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Ordering from a breeder, color ID, and determining sex (Breeding & Color ID)

by steve, Western Massachusetts, Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 11:46 (192 days ago)

Boy, do I miss this board. It's been a while, but I'm starting to have make peace with the fact that my work and family schedule takes me away from these forums for long stretches. I guess in some ways that's a good sign, as it's partially a reflection of things being relatively smooth and business-as-usual with my flock.

I'm about to make an bulk order for keets with a mail order breeder for the first time (since the original dozen I bought to start my flock 6 years ago). I will be glad to get more genetic diversity into my flock, instead of the same 8 or so parents and their kids mixing it up over the past few years. I'm also excited to get some more colors, as the small hatches I've had in the past few years have been nothing but pieds and what seem like flawed purple.

Before I actually click the checkout button, I was wondering about a few things I'm hoping y'all can help me with:

My plan is to get...

(2) Jumbo
(2) Jumbo lavendar
(2) Lavendar
(5) Coral blue
(3) Slate
(4) Chocolate
(3) Brown
(1) Buff dondette
(2) Sky blue
(2) Light blue
(1) Copper

...and keep about half of each color (I know someone who will buy the other half from me). I'm "over buying" to make sure some of each color survive (in case one or 2 or more don't make it past the first 2 weeks), plus this other guy has been waiting to buy some from me but my own hatches have never been big enough (generally only 4-6 birds).

1) Is there any amount of a color I should get to make it likely to see some of that color in future hatchlings in my own flock? It would be nice to not have to buy from a breeder for a while and still get a diverse range of colors hatching from my own birds. I would love to see blue and brown varieties hatching in the future instead of just pied pied pied pied...No offense to pieds, but enough is enough! :)

2) I want to get the other half of the birds to my friend asap, to avoid too much chaos and clutter in my coop and save on feed. I'm planning to wait the usual 2 weeks at least until they're strong. I could wait longer -- say, a month or so. Ideally, here's what I'd like to do...

a) Know what colors I'm keeping and giving away
b) Know what sexes I'm keeping and giving away

My current flock is really harmonious. No birds are bullied very much, and not a lot of fighting. I think it's in part b/c there are only a few males. I've got 16 birds, and would like to add about 10.

How soon can I know the sex of the birds? I know this is something discussed elsewhere, but I'm not 100% clear about the answer to this. I'd like to keep as many hens as possible.

And I'd like to make sure I actually keep the colors I intended to keep. Will it be obvious around the same time as I can tell their sexes? I know colors go through weird phases before their final look, and I don't remember the time frame of that.

Any insights or advice is welcome. Thanks!

p.s. I have a few other questions on this purchase, but this post is crazy long already, so I'm breaking those other questions into other posts...

You probably won't know the genders until about 8 weeks

by Barbara, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 02:17 (191 days ago) @ steve

That's when you can expect to hear the females calling out "buck-WHEAT." But, sometimes you can hear them earlier, and sometimes they don't say much until a lot later.

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