18 September 2015

Random notes on Wyandottes, breeding, and meat qualities

So this morning hubby and I slaughtered Hammy (NH slip), Castor (Americauna slip), and Tribble, the Cackle Gold-Laced Wyandotte cockerel who was not growing right.  Castor and Hammy were free cockerels from Luanne for caponizing practice, and are shining examples of why I need the practice.  Notes:

  • Hammy was nice and meaty, as expected, but what I didn't expect was how long it took to pluck him.  He was fluffy, and while that made for a beautiful sight in the sunlight, with his feathers shining orange, red, gold, and black ... it meant the flies and mosquitoes had ample time to find me.
  • Castor had a surprisingly meaty leg quarter on him.  I started to pluck him, but the skin on his lower breast tore off, so he was skinned.  Not much breast meat, but I didn't expect much meat on him at all, so the nice plump leg quarters were a welcome sight.
  • Tribble would have been the easiest to pluck if I had planned to pluck him.  As it was, I figured he'd be soup stock due to size.
I should probably mention that Luanne and also a couple folks who know her stock over on BYC all say her Wyandottes are not as fluffy as other exhibition lines.  Her Wyandottes also have a whole lot more meat on them than the hatchery stock I've previously and currently plucked.  That noted, I plan to breed towards less fluff than Luanne's stock currently has for the pragmatic reason that we will be plucking and eating cockerels and capons through the years I breed.  Luane's Wyandottes have a wonderful sheen to their feathers that dazzles the eyes and screams, "Healthy and quality bird!" and I definitely hope to keep that trait with the meatiness of flesh.  I just want less fluff to pluck.

Of course, this is a good example of why I am embarking on my unorthodox Wyandotte breeding project.  What I am wanting is not easily found: Wyandottes that are good for eggs, good for meat, and look good while doing it.  The hatchery stock is good for eggs, given their business model selects almost exclusively for egg production, while the more exhibition-oriented stock is rather fluffy (though meaty) but egg production varies.

Meanwhile, I grow impatient for Tuesday evening, when the first batch of Wyandottes should hatch in the incubator.

No comments: