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 Post subject: Egg colour in Barnies
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:24 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:28 pm
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Location: Ballarat
Hi All

I recently purchsed 3 Barnie pullets at the Footscray Auction and they have now been laying since a couple of days after the auction and the egg colour is so dissappointing being lucky to be 50% of that from Isa Browns.

Has breeding for the show pen taken such a toll on the main characteristics of the breed??

If the breed is to appeal to the every day backyard poultry keeper for the purpose of keeping the family in a few eggs then this feature if not present would be a big let down.

I recently saw an egg from a Marans hen and italso was well below the expected co;our range.

Does anybody breed with egg colour as a priority together with the other traits or is it necessary to concentrate on one or at most two breed features??

Pretty new to poultry but I have had a long time in other animal breeding ventures and I find it strange that the productive traits and the physical traits appear far seperated in many breeds

TW


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:36 pm 
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Great Game
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you are correct, egg colour for barnies is generally terrible.

most people source their lines from 'show' stock, and most of those are the culls that people sell which simply put back crap genetics into the pool for people to work with. :think:

i have achieved a darkening from already about a 4 on the marans chart, to a 5 with the pullets from last years matings which im extremely pleased with. as such ive kept making good use of that cockbird and will use him again next year if he's still got it in him.

keep in mind that some birds pigments fade a little over the laying season too.

to get the kind of increases in colour, size etc which are more a utility trait you need to hatch vast amounts each season, grow them out to about 12 months then cull (compress) back to a handful and do it over and over for several years. its not going to happen if your just hatching 100 or so chickens each season.

my 2c anyhow :|


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:49 pm 
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Prime Pekin
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Location: Campbelltown NSW
A couple of things to consider
- older birds will lay lighter egg colour
- Barnies lay very early some even right through winter and the shell colour again drops off later in the laying season
- what you feed makes a difference to shell colour too .


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:52 pm 
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Great Game
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Hint: feed red corn :woot:


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:03 pm 
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Gallant Game
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Location: Clybucca NSW
Utility Barnevelders will often lay darker eggs even late in life.
The photo below was taken with a flash.The hens are 8 years
old and laying three month this season.

Juergen
Image


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:49 pm 
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Gallant Game
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From Miller (2010). Progress with Barnies. Australasian Poultry, Vol 21 No 3.

Image

This is what a Barnevelder breeder / exhibitor said about egg colour in an interview with Megg Miller for Australasian Poultry in 2010.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:56 pm 
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Prime Pekin
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From Memory that extract was re one of BYP members .
Full credit to Juergen your birds do lay excellent colour eggs and obviously to a late age .
There are so many things to try and capture in breeding exhibition Barnevelders , personally the dark egg colour is a breed feature and even though does not apply when showing , maybe it should . :roll:


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:38 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
I wouldn't lay the blame for this solely at exhibition breeding ... breeders in general may start in a bird just because it's pretty, decide it's pretty/calm/good enough to get more of its offspring, hatch and onsell the offspring without once looking at a Standard, or knowing/caring about the egg colour - or stepping foot inside a Show.

There are now very dedicated breeders out there trying to bring back egg colour in Barnevelders, and using Shows and the Standards to educate people to the whole bird, including its cold-hardiness and dark eggcolour.

There is another issue, which also relates to the Marans eggcolour thing (although Marans is also a different problem) - darker eggs are harder to hatch. Fertility _apparently_ tends to be lower, and the eggs are fewer, as they take longer to pass through the oviduct, due to the intensity of the colour being laid down. (I remember someone theorising that the eggs may even overheat and lose fertility due to that increased passage of time internally).

(I think I've summarised what I've read about deep brown eggs over the last few years correctly, but please do correct me if I got something wrong along the way!).

So I think it's simplistic just to say "Exhibitions breeders are to blame for the ills of the entire poultry world".


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:19 pm 
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Fiesty Fowl
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I was somewhat annoyed when I read the initial post but heartened to see the responses.

I breed my Barnevelders for show. I do not select for egg colour at all (I can hear the shock & horror now!!) yet my birds lay eggs that are essentially the same as posted by Juergen. Some are lighter, some are speckled with darker brown. Martin is right, egg colour by individual hens vary throughout the season and even individual clutches (ie between "days off").

I'm sure everyone with yellow-legged fowl has has noticed that leg colour fades dramatically when females are in heavy lay. They are basically taking the pigment from the legs to lay down in the egg shell. The longer they lay, the lighter the leg colour. What happens when they are no longer able to source this pigment? The eggs get lighter. Providing green feed or feed such as corn can certainly help.

