give you pen four. If you want you can go with four breeding pens like I have or maybe just three pens and then you should be able to line breed in pairs for at least 12 years without needing any new or fresh blood. You can always come back to me for a fresh new bird to cross into your strain or get one from one of my customers who I helped get started over the last 10 years if you ever feel you need new fresh blood or vigor.


Let me ask you what kind of pens do you have for your breeders when you get back home? You may say I have built a 5x5 shed type box with a five by 10 foot outside run for each female. I plan to rotate the male back and forth every other day and then maybe on the fifth day put him in a pen by himself to rest up. I will  feed and water himself up to strength for another four or five days of breeding. What kind of lighting period are you going to give your birds during this breeding period? I plan to have a timer I bought at Wall Mart hooked up to a cord running all three pens and the lights come on at about 4 A M and go off at day light. Giving all three birds 15 hours of light stimulation with a 75 watt light bulb. What kind of feed are you going to give your breeders? I plan to give them a 20 % Game Bird Pellet with some Oyster Shell in a can in a corner of the pen for the females if they need it. What kind of incubators are you going to use. I have purchased two Styrofoam self-setting portable table top incubators from the Georgia Quail Company. They are preset at 99.5 degrees and I will use one as a hatcher and one as my main incubator.


How are you going to brood your baby chicks? After they come out of the hatcher I will toe punch them to the pen their mother came out of and place them in a homemade wooden brooder box that I built. Its 2 feet wide and 3 feet long and about 15 inches tall and I have shavings or sand on the floor and one gallon water container  for them and small feeder with 20 % chick starter which is medicated. They will stay in this box for about a month then transferred to a five by five house with a 20 foot run covered on the top to keep varmints out. They will be in this pen about 15 of them until they reach a age to be transferred to my larger 8x8 pens with large free range fenced in runs.


Sounds like a great plan says the master breeder you have done your homework very well. If you need any help during this process here is my cell phone number and then if you want to send me pictures or videos on U tube for me to look at I can help you pick your top birds for breeding next year.


Remember, in the first three years work on learning how to cull for type and don’t worry too much about color as they have very strong color and wing markings that should keep you out of trouble for three to five years. By then you will have a good idea of what color should be and where it should be located on your Rhode Island Reds and then you can start making mattings based on color and type, but never forget Type is Paramount in your breeding program.


 Also, don’t be tempted to cross another strain onto my strain as you will destroy the 100 years of work laid down not only by me but others who had them before me. If you do it will take you five to eight years to clean up the genetic mess you caused by crossing the lines.


There you have it a simple method of getting started with a good stain of birds and how to develop more family lines. We will provide you with more articles on how to get started in the near future so I wish you the best in getting started not only with Rhode Island Red Large fowl but Bantams as well.

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