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 Post subject: Re: showing my Leghorns
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:50 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:50 pm
Posts: 27
Do you find the large require more protein?


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 Post subject: Re: showing my Leghorns
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:04 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:50 am
Posts: 287
Location: Brisbane
My comments relate to show birds not layers. If you are tyring to get eggs, keep up the feed. But for show birds:

Like all large fowls they need extra protein to obtain the required size. However Leghorns and Mediterian breeds in general have the added issue with their combs. The comb, wattles and ear lobes being such an important features, protein can make they larger than preferred. This is also impacted by the pullet and cockerel lines and their specific traits. I have also seen the impacts on protein on Rhode Islands as well.

As with all things, it starts once the chick hatch. In terms of growing the chicks I feed a chick mash (not crumbles) until about 8 weeks. During this time around 3 weeks start to introduce greens, either lucern chaff or grass. They all then go out ouf the brooder into pens where they can access to grass and dirt. They are fed a pullet grower mash, I also start to introduce some scratch grain including corn (mainly Rhode Islands, good for their leg and skin colour). Limit the corn for your whites, the grass should be enough to maintain the leg colour.

At about 4 months I seperate pullets and cockerels (also do a cull), they birds will have their first adult flights coming through. The purpose of this is that they have different requirments in relation to feed. The boys also start to dominate the feed dish. At this stage The boys need the extra protein to get the size in their frames and legs. The girls are slightly different in that, if you maintain the same ration they will grow quickly, mature and be laying at 5-6 months, this also means many are smaller, some do eventually catch-up but no good for showing. If they are cullers kept for laying this is good, but not for the show bench. I feed the girls a mix of about 3:1 mash to mixed grain. The slightly les protein , does slowdown their growth. They will not mature until about 7-9 months. This means that they are on the money when the show are on (May-July). I find they develop to a nice large size, their combs do tend to be slightly smaller (protein again). Once you start to pen train the better pullets add a few treats of meat, bread and you will find their combs will develop nicley, not over done. Once the pullets start to lay move them around from pen to pen, this sill slightly up set them and stop the laying or reduce the number of eggs you get each week.
In our yellow legged breed the leg colour is first to go in the pullets that are laying. Tip you can always tell the layers in a pen of pullets that have just started laying, look at leg colour.
In your cockerels, the pullet breeders will have a tendency to have large combs with thumbmarks, this all good for the line, as these are not often shown this is not issue. But you do want to have large cockerel to maintain the size in your line. In your Cockerel lines you need to obtain the size but not over do the combs. Once the birds start to fill out reduce the protien to keep the comb size down as above. Remember you cockerel line females will have a tendency to have smaller combs, so a little extra protien can add the to the combs.
There was a bit of trial and error in me getting this down to understanding how my birds reacted to the differences in the feed. Try a sample group to test with your line.
Rhode Red


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 Post subject: Re: showing my Leghorns
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:59 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:50 pm
Posts: 27
Very good Rhode Red I couldn't have put it better myself, well done.


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