If I am repeating myself, please excuse, but “The Hens” will make or break your program. Why do you think it is that when one goes out to buy birds, you can’t get hens? The breeders keep them for replacements.
When I first started I was told it was a good idea to keep twice as many hens as cocks in your program. Hens lay eggs, it takes a lot out of them, between that and feeding babies, it takes its toll. I try to keep at least a third more, ideally I would like to have twice as many, it depends on what your birds produce.
What I started with is The Hens. This hen pictured has been responsible, along with two other hens for putting my program in the right direction. She has been a super producer. She is now six years old, not breeding anymore but still looking good.
She was a gift from my mentor and friend Mick McCown. He had her at the bird mart. I was so new and so overwhelmed, I said just pick me a bird. So he did, MIK 6 came home with me in May of 2014 and I bred her the first time that fall.
I have never had to foster her babies, she has raised all of them. I have shown at least a dozen of her offspring over the years, their records speak for her. Her babies have won for me in Novice, Intermediate, Rare and it was her son that moved me up to Champion by winning Best Intermediate then going 3rd on the top bench at Chandler in April of 2018.
Her daughters from the second and third year are in the breeding cages now, I am hoping they are just like their momma outproduce themselves at every turn.
You might pass her up in the aviary, she is a pretty bird, head on the small side but a nice long mask and even at six she looks great. She has earned her place forever. Don’t think you have to have a fancy show hen to produce winners, its the bloodlines that make a difference. She had 38 babies in 3 breeding seasons, all survived til adulthood, she has over 70 grand get and another 20+ great grands . I have ten daughters of hers i have kept.
Hens will make the program, make sure you have good ones…