I'm sure some lines of Barnevelders, and other breeds, have differences in egg colour as in many other traits. I'm not sure that laying the blame on those breeding exhibition birds is the way to go. Besides, there are precious few of us out there that are maintaining pure exhibition lines of this breed.

There, that's out of my system!

David


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:22 pm 
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Gallant Game
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I didn't post the article to place any blame anywhere or on anyone!

When you’re playing darts do you aim at the board or for the bulls eye? A Barnevelder to me is a fowl renowned for "dark brown mahogany coloured eggs"

I posted on another Barnie thread only the other day asking about the egg colour of Silver Barnies; are all our Aussie breeders aware coloured Barnies Blacks; Silvers etc. were well into their development in the 1920's. I’m certain I've even read somewhere that some made it to Australia that's why I was curious about the egg colour.

I learnt long ago that you should never look a gift horse in the mouth! Would it be great to stumble across an old preserved flock; that would be better than winning lotto for me!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:32 pm 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Predro, your post has come through while I was typing a second post (see below). My comments were purely directed at the first post in this thread, I have no issues at all with your post and the link to the article. Incidentally, I have Black Barnies which lay a very dark egg indeed.

My post follow-up post follows:

I've only just now read all the responses in full. In my rush of blood I didn't read the entire extract posted by Pedro and didn't note the source.

I was the subject of that 2010 A'asian article. As I said then, and still say now, I'm happy with the egg colour of my Barnevelders, subject to the caveats discussed above. If the trait is fixed in the line, as it was when I sourced my birds 10 years ago, then you have to really work hard to stuff it up!

David


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:18 pm 
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Gallant Game
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Location: Clybucca NSW
There are some interesting facts on Welsummer eggs on Aviculture-Europe.

http://www.aviculture-europe.nl/nummers/12E05A10.pdf

It is not easy to keep good shell colour and good egg size with
Welsummer and Barnevelders. Here is one of my attempts on
Barnevelders the egg is 76 g.


Attachments:
OBD egg 2.jpg
OBD egg 2.jpg [ 61.36 KiB | Viewed 1957 times ]
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:13 am 
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Clever Cockerel
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I have only been breeding Barnevelders for 4 years and they are still to me the most complicated I have out of the Wyandottes, Pekins, Belgians and the Barnies.

There are so many traits to a Barnie that it is really hard to get them all in one bird. At show the judge is looking for Type, colour, lacing, eye colour etc but not egg colour. So most people who show would keep a bird based on these traits and not on egg colour. I show some of my Barnies but my best dark egg layers are not my best looking girls. Therefore if I was only showing my birds then they would have been culled out of my flock. But since I also love the egg colour they stay and the boys from those eggs are the ones I keep even if they are not as good as the ones that come out of a lighter egg.

I don't think you can blame anyone one for the reduced colour in the Barnie eggs because they are so hard to breed with all the different aspects to them. If they were just a black bird that layed a dark egg it would be much easier but even with the colour of the Barnie feathers your looking for that lovely beetle green in them and the double lacing. Alot of Barnies now have great lacing but lack size not just light eggs.

The egg colour of some of my girls can be seen on our website but I would not show some of the girls that layed these eggs as they are not as good as others I have.

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Double Lace Gold and Blue Laced Barnevelders, Large BLS. Gold. BLG and SL Wyandottes, Pekins in many colours, 3 Rabbit, 2 Horses, a cat, fish, a Llama, a Alpaca, a Kelpie, a Maremma and a patient husband
http://shoalhavenpoultry.com.au/


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:28 pm 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Location: Eyre Peninsula, SA
spide wrote:
Does anybody breed with egg colour as a priority together with the other traits


For what it is worth, I have been trying to select for darker eggs. But you take a hit in feathers for it. I don't show though.

I would add to what David G said by saying there seems to be very few barnevelder breeders in general (although, if they are around but not online, it's very hard to gauge when you live out in the sticks).

Anyone expecting an instant miracle with fabulous barnies in Australia is dreaming. They are a difficult breed and have a long way to go. But I keep on trying, inch by inch.

On a side note: I thought I detected a late season increase in egg colour recently when I starting feeding a bit pure of meat meal on the side. Has anyone ever trialled this or noticed similar (?)

_________________
Beginning with Barnevelders


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:28 pm 
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Gallant Game
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Location: Clybucca NSW
Hi Dambreezee
I have done some feed trials over 6 month.
With some weeds and red grains in the in the chicken feed
you will loose all the dark pigment and end up
with a nearly white egg. This will happen over night.

Fresh meat meal, cracked oyster shell and sunflower seeds
will boost the dark pigment and give the egg a nice cuticle.

Juergen


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